First time with a broody and eggs! Hatch with me! I need advice!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by melloladies, Apr 9, 2011.

  1. melloladies

    melloladies Chillin' With My Peeps

    422
    0
    119
    Apr 28, 2010
    Merritt Island
    Hello! I set today 3 tiny baby silkie eggs from Bobbi Porto under my broody hen who's part cochin. She seems determined... it's been about a week and a half total- tried to break her for about 5 days, then realized I was getting eggs, and she's been on golf balls in the garage for about 3 days now. I have never hatched eggs at all before, which means I've also never done the broody thing.
    My biggest question right now is: how long can she come off the eggs for? I've been putting her out once a day to eat/drink/poo/have a dust and I want to make sure now that she has eggs that she isn't off the nest for too long. She does tend to let her mind wander sometimes and she isn't real quick to want to get back.

    Also- my plan is to let her hatch and brood in the brooder in the garage- she'll be in contact with her flock everyday for at least a little while (see above) so I'm hoping that when I go to integrate her and the chicks, that they won't go nuts on her like she's brand new?!? If anybody had experience or advice, I'm all ears please! I have one hen (top girl, momma is #2) that is less than friendly... I'm worried she's going to make life difficult.
     
  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Hi, why can't you just leave her to do what she is programmed to do? She will know how long she can be off her eggs for, and she can also raise her chicks around other chickens. I always find it bes to interfere as little as possible.
     
  3. melloladies

    melloladies Chillin' With My Peeps

    422
    0
    119
    Apr 28, 2010
    Merritt Island
    thats def an option [​IMG] I'm conidering putting her in a dog crate in the coop. My coop is raised about 2 ft. over a sand run with a ramp that heads down...what (and when) would I have to do to make that "chick navigable?"
    That's the biggest obstacle in the way of that course of action.
     
  4. silkieroo

    silkieroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    509
    0
    129
    Apr 14, 2010
    Durham NH
    She can be off the eggs for about a half an hour before it will effect hatchibility. Idealy you should seperate her from the flock while shes incubating the eggs and just let her out with the rest of the flock for breaks. Good luck with hatching!! Its so cool watching the moms relationship with her chicks!
     
  5. RedReiner

    RedReiner Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,431
    28
    168
    Nov 7, 2010
    Monroe, Wa
    why do you have to separate them from the flock? the only thing I did when my broody hatched hers was pen off a corner for a couple days. everyone else used the other nest box and let her be, when she brought them out with the rest of the flock she knocked the head of anyone trying to bug them. except one persistant pullet who tried to pull them out from under her, that one went to chicken jail for a week then all was fine. she sat on em, hatched em and raised em... 100% success rate.
     
  6. RedReiner

    RedReiner Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,431
    28
    168
    Nov 7, 2010
    Monroe, Wa
    Quote:oh! I have ramps up to the nest boxes and I worried they would not figure it out. I had one or two get stuck under the ramps but I helped them go back up the ramp, everyone figured that out in a hurry. you could always make little railings to help guide them lol
     
  7. silkieroo

    silkieroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    509
    0
    129
    Apr 14, 2010
    Durham NH
    Quote:Well it depends on the mom a cochin might be fine but its better to be cautious i didn't pen up my first broody and came home to find an egg (on day 28) mysteriously missing never to be found. [​IMG] I penned her up after that.
     
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    4,726
    139
    281
    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I find that it's ideal to separate a hen while she's brooding. Certainly it can & has been done otherwise, but I find that if it's at all possible to do so, it's best to keep her separate. Because hens don't like to think & are big followers of fashion. They prefer to lay where other hens have already laid instead of finding new spots of their own. So there's something additionally attractive about a broody hen. "Look, SHE thinks that place is so fine she's planning to raise her chicks there!" they say, and will shove her off the nest to add their eggs to her clutch. That results in interrupted broodies, maybe broken eggs, new eggs added to a clutch that may displace the ones already developing, eggs developing at different rates than the originals, and worst of all, the broody going off to a new nest and setting on the eggs there, leaving her own egglings to cool & die. Even without the interference, sometimes the broody will return to the wrong nest on her way back from her daily break.

    I also keep the hen & her chicks separate for several weeks or more after hatch. The chicks will need to eat starter, which is more costly than layer feed, and I don't want to feed the whole flock the more expensive food. It's okay for Mama to eat starter. She will want to stay with her chicks until she's ready to begin laying again, anywhere from 4-9 weeks depending on the hen.

    I haven't had a problem with re-integrating the hen back with her flock. It takes a few days for them to re-shuffle their pecking order, but there haven't been any bloody battles over it.

    And I am of the Let The Broody Do It school of thought, leaving them to decide when to take their coffee breaks and how long to stay out. They seem to know and will time it according to the weather, staying out longer when it's warm. I make sure they have food & water, and look for a fresh big broody poop every day or two, and look to see that they seem healthy & bright.

    Another thing to check is for mites. You may want to dust in & around the nest with an insecticidal powder like 5% Sevin Dust. A setting hen is an attractive target for these vermin.

    I have a little mixed-breed bantam named Biscuit who is setting on eggs now. She is a very experienced broody, and has hatched out chicks, ducklings, even goslings for me. For the first time I'm having her set on a staggered clutch, eggs that were started at different times. I plan to take the chicks as they hatch, keep them in a brooder, have her continue to set until they've all hatched, and then return her older chicks to her. I hope this plan will work.
     
  9. melloladies

    melloladies Chillin' With My Peeps

    422
    0
    119
    Apr 28, 2010
    Merritt Island
    The last couple posts illustrate my reason for asking pretty well. So many opinions! Each seem to have merit.... I've been having these conversations with myself over the last few days, so I thought I'd get others involved [​IMG]

    I would love to leave her in the coop with the others- so the seperating the meany hen for a week worked?! My worry is that I won't be there for the first interaction if I leave her out in the coop, and I don't want anybody getting seriously hurt.

    I think I'm leaning towards coop- but yesterday I was 100% garage babies!!! [​IMG]

    So far she stays away for 45 min + I think her confusion lies in the fact that the eggs are in a cage in the garage, and not in her "nest" as she knows it to be.
     
  10. silkieroo

    silkieroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    509
    0
    129
    Apr 14, 2010
    Durham NH
    Could you put her in a cage in the coop?? That way she could see everbody and they can see her but can't get at her.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by