First time hatching eggs with broody hen

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Min27, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Min27

    Min27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2012
    Australia
    I bought half a dozen ancona bantam eggs today to place under my broody pekin. She took them no trouble, however this is my first time trying this and I'm still really concerned about some things that happened with the fertile eggs today.

    1. Shortly after we put the eggs there, another chicken (a big isabrown) came into the nesting place and laid an egg next to the broody chicken. It's a popular laying spot. This displaced some of the eggs, but none were broken (and the isabrown only took about 10 minutes to lay her egg). I removed the isabrown egg to make room for the eggs I bought. The broody chicken has settled down on the eggs again. We have placed a cage around the broody hen's nesting place to prevent predators and other hens from disturbing her
    2. While I was putting the ancona eggs in with her, the broody hen accidentally pecked some of the eggs. It was a soft peck, and I didn't see any cracks on any of the eggs, but I fear I may have killed a potential chick before it was even born
    3. Some of the eggs were written on in pencil (labels for the breed). Will the chick get lead poisoning?
    4. The broody hen has been broody for about a week. She might get up before the chicks hatch
    5. Do you have to vaccinate chicks you hatch yourself? How do you do it?

    I'm excited, but at the same time concerned I might have overlooked important details required for a successful hatch. I know they probably won't ALL hatch, but I'd like some of the eggs to hatch.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    1. Nothing to worry about. The eggs will get moved around and rolled by the hen. And they'll even get a bit cold when she gets up to take a break and have a bite to eat. It won't harm the embryos.
    2. Again, don't worry. Unless she broke the shell it'll be fine. If you want to you can candle the eggs and check for hairline cracks, but egg shells are quite tough.
    3. Pencils nowadays are non-toxic. Lots of us here use it on eggs with no problems.
    4. She'll sit until the eggs hatch.
    5. There are different vaccinations available for different diseases. I vaccinated for Newcastle, powder mixed with their drinking water (if you use this method remove their water for 2-3 hours beforehand or give them first thing in the morning when you let them out. The chickens will be thirsty then and they'll all have a drink and all get the meds.) Ask your vet what he/she recommends for your area.
    Last thing: relax and enjoy! Hope you get a good hatch rate.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    [*] Some of the eggs were written on in pencil (labels for the breed). Will the chick get lead poisoning?

    Lead pencils do not contain lead. They use graphite mixed with clay. The way they chew on them, there is no way we would be allowed to give school kids lead pencils with real lead in them.

    I use a black Sharpie to mark mine. It's easy to see and does not wear off enough that it gets so light it is hard to see. In my childhood many decades ago I used a graphite pencil. They both work.

    [*] Do you have to vaccinate chicks you hatch yourself? How do you do it?

    Many of us don't vaccinate at all. Before I got my first chickens here, I called the county extension agent who put me in touch with the professor that teaches chicken diseases at the University of Arkansas just up the road. He is on the team that investigates outbreaks of chicken diseases in this region. He also breeds chickens and used to show them. After discussing what was prevalent in this area and how I planned to keep them, I saw no reason to vaccinate for anything. For example, there had been one reported case of Marek's in this county in the previous two years. That did not seem like a huge risk.

    In my opinion, whether or not you vaccinate depends on what is prevalent in your area and how you intend to manage them. I don't show chickens and I keep a closed flock. That means the only way I bring in new chickens is either through hatching eggs I hatch myself or day old chicks from a major hatchery. Mine just are not exposed that much. If I had a history of a specific disease in my flock, I'd certainly do differently. If I managed them differently I might do differently.

    Whether or not you vaccinate is a personal decision. You don't have to do anything. You can do whatever you decide.
     
  4. mos68x

    mos68x Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Toney, AL
    One of my hens went broody for the first time as well so this'll all be new for me as well. I hadn't thought about the vaccinations so thank you for bringing that up, other than that though I haven't had much to worry about. My PBR is the broody one and likes to steal eggs from the other hens so I have to check her nest and remove extra eggs since she has about 15 under her right now. It is more than I'd like under her but when I checked the eggs last night with my makeshift iPhone 4 candler I saw development in all the eggs, so I'll just weed out the ones that don't make it to reduce her number that way instead. When I checked on the other hens eggs earlier today I apparently forgot to latch my nesting box access and later noticed that the door was wide open and a few eggs had fallen to the ground. Will a fall of about 2ft cause that chaloazea(sp?) to break away? I didn't see any cracks on the eggs but I can candle them again either tonight or later to be sure. One other question slightly off-topic, how long does it take before the broody hen pushes the chicks away and no longer cares for them? I have been considering bringing the broody hen either into the house or into the garage for the remainder of the hatch, mainly to help reduce stress on the eggs when she trades eggs or just keeps trying to add more to her nest. But also for when they hatch as well since we'll be creeping into fall and much cooler temps very soon.
     
  5. Min27

    Min27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Australia
    Thanks for all your advice. I guess I might be worrying about nothing, but I have to keep in mind how fragile unborn chicks can be. My chook is still sitting on all the eggs (but is having a hard time covering all 6 - some are a little exposed at her rear and sides. Then again I did once have a bantam chicken that managed to hatch 14 eggs, but that was before we got her).


    Quote: The only real reason I thought about vaccinations is because in the past we've bought chicks and some of them simply got sick and died. Some breeders and produce stores also advertise their chicks being vaccinated as a selling point. I don't show my chickens, but we do let them free range and some wild birds visit their enclosure (sometimes to have a bath in their drinking water...which I then have to replace - but the chicks will have their own water source which other birds will not be able to get to).



    Quote: That's a relief to hear. I just heard this fact that eggshells are not entirely solid. They have millions of tiny holes in them for the chick to breathe. Maybe some of the pencil could have gotten in those holes.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think this is the source of your worry, and it's really not that true. Egg shells are incredibly tough and a the barrier that has allowed the species to survive and reproduce for thousands of years. Eggs can go through a lot and still hatch well. And baby chicks are a lot tougher than they look, also. They can take hard pecks from other grown hens and be just fine, and a range of temperatures is good for them. This morning my less-than-one-week old chicks were our scratching around for food with the temp right at 50 degrees.

    Just let that broody do her thing, she'll take good care of the babies.
     
  7. Min27

    Min27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2012
    Australia
    Well there's been a bit of a mishap with most of the eggs. One night, the chicken kicked five of the six eggs completely out of the nest. This makes me wonder...Do chickens count? Like as in count how many eggs they have? Because she started sitting on just one plastic egg to begin with. Now she's only got one fertile egg under her. If this one egg hatches I'm gonna call the chick Lucky.

    I managed to candle the rejected eggs. They all had one large dark spot floating in them (probably the yolk) and a bunch of bright tiny spots on the inside of the shell. There were no veins developing (although it's only been 2 days). I believe there may have been a bacterial infection and the chicken was quarantining these eggs by kicking them out.

    Still I feel ripped off. I paid $25 for these eggs, and I can get infertile eggs for free. Next time I might try allowing the chicken to accumulate a clutch of eggs (marking them with a pen), then count them and only buy as many fertile eggs as in the clutch and substitute the chicken's eggs for the fertile ones.
     
  8. Min27

    Min27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2012
    Australia
    Here's an update. My broody pekin is still sitting on that one egg. According to my calendar it should have hatched on October 6, but it hasn't. Now I'm a bit concerned. Is it normal for the incubation process to take more than 21 days?

    The egg feels a little heavier than it did before, but it's not moving or anything. The chicken still insists on sitting on it, so there may be a chick inside.
     
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I've had an egg hatch on day 25 under a broody, so it's possible that the egg may still hatch. Did you candle it at any stage to see if it's developing?
     
  10. Min27

    Min27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2012
    Australia
    No I only candled the other eggs that my chicken kicked out (some had a dark mass in them, which I assume was the yolk, but no other development). I didn't want to do anything that might cause her to reject the egg or stop sitting on it.
     

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