First time with a broody...I have a few questions, please help :)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Feathered Landings, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Feathered Landings

    Feathered Landings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Eatonville, WA
    I have a BO that has gone broody on me. I started to notice on Mon. the 4th of Jan., but I've been sick so my husband's been going out for me, she could have been like this since the 31st of Dec. This is my first time so I've been reading a lot about it but I can't find anywhere that says if I can pick her up to candle the eggs. I'm worried if I move her (with leather gloves of course, cause she is meeeeeeaaaaan!!!) she won't go back and sit on the eggs. We DO have a rooster so there is a possibility they may be fertile, so I don't want to mess anything up. 2nd question: if I do candle them and find that they're NOT fertile, should I remove the eggs or is that too devastating for her at this point being that she maybe 1 week into the whole process? 3nd question: If she does hatch chicks, should I seperate the mother and chicks or let them be? I've heard both sides, so any personal experiences with this one would be great. Thanks in advance, Rachel [​IMG]
     
  2. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    #1: You don't HAVE to candle the eggs, just wait 21 days from the time you think she began, or the time you noticed her brooding, and see if chicks hatch. But if you do decide to move her, do it well after dark.

    #2: IF you candle them & find they're not fertile you could either replace the eggs with fertile ones or put her in a wire-bottomed cage for several days to break her broody spell.

    #3: You CAN leave the hen & chicks with the rest of the flock, sometimes everyone is fine with that. I think it's better to keep the broody hen in her own private pen/cage throughout her set and for as long as she wants to stay with her chicks. The chicks will take 20 weeks to grow into adults and will need their own pen anyway for that time, even after the hen decides to leave the chicks at about 6-9 weeks.

    I wish you & your hen the best of success! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I seldom candle eggs when a broody is sitting on them. This is probably because (a) I suck at candling and (b) I pretty much know the eggs are fertile to begin with. I do, however, handle my broodies frequently. I move them, take them off the nest to feed them special treats and make sure they get enough food, water, and poopy time. I use them as fashion models for chicken saddles. Just generally have my way with them. (This is all during warm weather, of course.) It has never stopped them from running back to the nest the instant they are allowed to. My hens are excellent mothers, and I never worry that they will abandon a nest. Since this is your first time, and it's the middle of winter, I don't suggest that you do all those things. I also wouldn't worry that messing your hen one time would have any adverse effect on her.

    If you candle the eggs and it turns out that they aren't fertile, you really need to take them away from her. There's no point in her sitting on them. They could get funky and eventually explode. My question is: How many days of incubation do you need to know for sure if they are fertile or unfertile? See, I DO suck at candling! If they aren't fertile, either replace them with fertile eggs, or break her of her broodiness.

    I also like to have a separate area for broodies and their chicks, at least at first. I've done it both ways, and it's just better for everyone if they have their own space. If that's not an option, you can let the hen raise chicks with the flock. I've done that, too. It can work out well if the broody hen is aggressive enough, and high enough on the pecking order to protect her chicks. Mine are. In fact, I like to separate them because they terrorize the rest of the hens in the flock. But the other hens can survive that. The real problem would be if the broody hen couldn't protect the chicks. They are small and vulnerable. It all depends on the particular birds involved.

    Now, a word of advice, in case you do decide to separate the broody and babies. Wait till the babies hatch. If you change her nest spot at this late date in the incubation process, she will almost certainly abandon the eggs. She will want to go back to the nest that she originally chose.

    For future reference, here's what I usually do. When I notice that a hen is broody and I want to hatch eggs, I move her to a broody house where I want her to be. I lock her in there for several days, while I worry about where the hatching eggs will come from. Once I'm sure that she has adopted that new nest as her own, I give her the eggs to sit on. I just put them in the nest in front of her and watch as she tucks them underneath herself. It's the cutest thing. But that's advice for next time!
     
  4. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Central Virginia
    Oh, and here's a cute picture for you. I also have a Buff Orp broody.

    [​IMG]

    Notice the wire in the background? And the light spot on the 2X4? That's where I removed a roost. I had so many broody hens sitting at the same time that I had to convert a broody jail (for breaking broodiness) into a broody house for her to hatch her eggs in.
     
  5. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    1-- I agree you don't have to candle the eggs. If you have a roo that is mature and tops the hen then there is a good chance that you have some if not all fertile eggs. Even if they are free range the roos normally get to mate with many hens. Depends on the hen if you will disturb her by checking the eggs. Sometimes a hen is easy to break and other times will not give up easy. Putting is a isolated area or pen is a great idea.....mine tend to have better hatch rates.

    2--If she is a week than you should be able to see the veins when candling. I wait for at least 4 days after incubation starts to be sure. 3 days is what you should find on any incubation info but some are hard to see at 3 days. Some hens get rid of bad eggs but I you find a bad one you should be able to get rid of it without her noticing it is gone. I would say don't let her see you with it because then she knows you got it and sometimes they will come at you, but it will be forgotten by the next day. Candling at night should be easiest and should not stress the hen to much, take them out one at a time to check, but only for a few seconds (just enough time to check) you don't want the eggs to get cold.

    3--Personal I would separate hen and chicks from the rest of the flock, unless you want her to start laying sooner. Sometimes older chickens will kill the chicks. I had one hen who killed her own chicks so the others would not kill them. It was awful. Next time I kept her away for other chickens and she raised them till they were almost 3months old. If you prefer to separate the hen from her chicks you would need a area to provide constant heat, food, water, etc. I think most people use brooders for this. I use a homemade brood box.
     
  6. Jen4

    Jen4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2008
    Munfordville, KY
    I've had 2 of our BO girls go broody this past summer/fall ( one set born in Sept. the other Nov.) I just let Momma do her thing, I did candle (only cause I wanted too, its cool). I did move my broody to a penned in area inside the chicken coop where the other chickens could see her and her babies but not get to them... Then I let them out with the flock and their mom when they are about a month... I havent had any problems so far. All my chickens get along pretty good, I have 40 all different ages (11, 10, 4, 3 months old).
     
  7. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    When I candle under a broody. I go down at night with a flashlight and I just reach under her, grab and egg and candle it. Then I set in down* and grab another, when I'm done with them all I set them back under her. I don't pick her up at all.


    *When you set the eggs down, don't put them too close to the broody or she'll pull them back under herself and you'll never get done candling [​IMG]
     
  8. Feathered Landings

    Feathered Landings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Eatonville, WA
    Thank you so much everyone for all your excellent advice [​IMG] I did go out tonight, about 5 hours after dark, and gently "tilted" her to her left side. I only saw 1 egg (however, my husband said he saw 2 on the 5th when I had him check her, I wasn't sure if she was sick or broody, now I know) but I didn't pick her all the way up so maybe they were tucked under her good. I tried to candle the egg, but guess I'm not really good at it either lauralou [​IMG] I was just using an LED flashlight, nothing special, and it's a brown egg. From what I've read, if you're only 4 days into it it'll be really hard to tell with brown eggs. At first I couldn't see anything but as I turned it, it looked like a darker shadow in the middle. My husband said to wait and see how she handles it and maybe sometime next week I could go back and try again....we'll see. I really hope all goes well, funny how I didn't care anything about hatching eggs and now I think I'll be really upset if nothing comes of this. Only time will tell......

    P.S. Lauralou....that IS a very cute picture. Hopefully I'll have one like that soon too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  9. Joyryder

    Joyryder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 11, 2009
    Scandia, PA
    I have a broody hen. I wouldn't mid her hatching some eggs. Question: Do hens normally hatch eggs in the cold winter. My coops aren't heated. If I put a broody hen in a dog cage in the coop will the others bother her. I really do not know how I should set this up. Any help is appreciated.
     
  10. Feathered Landings

    Feathered Landings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Eatonville, WA
    This is my first time too, but from what I've read they can hatch eggs in the winter. I live in WA so it's not really cold her at all, so if the chicks are born they'll be fine. As for the kennel, wish I had done that. After my last post, I went out to check the eggs again and they were GONE!!! One of our hens is an egg eater, so she must have gotten to them while the broody was off eating and drinking [​IMG] (that would have been day 8 and I was worried at this point it was too late to move her) So I put 5 more eggs under her and we're trying again. If it doesn't work I'm going to attempt to make a homemade incubator and go that route. If you do move her, I've read to do it at night and if it's out of the coop, put her in a covered box when moving her. Make sure the kennel is big enough so she can have her own water and food and room to get up and poop. Close the door and see what happens. Good luck!!!
     

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