EEK! What to do? First time hatching eggs! :)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Kimchi, May 29, 2011.

  1. Kimchi

    Kimchi Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 10, 2010
    Utah
    Hello all!
    Right now my Silkie hen, Alice, Is broody! It's amazing, she's only been laying eggs for a few months now, and already broody! Just to be clear on things, I have two silkie hens, and a silkie rooster. Alice has been broody for about a week now.
    I do have a few questions though...

    1.I honestly don't know how many eggs she's sitting on, I'm guessing two or three. Should I feel under her? Or just leave her alone? Will feeling under her make her mad? She won't let me near the nest box without screaming bloody murder. She's REALLY REALLY loud. [​IMG]

    2. Alice is sitting in the hens favorite nesting box. Ever since she's been broody, my other silkie hen stopped laying...? Is this because Alice is in the favorite nesting box, or is the other hen laying an egg in the same spot, and Alice is sticking them under her? Should I move her? I'm so scared that I'll "Discourage her from brooding"

    3. And what about food and water? I've put some food in the nesting box with her, and stuck an extra waterer in the coop...but I'm not sure if shes eating or drinking...

    4. And once/if chicks start hatching...should I bring them inside under a heat lamp? It's still pretty chilly where I am...

    Ack. So I guess I'm looking for any type of advice from you chicken lovers! [​IMG]
    But Like I said, I'm so so scared of "discouraging her from brooding" I think I've done it before. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    My Little Alice. I had to zoom in on my camera a bunch of times. XD
     
  2. Fritatta

    Fritatta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2011
    Woodstock, GA
    That is TOOOOO Cute!

    1. Broodys get VERY protective. If you can pick her up and set her down near her food and water, then count!

    2. NO NO dont move her! she takes priority now. The other hen will figure it out.

    3. broodies hardly eat at all. I am amazed they can go for so long on nothing. You might as well get your "chick starter feed", see that is is 20% protein or MORE. offer a little dish of that to her. she will eat and drink when she has to. I had one stubborn broody that wouldnt leave the nest. I had to pick her up and place her outside to scratch once a day.

    4. No! Mommma hens are PERFECT brooders. She will keep them warm. How cold are we talking?

    You have such FUN ahead!!
     
  3. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    you sure the other hen isnt laying in the same box? I have had it where the hen will get off the nest and someone else lays an egg there or they will pile on top of or next to eachother in the same box and lay eggs. With all my broodies I have to check what eggs are under them every night to take any that are freshly laid. Some hens are awesome at protecting thier nest and some hens are willing to share. I mark the eggs that they are fertilizing with a marker so I know which ones do not belong there. No sense in having an egg or 2 added every day when the other eggs are farther along in the incubation period. It won't affect the broody..just be prepared to be pecked hard when checking the eggs.
     
  4. Barrdwing

    Barrdwing Chillin' With My Peeps

    Same here: I often have other hens climb into the nest box on top of the broody, lay their egg, and leave. That can result in her having too many eggs to cover, and eggs on the edges then get chilled and die. Sometimes a more dominant hen will drive the broody off her nest, too, and that's bad. If you can, fence off around her box so that nobody else can intrude. That will also give you a place to put some food and water near the box. I agree, chick starter is a good broody food; our hens also like a little scratch early on, but they stop asking for it about halfway through incubation. Fencing off also gives her a place to walk around with her new chicks. Generally speaking, she'll provide all the heat they need, but do make sure she's not in a draft.

    You can feel under her to count the eggs; I'd do it at night, though, because she will be angry and she will peck! Wear something with long thick sleeves that you can pull down over your hand, then slip your fingers under her. If you want to candle eggs, remove them with your hand over the egg, or she might peck at you and miss, hitting the egg. First-time broodies are fierce! One of our bantam hens, Valentine, got nicknamed the "Little Dragon" with her first clutch; she was like a tiny feathery buzz saw.
     

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