Day 25...no chicks

MillersinMD

Hatching
Jul 19, 2019
3
0
7
Southern MD
Hello all! I am new to chicken keeping and need some help. I have a hen who has been broody for most of the summer now. We tried many ways to get her over it and finally gave in and gave her two eggs to sit on. We are not positive they were fertilized, but the friend we got them from said they most likely were since the rooster has been on all of his hens like crazy. The eggs were due to hatch on Sunday (8/11) but here we are on August 15 and still no chicks, no pips, nothing. (I should also add that we didn't candle them because we didn't want to disturb her.) Do I keep letting her sit on them or assume they're duds? Has anyone had any really late hatches from a broody hen? As best as we can tell she's been very devoted to sitting on her nest, so I hate to have her give up with no reward. I suppose I could get some chicks for her to adopt if that's even a thing. Thanks for your advice!
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,848
20,977
892
California's Redwood Coast
I suppose I could get some chicks for her to adopt if that's even a thing
Hi there, welcome to BYC! :frow

I would candle those eggs before discarding and suggest doing so at least a couple times next time she's broody. 2 eggs really is a poor starting number with all the things that can go wrong. But I totally get trying to stay within our space limits and such.

Adopting chicks UNDER 6 days old is totally a thing and many of us have done so successfully. It even helps to avoid unwanted or unneeded cockerels most the time. Noting chicks are often 2-3 days old upon arrival at feed stores. Tucking them in early after dark will let the hen feel them moving and hear them peeping and she can cluck back to them so they learn each others' voice.

Adding your general location to your profile can help peeps make the best suggestions possible at a glance. ;)

I have several local feed stores, including TSC who are still offering chicks but the market will be drying up soon as the season changes. I like to call and see what they have and what they have scheduled to come in... so I can choose a breed I'm most interested in.

For what it's worth... she will be broody again. I have bred and raised the broodiest of all excessive broodies for several years. Some of my Silkies literally went broody every 3rd egg they laid... even after being allowed to sit on and raise a clutch. And they would do it back to back to back IF I allowed it. Their overall health is more important to me than that though. They can ALL be broken when effective means are used. Some will break as soon as 3 days... my longest was almost two weeks. As I don't have the means to allow an endless stream of chicks and cockerels to fill up my barn and pasture... the kindest thing to do (when I'm already full) is be diligent and persistent and break the hen as soon as she start showing signs of becoming broody... often a few days before starting to sit full time.

Since this is your first post you may not have seen @aart broody breaking set up. I use the same method, with exception to I also have some open bottom pens I use during day time to lock them away from their chosen nest site. They are always frantic to get back regardless if I use a wire bottom kennel or grass bottom. As stated earlier, while this is uncomfortable for me and stressful for them... SOMETIMES it is the best choice for their health and that of the flock.

:fl :jumpy:jumpy
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
104,111
155,957
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
My experience goes about like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest (or as soon as I know they are broody), I put her in a wire dog crate (24"L x 18"W x 21"H) with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop or run with feed and water.

I used to let them out a couple times a day, but now just once a day in the evening(you don't have to) and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two. Or take her out of crate daily very near roosting time(30-60 mins) if she goes to roost great, if she goes to nest put her back in crate.

Chunk of 2x4 for a 'roost' was added to crate floor after pic was taken.
upload_2019-8-15_16-5-17.png
 

MillersinMD

Hatching
Jul 19, 2019
3
0
7
Southern MD
I like your setup here. So she stays in there all day except for the bit of time you let her out? Our coop and run setup is pretty small - really just big enough for 6 birds - but I guess we could fit a small crate in there. Thanks for your help!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
104,111
155,957
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
So she stays in there all day except for the bit of time you let her out?
Yep, all day and all night.

Our coop and run setup is pretty small - really just big enough for 6 birds - but I guess we could fit a small crate in there.
How small?
Dimensions and pics could help garner suggestions.

You can put the crate out in the run during the day as long as it's raised up and protected from weather and predators. I've had to move crate around the yard during summer to find shade (then I just put it right on the grass and toss a frozen water bottle in with her) I actually think the 'change of scenery' helped in breaking her.
 

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