First time letting broody hen hatch eggs - advice please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Hummingbird Hollow, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've raised chickens for 6 years but this is my first year with a rooster. Since I have one girl who goes broody, I decided to let her hatch some eggs this spring. She's been very contentedly sitting on 6 eggs for 15 days in a big plastic covered kitty litter box in a separate chicken house. My question is, when the chicks hatch should I give her a different kind of next? I can't imagine newly hatched chicks being able to get out and back in the nest box.[​IMG]
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Just add steps and they can get right in it-----something like bricks in a step pattern Or cut some of the front of the blue nest off in the front.
     
  3. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know a lot of people just have a small coop that the hen and her chicks go in, similar to what it seems you have set up. You could possibly cut out a little dip in the nest box to act as a doorway. Good luck!
     
  4. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I'll try the steps idea. I hate to cut into the litterbox/nest box because then the lid wouldn't be secure if I wanted to use it again next year. Thanks for the input.
     
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  5. MrsMoon

    MrsMoon Just Hatched

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    Im also hatching my first time. My hen is sitting on 23 eggs and is on day 13. I just went to check on her and 2 eggs were missing whilst one was deep under the hay and was cold. The hay had some blood and yolk on it. I wiped all the eggs with a dry clean sock. I didnt try to rub off the dried yolk which had stuck to some off the eggs shells. Is it ok if i leave them like that?
    Could it be my hen who ate the eggs or mice?
    I noticed no left over shells so who ever ate it, ate all of it!
    I also candled the eggs and all had developed. About 18 were ceftainly moving and rest 3 i was unsure of but still left them in.
     
  6. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    23 eggs is a lot! usually, about 12 standard sized eggs per standard sized hen is a good rule. Maybe you should take some eggs out from under her?
     
  7. MrsMoon

    MrsMoon Just Hatched

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    Well she seems to be doing an excellent job of covering them all and about 18 are moving!
    Mainly should i clean the yolk on some of the eggs about (5) or should i let them be?
     
  8. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    As stated 23 eggs is ALOT for one hen. She has to place her feet somewhere too. So many eggs can cause eggs to get broken----She probably broke them trying to get back in the nest. If some get broke the hen will usually clean up the "mess" the best she can so the broke eggs do not draw "critters/bugs/ants". I would not try to clean the dried yolk off. Good Luck
     
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    23 is too many and will reduce the success of the hatch as she will be unable to keep all of them sufficiently warm. The hen moves and rotates the eggs in her nest so that ones on the outside edges are moved in and those in the centre pushed out. Development will start but then when they get pushed to the edge they will chill and die. They then get pulled back into the centre and others get pushed out and chill. You may actually get less hatch than if you only set 12 under her although even that would be a lot for a first time broody.
    I would candle them again and remove any that show little or no movement. Those 3 that you are not sure about will almost certainly jeopardise the survival chances of the 18 that you can see moving.

    The broken eggs will be because there are too many in the nest. The broody hen cleans up any breakages by eating it including shells.

    Do other hens have access to the nest as that can also cause eggs to get broken and of course they will lay in the nest causing a staggered hatch, all of which is a threat to the developing eggs.
    In a more natural setting a broody hen would establish a nest away from the communal area usually in a dark, quiet, secret place. Lay an egg a day into it for about 2 weeks and then start to incubate them. Other hens are often unaware of the location, so the broody would not have the problem of them climbing into her nest and laying extra eggs and risking breakages and causing a staggered hatch. All the eggs would start incubation at the same time and hatch within a day or two of each other. Because we confine hens to a coop and run, they have limited choices about where they can brood and communal nest boxes are often their only option. They also have no control over how many eggs are in the nest when they start. It is therefore our responsibility to try to prevent the problems caused by this situation and give the broody the best chance of success in this less than perfect situation.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
    3 people like this.
  10. MrsMoon

    MrsMoon Just Hatched

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    [​IMG][/IMG]
    I live in China and everyone here seems to put 20+ eggs and always have an excellent hatch. So i dont think the quantity is a problem at all.
    I definitely agree she could have jumped on them and broken them!!!
    My main concern is that a couple have yolk stuck on them, do i have to wash them with water and really rub them off?
    Im so greatful for your responses guys, Thank You!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017

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