Fertilized eggs for broody -- then what?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Shrader, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. Shrader

    Shrader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    So I caved in and bought my broody chicken a couple fertilized eggs.
    Once she hatches them, then what?
    Do I take the baby chicks away from her -- or will she raise them?
     
  2. deborah

    deborah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Chelsea, MI
    Congratulations on the broody hen!

    Our "Mama" hen is now raising 2 week old chicks. It's been so much easier to let her do it.

    Have you put her in a brood box? That's the biggest mistake we made. We left her in the nest where she started sitting. It took more than 2 days for all the eggs to hatch. About a day and a half after the first chick hatched, the chicks jumped out of the nest (we had lowered the nest), and Mama followed them and abandoned the nest. Two more chicks hatched then (we weren't home), they got cold and died. And the remaining eggs got cold. We only had one more egg successfully hatch. If I had to do it again, I would move her into a brood box right away.

    It is so much fun to watch the chicks follow her around and imitate her. She is very protective of them. They are only 2 weeks old and we let them out in the chilly Michigan weather (though it was very warm today). If they get cold, Mama let's them get under her. This is so much easier than last year when we got day-old chicks and raised them inside.
     
  3. Shrader

    Shrader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hi Deborah,

    Thanks so much for your post. And congratulations on your new brood!
    I am completely ignorant of all this. What is a brood box? Should I set her up away from the other hens? Right now she's sitting on the eggs in one of our layer nests -- and it is quite a bit off the ground. Do you have any pictures of yours?
    Also, how long does it usually take for eggs to hatch? How long will she be sitting there?

    Thanks again,
    Shrader
     
  4. tat2edlady

    tat2edlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2008
    it takes 21 to 23 days for eggs to hatch and yes move her at night to a brooder or in closed spot where she will sit till baby's hatch make sure she has food and water and enough room to get up and poo than it is up to you weather you let her out with the rest of your flock


    Mindy
     
  5. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    When do you let the broody take her chicks out into the coop and run with the rest of the flock? What are the odds that the other older hens will harm the chicks or will mama be able to protect them?

    I have a broody BO sitting on 11 adopted EE/Russian Orloff mix eggs due to hatch on 4/22. She is locked inside a broody coop inside the main coop right now. The other hens can see her but can't get to her. I have a total of 6 hens and no rooster right now.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Shrader

    Shrader Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 7, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hey Sgtmom,

    Do you have any pics of your broody coop?
    I need to make one for my hen and have no idea where to start.

    Thanks,
    Shrader
     
  7. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    I'll take one later. We just blocked off an area in a corner of my coop. It is 40" long by 24" deep and 24" high. We made a frame with a wire for the front and a flip up board for the top. There is plenty of room in it for a cardboard nest box, food, waer and room to stretch. The only thing I might have done a little differently is hinge one side of the screen front so that the hen and chicks can just walk out. Te way it is now I will have to lift them out.
     
  8. mycountrycabin

    mycountrycabin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2008
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    could you put a piece of fencing over the nest until they all hatch
     
  9. deborah

    deborah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Chelsea, MI
    Hi Shrader,

    We are using our dog cage and run to separate Mama and the chicks from the rest of the flock. For the first week, we just used the dog cage in the hen house. We put cardboard on top in case another hen jumped up there.

    Earlier this week, my husband set up the dog cage so the opening lined up with the small door into the run. So we open the ramp each day and Mama and the chicks have access to the run. The other hens can't get into the run for now. We leave the big door of the hen house open so they can get out. Now that the weather is getting warmer this works ok, but I'm not sure what we will do if we get a cold snap, or a rainy day (which is predicted tomorrow). The hen house may get wet if we leave the big door open in the rain.

    When we are home, we've opened the run door and let Mama and the chicks mix with the rest of the flock. Sometimes one of the other hens gets curious, but Mama chases her off. The chicks stay very close to Mama.

    This is working for now. It's been a lot of trial and error for us. We didn't think things through ahead of time and prepare. If Mama gets broody again next spring (which I hope she does), we think we may build a wooden brood box in a corner of the hen house and we've talked about possibly building a smaller run on the other side of the hen house. This may be a good idea in case we ever have to separate hens anyway.

    Good luck Shrader. It is fascinating to watch the mother hen's dedication to the eggs and the chicks once they are hatched. It's been a great experience. When I get home I'll try to take some pictures.
     

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