First time hatching eggs, put under a hen...am I doing this right?!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kwphotomom, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. kwphotomom

    kwphotomom Out Of The Brooder

    88
    11
    46
    Jan 7, 2017
    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    We ordered 6 bantam eggs, they arrived a day earlier than expected and I didn't exactly have a solid plan in place. Originally I thought we would use an incubator, but the more I looked into them the more I realized I might be in over my head. So, after talking with an employee at Tractor Supply, I decided to give the eggs a shot with our one and only hen as he suggested she would likely do better than we would with an incubator.

    Our bantam hen, Lucky, has been with us since Christmas, she lays consistently 2 days on 1 day off. Occasionally I go out to the coop and find her sitting on her egg, but we collect it within a few hours of her laying most of the time, so I don't really know if she would attempt to hatch eggs or not. Do they usually wait until they have multiple eggs in their nest before they "go broody"? My son has put a ping pong ball in her nest a few times and I have noticed she does seem to sit on that.

    The eggs arrived yesterday, and in a panic thinking I needed to get them warmed up quickly, we hastily threw a box together with her current nest and put it in a spot we know she feels comfortable, away from the other birds. The eggs were a bit cool right out of the box, but I wouldn't say cold necessarily. It was around 65 here yesterday. We placed the eggs in her nest, then put her on top of them. She kind of pecked at one a couple of times, then used her beak to nudge it, then she sort of puffed up and sat down on the eggs. This was around 4pm in the afternoon, I had read that it's best to do it at night, so we draped towels over her nesting space, turned the lights off and kept it quiet in there the rest of the day, only checking on her twice before going to bed. I swear she never moved. She was in the exact same position this morning when we checked on her, no poop anywhere and she had not touched the food and it didn't appear any water was gone either. Did she really stay on those eggs that entire time?

    This morning we took her out with the other birds to eat and forage for about 20 minutes. My teenage son commented that she took "the most giant poop" he had ever seen come out of a chicken, I'm thinking that is a good sign, right? We then put her back in her little space with the eggs. She ate some more, but I never saw her drink anything. She can easily get in the box with the eggs, but when I checked on her 15 minutes later she was just sitting right outside of the nest box. I gently put her on the eggs as they had at that point been without her for about 45 minutes. She puffed up, kind of kicked the eggs around a little bit and then settled in on them. Checked on her a few times over the next hour and she hasn't moved, just sleeping on the eggs. She will talk to me a bit though, her typical sweet little chatter, it's almost like a kitty purring, lol!

    Here are some pictures of her this morning in case this helps determine if we are doing it right!

    Her nest with the eggs after we pulled her out to go eat this morning. No soiling even though she had been on the eggs for about 15 hours. Normally we won't let her go that long without coming out of the nest, but it was around 10pm when I got home last night and I didn't want to let her out in the dark, will make sure she goes out a few times today, once just before "bedtime". Looks like she did lose a few feathers overnight, I assume she plucked them?

    [​IMG]

    Her little space under my bathroom sink. I need to refill that feeder with pellets for her rather than chick crumbles! We left the side of the box open so she could come and go as she pleased, we are not forcing her to sit on the eggs, but she is enclosed in a small space to encourage her to do so. Does this set up look ok for now?

    [​IMG]

    And our little bird puffed up sitting on the eggs...

    [​IMG]

    So my questions are:

    Is this space set up to help ensure success?
    How long do we keep her in this space? Until chicks hatch, or should we put her back with the flock in a few days or a week once we are relatively sure she is going to actually sit on the eggs in an effort to hatch them? And at what point will we know for sure she is going to commit to this?

    Thanks so much for any info or help you might have to offer!

    Oh, one last question...will she stop laying while she is sitting on these eggs? I assume she will stop, but wasn't sure!
     
  2. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    It is set up just fine. It's best to keep her separate from the other birds until the child are a few weeks old. if she's staying on the eggs, and puffing up if you mess with her than that's a good sign of commitment. She should stop laying
     
  3. kwphotomom

    kwphotomom Out Of The Brooder

    88
    11
    46
    Jan 7, 2017
    Oklahoma
    My Coop

    Thanks so much for your reply! I let her out for a potty break late this afternoon, when I went to get her I noticed she had pushed one egg to the side and wasn't sitting on it. After removing her from the nest I realized she had laid another egg. Unfortunately that isn't the one that she pushed off to the side, I have no idea how long the egg was not under her, I hope it makes it through! I removed the egg she laid. I did hear her rummaging around in there a couple of times today, I'm assuming she was turning the eggs. I'm hoping she sticks with it and we have at least one or two hatch!
     
  4. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ran egg can go without heat for a few hours. It just slows the incubation down, and speeds back up once warmed
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by