Chicks are Early, I'm Not Ready!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by figsonwheels, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    I don't know where I got it in my head that eggs hatch at day 28, but that was my plan. Today is day 21 and I noticed I have at least 5 chicks under momma!

    This is our first attempt at hatching chickens. We have a buff orpington, Sahara, setting on eggs. Dad is an EE and the moms are EEs, White Leghorns, Brown Leghorns, Barred Rock, & Buff Orpington. We tried to do this as natural as possible, so we didn't single out the type of egg we chose to put under her (I'm not sure that we could other than one of the EEs is green and the Leghorns are white).

    We moved Sahara into a separate pen with the eggs on July 9th. We've pretty much left her alone, making sure she had food and water. We check every day just to make sure she's alive, but she never lets us look under her to see the eggs. DH and kids went out of town yesterday, so no one checked her. When I went out today to check, I was greeted by precious chicks. I counted 5 that she would let me see before she pecked at me. They were all fluffy and perky. Very beautiful. I'll go out in a little while and see if I can take some pictures.

    I'm not really ready and I'm sad my DH and kiddos aren't here to experience this. I don't have chick feed for them. I do have a chick waterer that I put out with marbles. I know they can survive a few days without food, so I'm not too worried, but should I move Sahara's food out of their reach? Can I give Sahara treats today or wait until she voluntarily leaves the nest? Will she leave the nest? How long should I wait to check the other eggs?

    Any advise would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  2. orionburn

    orionburn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 24, 2008
    South Bend, IN
    If she's still sitting then I'd hold off on doing anything to tempt her off the nest. At some point she'll give up on any eggs that haven't yet hatched out. Personally I think the chicks would be fine with regular poultry feed for a few days, but yes, you'll want to get chick feed for them as soon as you can. We've had to substitute chick feed with regular feed before and never had any problem. Every flock is different so don't take that to the bank!

    Congrats on the chicks! [​IMG]
     
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Put regular feed in a blender or coffee mill and just grind it smaller, then leave that for Sahara and her chicks. Yes, give her treats, too. [​IMG] She's done so well!

    She may leave the nest ONCE during the day for the next couple of days, just to relieve herself. Or, she may not.... (but when she does, it's gonna be a killer poop!)

    I would not bother her and her chicks more than twice a day for the next 3 days or so. Just to give the very last eggs a chance to hatch.
     
  4. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    Here's a picture of "The Doctor." He's the proud daddy, although he's not been around the chicks yet. And the other is of three of the chicks. It looks like these are a barred rock, a white leghorn and an EE. I've also seen a California White, a brown leghorn (I think) and a buff orp (it's a little yellower than the white leghorn).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I guess they will all technically be EEs, but I do hope they have much of the same characteristics as their mothers.

    I made up a plate of scrambled eggs, homemade yogurt and oatmeal and fed it to Sahara on a plate. While she was eating I was able to look around a little - until she realized my ulterior motives. I saw 9 live chicks. 7 were fluffy and very active. 2 didn't look too good, but I'm hoping they just hatched. I saw one egg with peep marks - hopefully it will hatch soon. I didn't see the other egg before Sahara snapped at me. I did take out some of the cracked shells that were completely dried up. I hope that was okay.

    I'm off now to get some feed for them. I'll also have to change their set-up a little. The nesting box has a 2" lip that the chicks have to climb over to get to the waterer. A few made it over, but they couldn't get back. I think I'll just make a little ramp for them - all these things I was going to do this weekend to prepare for their arrival! Fortunately for me, God crafted them to not need human intervention the first day!
     
  5. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    Here are some more pictures of the new baby chicks:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Not only did I get the days of incubation wrong, but I got the number of eggs wrong too. Apparently, she was setting on 13 eggs. Ten have hatched beautifully. There's one with a hole in the shell and movement inside. There are 2 others that are silent and completely whole.

    How long should I wait on the other three eggs? The first one hatched before 10:00 this morning.

    Also, since Sahara was broody a few days before we moved her to the nesting box, I don't think any of these chicks are hers. We have another hen that we think is going broody, but I want some of Sahara's chicks - she's my favorite. How long before she will start laying eggs again? How long before we can move her in with the roo?

    Thanks for any comments.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Yay, Sahara!! Congrats!

    Honestly, it's probably a good thing you calculated wrong. The biggest problem first-time hatchers have is in interfering with the process. Since you didn't know when they were coming, you left her completely alone--and look how great it turned out! 10 out of 13 is GREAT, and I would certainly not give up on the others yet!

    I tend to have the best hatch rates when I just leave the eggs well alone. Being gone altogether during the hatch is often the best thing I can do for them, lol!

    The one with a hole will probably hatch soon. The others may or may not. Since the mama has done such a good job, I would leave her alone and let her decide what to do with them.

    If she leaves the nest with eggs still in it, you can candle to see if there's movement or just listen in. If there are living chicks abandoned in the nest, it's not hard to brood them for a couple days (if you have time to monitor) to give them a little more time.

    But I bet she knows exactly what she's doing and will hatch every egg that can be hatched. Congrats!!
     
  7. BlakesWife

    BlakesWife Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Iberia Parish, Louisiana
    My hens like to sneak eggs in on me too! I wouldn't worry too much about the other eggs. In order to keep mama on her nest to let the others hatch, I've taken the day olds away for a week or so to let her finish up the rest of them. As a PP suggested, you could always candle them to see, or you can let nature take its course. Either way, congrats!
     
  8. turningchicken

    turningchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2010
    WHAT BEAUTIES!! Please tell me what you mean when you say give them "treats" What is a treat for a chick?
     
  9. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    Treats - my chickens' favorite treats are scrambled eggs. I usually give them each about one egg a week, sometimes more if I'm trying to get them into their pen before dark. I also give them the flowers from my herbs (cilantro, basil, oregano, etc.) - they go crazy for them as well as other clippings from my garden (carrot tops, beet greens, lemon grass (it grows everywhere!). I was worried that the herbs would change the taste of the eggs, but haven't noticed any changes. Other treats they get are rejects or overruns from my garden, oatmeal and yogurt. I try to give them something every day just so they come when I call them and they know I'm the good guy.

    I want to freeze some greens and other produce from the garden to give them in the winter. We grew an extra large garden this year so I'm sure we'll have plenty. Our chickens do free range for several hours every day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010
  10. figsonwheels

    figsonwheels Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2009
    Southwest Missouri
    I came home from work today to find all the eggs hatched. 100% success rate! Sahara was out of her nest and all the chicks were around her. It was fun to see her walk, being oh so careful not to step on the chicks as they tried to stay under her.

    I was surprised to count 15 chicks! I don't know if there were twins or I missed two eggs, but they all look very normal. There are 2 barred rock, 1 California White, 4 White leghorns (I think), 4 brown that look like our EE Chipmunk, 2 White with stripes that look like our EE Rose, and 2 Golden colored (no clue what they are).

    I was able to sex four of them as female. I put green dots on their heads so I could identify them. I think the others must have been too old by the time I went out to check on them because I really was not sure. I guess we'll just have to wait a few weeks or so to find out.

    I know we can't keep all 15, so we may replace some of our Leghorns (we'll give those away), and we may give some of the chicks away, or raise them for dinner. DH has already told me not to name them!

    I'm posting so many pictures because DH and the boys are out of town and they wanted to see the chicks. You can see bigger pictures if you click on each of these.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2010

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