From incubator to broody hen: when to transition

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ChxLadyCass, Feb 19, 2018.

  1. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Songster

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    Hello! I have 5 eggs in my incubator that about 14 days in. I had my BEST broody mama go broody on a handful of eggs (not sure if they are fertilized or not, due to a recent rooster injury). My question is, when should I move the eggs from the incubator to my broody hen?

    My hen is the best broody hen I have ever heard of! She has successful hatches every Spring. Last year, she disappeared for a few weeks and came back with 16 chicks in tow!! I have no idea how she did hat, but I'm telling you she is very skilled! For this reason, I think she will adopt the 5 eggs and continue to sit on the others the extra weeks until they hatch. So my question is wrestling whether to move them out to her day 18 and day 1 out of their hatch? Any experience with this? TYIA
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging 7 Years

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    If it were me and I wanted to get the incubator eggs under her, I'd put the incy eggs under her now and move her eggs to the incubator.
    When eggs hatch, the hen won't continue to sit on eggs for more than a day or two. She has to take care of her live chicks even though there are still eggs in the nest with potentially live embryos. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, even to good broody hens.
    If her eggs hatch in the incubator, you can move those chicks under her during the night.
     
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  3. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Songster

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    Thank you! Today is really my last day to decide what to do! I am nervous about her brood. I will check on her today, but I am not sure how committed she is! Do you think she will go ahead and adopt the new eggs and get them to hatch successfully? It's so cold, I really don't want to risk losing them in their last days of development. Or would it be safer to just move incubator hatched chicks under her in the night? I am very nervous to do the wrong thing here! Thank you again!

    Any other advice?
    @aart @microchick @Redhead Rae @Lady of McCamley @fisherlady
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging 7 Years

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    Is she a first time setter? How old is she?
    If she sits on the nest all night and all but a half hour or so during the day, she's committed.
    Wait till she comes off the nest to do her daily stretch, defecation, feed and water.
    Swap her eggs with the incubator eggs then. Both batches will be warm. She wants to raise a family, she'll sit.
    You can move the chicks under her later but this would be more successful.
     
    ChxLadyCass likes this.
  5. Redhead Rae

    Redhead Rae Chickens, chickens everywhere! Premium Member

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    I've never tried giving a hen incubated eggs. I'm only on my second incubator batch right now.
     
  6. fisherlady

    fisherlady Crowing 5 Years

    My preference is to give the eggs to the broody at least a day or two before hatch, this will allow her to start feeling the chicks bumping around in the shell and she will hear them when they internally pip.
    It is not ideal to have a hen only setting a few days before hatch but can be done , especially with an experienced broody... and as has already been said, move the later eggs to the incubator and graft the chicks to her after hatch if able or plan to brooder raise them.
     
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  7. fisherlady

    fisherlady Crowing 5 Years

    Just make sure when grafting Chicks to an existing clutch that the area of movement is reduced so the youngest don't get left behind or worn out trying to keep up with the broody and older chicks. There is a huge difference in ability and stamina between a 1 day old and a 6 or 7 day old chick and the hen won't slow down to wait.
     
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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    Never done it, sounds risky.....but will follow along for the education.
    Best of cLuck!
     
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  9. ChxLadyCass

    ChxLadyCass Songster

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    She is my eldest hen. WONDERFUL mother and brooder (last Spring hatched out 16 chicks)! I will see if I can catch her off the nest! Today is the day to seize!

    With her history, I think she would know just what to do! I will get those eggs to her today if she is indeed sitting on the nest fairly full time. And the eggs she is sitting on may not even be fertile, so this may be worth the best shot! I will keep you all posted! THANK YOU!
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

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    I'd switch them out at night, well after dark.

    I just moved a broody hen to the partitioned area of coop.
    She was NOT happy, I let her back in the main coop and she went right to nest.
    Will move her to new nest tonite after dark.
     

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