First Time With Broodies (there first time too!)

Discussion in 'Hatch-A-Longs' started by hexrain, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. hexrain

    hexrain New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2013
    WOW! Let me just start off saying what an interesting and truly exhausting (egghausting?) experience this has been! But such a joy!

    I started about 2 months ago trying to encourage my hens to brood. After a week or so not collecting the eggs to see if the notion struck anyone to sit, I gave up... The hens were eating a forth of the eggs , and i was resigned to call it quits. then about 4 weeks ago my girlfriend and i noticed that there were 3 chickens sitting eggs. i checked for a few days to make sure they were not eating them... watched them start to protect the nest from the other chickens. so after about a week we decided they were doing it, and to try to hatch some eggs.

    I'm going to try and list the things that i didnt do so well so that others may learn from this example. I didnt mark the eggs at lay time. Mistake. Started looking for them comming out about a week ago, but they seem to have laid an unfertile batch or maybe the initial eggs didnt develope and then they must have still been laying afterwards in the boxes they were sitting. so i was a week off on the hatch date. I also didnt candle my eggs untill about 2 weeks, because of this. when i did candle i removed all the obviously infertile ones ( i am giving the eggs the benifit of the doubt because my flashlight is dull and this is my first tme. i only removed ones that were see through. about a week ago i started seeing movement in the eggs when i candled them each night, In retrospect, i should have been more hands off... but try to tell that to a first time chicken father! I have read that broody hatched chicks can "shrink wrap" too if the humidity drops too much. after reading this a few days ago i have since tried to be less intrusive. <--- this one i think is important to note because when i researched it. 99% of threads on shrink wrapping were in the incy forums, but i realized later that it could apply to any lack of humidity. (like lifting up broodys 3 times a day.

    I should note that i also had the 2 of the broodys on too many eggs. the 3 broodys are an araucana, buff orp, and either a NH red or RI red... The buff was on about 16 eggs bfore i took a few that were no good, then she went down to 12 or so (this was a good amount i believe) the other 2 each also had about 12 after i took the bad ones. Please note that buffs are large birds. I probably could have put a few more under her and she would have done fine. the other 2 however seemed to have problems keeping their eggs covered. every once in a while i would find one sitting out away from the nest, getting cold. Smaller chickens need less eggs to sit... larger chickens can handle more.

    The NH or RI found a rotten egg and cracked it open and ate a bit. i cleaned the remains up. it was funny because for a week or more i was smelling it but i couldnt pinpoint which it was... chickens are amazing creatures! she found it and kicked it out and pecked it to show me it was no good.

    About the buff orpington.. she is big. about 2 days before she started hatching chicks i noticed an egg was cracked... upon closer inspection it looked as if it had been pecked and then crushed a bit. the chick was still moving, and having read the assisting a chick thread but not being comfortable yet, i put it back under... the next morning it is a goner. that day another... i was getting worried. why was she pecking and smashing here eggs? they looked fine when i did an autopsy. I started to chalking it up to new mother not knowing what to do with he hatching babies. however i also read a post where someone had a simalar problem with a BO broody crushing eggs and their solution was so obvious i felt kind of dense for not thinking of it sooner. she is a heavy bird and the person suggested that the litter in the nest was not deep enough. well i put 3x more straw in the box when she got up to stretch for a second and made a good size divit in the middle. as soon as she got back on i feel like she settled down more. Really worrying through the night, i was convinced they were going to kill all the babies and i we would all fail from enexperience!

    The next morning... I fluffy yellow chick is under BO mom. I watched them a second and saw the momma peck the little one one good time right on the head. freaked me out. it was night time, just after dusk, and i was worried that she was a little confused about what was going on so i decided to leave them alone.

    The RI red also started hatching chicks about a day later. everything seemed fine with her. no pecking chicks.

    The araucana howvere had mimiced the BO and cracked and smashed an egg. NOT ANOTHER ONE! This one was still moving, and before i could even what to do i was running in the house to put it under a light. we have solar power, and not that much, so all of our bulbs are compact florescents. needless to say they dont get very hot. but, being all we had i set up about the cheapest jankyest incy one could assemble. I feel dumb telling everyone (maybe someone will learn from this) but when i first founf the egg i tore into the outer membrane about on the opposite end to the air cell, where it was smashed before i realized i should be going into the air cell. this exoposed its yolk. this chick being premature had most of its yolk still outside. i wet a paper towl and set it on the exposed yolk spot (note the inner membrane was still intact) and put it under the light. i also wet a sponge and laid it in there. The outer membrane was drying supper fast. i think i was a little worried about shrink wrapping so i tried to remove some or the inner membrane. i got it away from the beak and notrils but i hit a vein twice... once was near its nostrils and blood seemed to get in the nostril a bit... i tried to soak it up and clean a litlle.. at some point i accidently got a drop of water on the nostril... i turned the chick in the shell to face its beak down to that it wouldnt aspirate the water, then i told myself to take the assisted hatch guides advice and LEAVE IT THE **** ALONE! seriously! dont pull membrane off if you can see thick veins on it. try to leave as much shell on to keep in moisture as possible. then i just let it sit. was worried about the light not being warm enough, worried that i took too much off too fast, worried i exposed the yolk, and just worrying in general. I woke up every coulple of hours that night to wet down the sponge and pulled membrane back as it became clear.

    the next morning about half the shell is off and the yolk is still looking the same... not absorbed. i was pretty slow advancing the hatch at this point, telling myself to give it time to recover... especially because it seemed this thing was 2 days early or there abouts based on the chicks under the same mom. at some point in the afternoon i freed up a leg. yolk is absorbing now... can see the chick chewing. wings start flapping, legs kicking, head moving about. looks like it would be in the trying to internal pip if it had a shell still. i figure 24hrs to go. movement becomes more powerful and frequent, about 5pm that day it starts cheeping. cheeps about once an hour. then at night time it starts more regularly for a while and slows down on the cheeping afterwards. oh its eyes were also closed this whole time... thought it might be blind,, but at this time i start seeing it peeking at me. the yolk sac is about half absorbed now. I start to get really exited that it is surviving with my help. so last night i kept an eye on it again. this morning i all of the shell and memebrane off except the part still attached to the yolk that is absorbing. i am going to wait untill the yolk is fully absorbed and see if it comes off by itself. this chick seems to be doing ok. it actually looks bigger without its feathers fluffed than its siblings do. it isnt up and about yet, still laying over but peeping regularly. yolk is almost gone into its belly.

    The other chickens at last count araucauna 2 chicks, BO 4, RI or NH 2. but im not disturbing them to be sure... the Bo started 2 days before the araucana, 1 before the RI. so starting tommorow probably i will move moms and babies to a brooder coop. one everyday. im thinking of taking leftover eggs and putting them under the ones still sitting at the end. i want to give them a couple of days past date to make sure. So far, despite my inexperience i am managing to help bring life into the world. what a joy to raise chickens...

    probably an update to come....
     
  2. hexrain

    hexrain New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2013
    Update

    I went ahead and took the crushed one's shell all the way off and cut the umbilicus. peeping often and drying out. it really does look quite large. i have a ppolicy not to name my chickens... may have to make an exception with this one.
     
  3. hexrain

    hexrain New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2013
    Another update: the crushed chicken passed... cam home and it was not breathing. maybe it wasnt warm enough. it definately had an uphill battle. on a lighter note 10 chicks confirmed!

    the RIR is acting kinda crazy.. she wanted to poo so i let her out.. then she seemed confused about where her nest was... strange because she was fine until now... she also started stomping and scratching in the box... one egg was hatching but its shell was taken off and outer membrane exposed. i decided to put it under the BO to give it a better chance. found one chick with the shell almost all peeled away and the chick shrink wrapped inside... looked like it hadnt pipped to the aircell.... very dead. not sure what happened with that one.. the yolk was hardened. im just reminding myslef that some WILL die and trying to be greatful that there are now 10 more new beings in the world!
     
  4. hexrain

    hexrain New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2013
    12 chicks so far... 4 for each... found several rotten eggs that they kicked out... i moved two of them because they were trying to get out of there nest that i had caged in... they seemed over sitting. the broody still sitting who hatched the latest is now sitting all remaining eggs... there are too many for her i think but hopefully she will kick the bad ones out... im going to candle again and look for movement tonight. i hope there arent any viable left because im not sure the broody will sit for much longer
     

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