First Broody day 18 questions - DAY 31! UPDATE

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by widgeonmangh, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. widgeonmangh

    widgeonmangh Out Of The Brooder

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    Well this is our first hatch and I find that I still have a few questions even after tapping into the collective wisdom of this awesome site!

    I have a buff Orpington hen and she started sitting on about 9 eggs. It was difficult to catch the actual number. She is normally a very sweet hen but has turned fairly T-rex like after sitting on the eggs. I didn't believe that she was having a problem with the other hens coming in so I let her be. I think one or two snuck in so I fully expect to have some eggs that don't make it. I did catch her eating one day and was able to count the eggs and remove one that had a crack. But for the most part she has been comfortable and undisturbed in the main coop.

    Here are my questions.

    She is sitting in a nest box that is about 24 inches off the ground. I left her there just to prevent any rat attacks, however, I don't think it is a very good place for the chicks to hatch. (first step is a doosy) I was planning on moving her to a dog transporter tonight for the upcoming hatching. My dilemma is this. Where to hatch the chicks. I like the idea of leaving them in the main coop BUT I don't think they would be able to get outside (ramps) and I am not real sure about their security. Here are my options.

    a. I can move them into a dog crate and move them into a "spare" grow out coop (8x8) and let mom raise them by themselves.

    b. Move Mom and eggs into the dog kennel tonight. Leave them in the main coop and provide food and water (chick size) at the hatching site and see if mom can get them outside/inside? I am concerned that the chicks won't be able to navigate the ramps and will become separated from mom, chill and die.

    What are your recommendations?

    I also see this lockdown term but from the reading here, I don't see any compelling reason not to move mom/nest tonight? Just want to make sure I am not missing something?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2010
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I wouldn't move her till they hatch. To far in to it to take a chance that you put her off the idea. The nest being that high is not an issue. You could put some wire around the nest shes in to section them off from the rest.
     
  3. widgeonmangh

    widgeonmangh Out Of The Brooder

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    My concern with leaving her on the next is that a chick will hatch and then fall out and not be able to get back in. This would probably happen at the most inopportune time and either the chick would die of exposure or mom would leave the nest and the rest of the eggs not hatch. What would chicks and mom do once they all hatch?

    I have 2 rows of three nest boxes. She is in bottom center. They are already separated from each other but there is not any room for chicks. That is why I was thinking I should move her. It will be to a large dog crate with a door so abandoning the new nest won't really be much of an option. I think if I do it at night she probably won't be too disturbed???
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My orp likes to hatch in the upper boxes too, but it hasn't been a problem. She keeps the babies in for a few days (I actually have to pull the dud eggs out before she'll let the little ones out of the box) after the hatch starts and when it's done the family jumps/falls out and she uses one of the lower boxes or a corner for her family. She won't leave them on the floor and go back to the nest box. It's not ideal, but I agree with rebelcowboy, if you move her now she may break or at least leave the eggs and continue to sit in her old spot. It should be fine though so try not to worry too much.

    ETA: If your nest box doesn't have a lip on it you might try tacking a temp. one up. That will make it pretty unlikely that one would fall out on accident.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  5. widgeonmangh

    widgeonmangh Out Of The Brooder

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    Interesting... Nest box does have a lip on it.

    So to the point of letting mom do the raising of the little ones. I have ramps going in and out of the coop. What do you to provide for the need of the chicks? How would you recommend providing the starter food and water for the little ones once they are hatched? Or would you recommend moving the young family to a different place?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I raise them all together. I hang the layer feed high enough that the babies have to get pretty big before they can reach it. Some of the hens eat some starter/grower, of course, and drink the babies' water, but I don't care. Feed is feed, all costs much the same; if a hen enjoys a snack of starter, fine. The starter feed is only medicated with amprolium so I eat the eggs anyway.

    You'd be surprised how high a 3 or 4 day old chick can jump. If they can't jump to the nest, mama will stay with them. People have had hens hatch babies in haylofts and have the babies survive! Unless you have a very small coop, you can always make a step for them with a brick or whatever. When I was a nervous new chick mama, I did something like this, only to watch the babies jump over my step almost as soon as mama let them out of the nest.

    One thing I would NOT do is try to move the broody. Too likely she will freak out and abandon the nest. She will take care of any moving needed. If you're going to move a broody, it is best to do it before you ever give her the eggs you want her to hatch. Sometimes they won't settle down on the nest again for a couple of days.

    I always mark the eggs I want to hatch with a Sharpie. I remove any eggs that others have added (or she has stolen) when I collect eggs. I love the broody growl when I check under her. They don't stop growling, but they do get used to my disturbing them.
     
  7. lauriej57

    lauriej57 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would not move her either at this point. If you really feel you must move her, wait until the chicks have hatched. If you are worried that the other chickens may hurt the chicks, then some wire to close off her nest for a day until you can move her might do the trick.

    I moved my broody as soon as she started going broody, so she has raised her chicks by herself, now I am having a very difficult time integrating the mama hen back with the flock, she doesn't want to go back with the flock.

    If I did it again, I would find away to keep her in the main coop, but separated with wire for the first few days.

    Mine had 8 eggs under her, within hours after the first three hatched, she went off the nest to take care of her chicks. Next time, I will either take the 3 chicks in for the night, or I will bring the remaining eggs in and put them under heat for a day or 2. I had hoped she would go back on the eggs after awhile, unfortunately, it was the first night the temps went down to 60, and the eggs were ice cold in the morning.
     
  8. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raise them alltogether and feed gamebird instead of layer to the whole flock. I put oyster shell out freechoice so the layers can get enough calcium and keep corid on hand in case the chicks have any problems with cocci since I'm not providing medicated feed--haven't had to use it on any chicks though. I do make sure to have both feed and water in the coop for the first week after chicks hatch out since some of my broodies keep thier family in the coop for several days to a week and won't let them out into the big bad world. After a week or so I take the water out of the coop (too messy!) and they go out the the container in the run without any problems.

    If she doesn't let them out of the nest after a few days go ahead and move the whole crew to ground level and remove any unhatched eggs. I have a bo that let her chicks starve/dehydrate waiting for the unhatched eggs to emerge. That's very rare though, most hens will give up on the eggs to take care of the chicks, but it was pretty sad so I wanted to make you aware of the possibility.
     
  9. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    First, "lock down" is only for incubator hatching. It's the last 3 days during which we don't turn the eggs, we raise the humidity, and we don't open the incubator .... mostly to keep from jinxing the hatch, as far as I can tell. [​IMG]

    (Don't take the time to tell me why - I do know. It just seems arbitrary.)

    And I put chick starter and water really close to the new family - Momma can use the extra protein after that extended period of seclusion.
     
  10. widgeonmangh

    widgeonmangh Out Of The Brooder

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    Since the next boxes are attached to the wall 24 inches up, bringing food/water close to mom is going to be tough:)

    Today is day 19 and I will have a cardboard box (one side open) with starter food and a water and lots of shavings and I am hoping that when mom and chicks get to ground they use it as the place to hang out. I have a sand floor and I think getting off of it will help keep the little ones warmer but in the end I am going to let mom raise them and see how it turns out.

    Thanks for all the tips and I will post up when/if I get chicks.
     

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