Do you think they'll still hatch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Breezy_Living, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Breezy_Living

    Breezy_Living Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2011
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    We suspected one of our hens had gone broody when she would disappear all day but would always return for breakfast (meaning a predator hasn't gotten her). We finally found her in a well hidden spot amongst the blackberry bushes behind our backyard fence facing the remainder of our couple acres! So tonight, once the rest of the flock was tucked in tight, I went out with a flashlight and found not only the few we noticed today but about 15 in total!!

    Question is, the nights are about 37 degrees and days are in the 60's. I can't be certain how many nights she wasn't on them but there were a couple that she got chased out of her makeshift nest when we would bring the dogs in at night (they would get too close and scare her away), then we would put her in the coop. At that time we didn't know where her nest was and how many eggs she had there!

    We're not concerned about production amounts (we have other non-broody hens laying) and really this is more of an experiment.

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    Do you think they could survive and still hatch? Or should we just toss these for her sake and maybe get a few little newborns from the feed store to make her think they hatched?
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    This is a difficult one. How long has she been sitting? Any idea? What I would do is candle the eggs and see who's the most viable and let her keep them. If there's no obvious sign of development... well, it's hard to tell before day 7, so they might be developing, but not showing it yet... In that case you could leave them under her and candle again after a few days. Then if there is no sign of life you can either leave them and swap them with chicks after another week or 2 (when her eggs were supposed to hatch) or swap them for fresh hatching eggs. This, however would mean she must sit a bit longer than 3 weeks in total, so if you do this, boost her feed with extra proteins and vitamins so she doesn't lose too much weight and get too weak.
     
  3. Breezy_Living

    Breezy_Living Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2011
    Northern California
    It's funny you mention swapping out with newly hatched chicks because I mentioned to my husband the possibility of doing this if her eggs aren't viable.
    During the time that we have NOTICED, she been broody for about a week or so. But she had 15+ eggs underneath her so she's been laying since mid-January.

    I'm definitely going to try seeing if these eggs are worthwhile but keep her in the coop this time so I can have better access to the eggs!
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    That's a good idea. She'll be safer in the coop too. There are so many creatures active at night and an outside broody is an easy target. I lost my favourite hen that way.
     
  5. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

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    I also lost a hen that way. I would bring her in the coop at night and give her some eggs. I usually will set up a small dog crate and give them food and water in it and lock them in for a day or so. More than likely she will stay put if she has eggs. Good luck.
     
  6. Breezy_Living

    Breezy_Living Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2011
    Northern California
    I put a little nesting box with her eggs in the corner of the coop just for her, and also grabbed some of the leaves and feathers from the spot she was nesting in. The eggs were cold this morning so i can probably assume she didn't sit on them last night (candled yesterday; no signs of life) and shortly after their breakfast she went to her spot in the blackberry bushes.
    I expected her to lay or brood while we went into town for a couple hours, but when we got back she was just hanging out with the rest of the flock. Check for an egg... nothing. She seems a lot less skiddish and vocal the last couple of days too!

    She's my husband's favorite so he certainly doesn't want to have her get killed over being broody outside at night. We lost a about 6 4-month-olds a year ago when I was still learning and didn't secure the coop enough.
    Learned my lesson quickly and don't want to lose more again, plus hubby really likes that chicken. Haha
     

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