First Time Hatcing!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Bushman50, Oct 30, 2013.

  1. Bushman50

    Bushman50 Out Of The Brooder

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    I can definitely say I have learned a lot about raising chickens this year. I moved to a new home bought some chicks (before building a coop I might add!), eventually built a coop and graduated some of the "extra" Roos to the DFU (Deep Freezer University)! I can now say that I have another first. I decided to let one of my hens that decided to go broody, sit some eggs to see what would happen. I was told that the chances weren't good for the "first eggs" to hatch. Well I'm proud to say that 3 outta 5 of the eggs she was sitting on have hatched. The other eggs have mysteriously vanished from the nest. The first one hatched sometime Monday. I was at work and my wife called and informed me of the hatching. Since it was very cold out that night and the chick had jumped from the nesting box I told my wife to bring it in and put it under the heat lamp that I still had set up from when I originally brought my chicks home. That way the hen would get back on the nest. Sure enough thats what she did. The chick is fine, a day and a half later another chick hatches . I let it stay with its mother for most of the day only picking it up that evening during feeding. I notice that there is only one lonely egg left. I pick it up inspect it and put it back, 10 minutes later I hear peeping from the coop and to my surprise the egg now has a massive crack all the way around it and a struggling chick is still inside. I go inside to tell my wife only to find out that the older chick is mercilessly attacking its slightly younger nest mate. I have them separated at the moment but am at a loss as how to handle them long term. I don't really have the space to set up separate brooders for each long term and hope to not have a repeat performance with the third chick. HELP!!
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I've never heard that the first eggs don't hatch - new one on me.

    Personally I wouldn't have taken the chicks from the mother. The beauty of broody hens is that they will raise the chicks for you so you don't have to run a heat lamp and clean a brooder and all that. After the first chick hatches, the hen will continue to sit for another 48 hours or so, to allow remaining eggs time to hatch. The chicks don't need to eat or drink in those first couple of days so that works out great.

    Here's what I would do in your situation. Move the hen to a private area on the floor of the coop. I usually partition off a corner and place a small feeder and waterer in there for her and that way the other hens don't bother her or the newly hatched chicks. The chicks can't fall out of the nest and get lost, and they learn to bond to the correct mother hen.

    At night, place the two already hatched chicks back under the mother. She will be so sleepy she won't care and as she is still in new mother mode, there shouldn't be an issue with her accepting them back (I once gave a hen 2 new chicks a full 4 days after her only egg hatched and she accepted them no worries).

    In the morning when you check on them, you should find a happy little family. With the last chick hatched, the hen will know it is safe to leave the nest so she will start to show them how to eat and drink. In the first few days she will spend a LOT of time sitting with them tucked under her, but as they get older they will spend more and more time out running around.

    Congratulations on your new chicks!
     
  3. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello HEChicken, you seem to be really knowledgeable, can I piggyback a question on this thread? :)

    I have eggs under a broody, plus some shipped eggs. part of the shipped eggs are under her, and part of the shipped eggs are in the incubator.

    The eggs are staggered.. egg 1 is 13 days, egg 2 is 11 days, egg 3 is 9 days, egg 4 is 7 days, (laid @ home)
    (shipped) eggs #5, 6, 7,8 & 9 are 6 days along
    (rest of the shipped eggs are in the 'bator)

    That's 1 week between 1st and last hatch. What is your experience with staggered hatch? You said they accept chicks within 48 hours.. if more time passes, and I add more chicks, is it likely they won't be accepted?

    I am considering a couple options..I could put the early ones in the bator, hatch them separate (?), and then introduce them 1 week later when the other 5 hatch under the mama. Doing it vice versa, adding more chicks over time, I worry she wont be as accepting... I just have no idea! :(
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    That's not a bad idea to keep them in a brooder until close to the last one due to hatch and then introduce them. I think that's what I'd do in your case.....if you leave them under her, what will likely happen is that chick one will hatch and she'll keep sitting. Chick two will hatch and she'll sit a little longer. But before chick 3 has a chance to hatch, she will abruptly abandon the nest as her priority will shift from sitting to caring for the live young.

    I don't like staggered hatches exactly because it does get complicated like this [​IMG]. What I usually do is collect the eggs and then give her a batch all at one time, rather than letting her collect and start to sit on an egg every other day. That way they will all be due at the same time. Good luck Farmer Viola!
     
  5. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, thank you very much!

    This is my first time hatching. I specifically sought out broody hens because I think they make perfect mothers and wanted to start this flock right. (None of my current flock have any type of instinct whatsoever)

    What happened was, I ordered some shipped eggs for her because she went broody immediately when I got her (~2 weeks ago). The 2nd hen continued to lay eggs, and I let them set in the nest with the other fake eggs, hoping it might encourage the 2nd silkie to brood also. On day 3 or so, I broke one open and immediately saw, to my complete surprise, that it was FERTILIZED!! so I moved them under the broody, and then the added shipped eggs arrived shortly after.

    So.. i don't even know what these silkie eggs are crossed with ;) it's amazing to me that her eggs were fertile for so long... up to 10-14 days I now know. I'm not even sure if the last egg laid *is* fertile.. but for some reason I can't throw it out if it is. I actually broke open 3 eggs throughout the last 2 weeks thinking surely they wouldn't be fertile anymore.. they were! I left the next egg in the nest.

    Well, now I know. Next time I will collect them separately and put them under all at once. thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  6. Bushman50

    Bushman50 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well I decided to take your advice and return the earliest hatched chicks to their mother. The final chick was pure yellow so it looks like all three eggs are from different hens than the one that hatched them. She was doing well with the little yellow chick today . It was even running around the coop yard with the adult with little fan fair. I did how ever put the mother hen and the little yellow chick in a separate brooder that I originally built when my first chicks started getting big. Unfortunately its too big for me to move by myself with out a hand truck safely (4'X4X3'). I still plan on moving it into the coop as soon as I get a second pair of hands. I put the first two chicks with her after dark. She didn't move much just kinda clucked a bit and looked around. I attempted to put them under her tail, but they ran around and zipped up under her. I guess they remembered what they had done after they hatched. I just hope that she takes to them and can keep that oldest one from pecking the eyes out of the younger two!
     
  7. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Yay - hope it continues to go well. Keep us posted! It always amazes me how much the "know" instinctively. The mother hen develops a whole new language that the chicks hatch already knowing, and the chicks know to get under her wing and she knows how to keep them safe and warm and fed. Nature really is pretty wonderful.
     
  8. Bushman50

    Bushman50 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well the new family is getting along swimingly. The little chick that was being a bully has apparently been made to play nice with its nest mates and the mother hen has taken to them automatically. She's showing them how to scratch and peck and also how to drink out of the waterer. Just wish the rest of the eggs had hatched as well but she seems to be doing fine with just the three.
     
  9. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    That is great news!
     

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