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Getting fertilized eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MissChessy, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. MissChessy

    MissChessy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2007
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    I'm going to be getting 4 fertilized eggs from a friend. I have a very broody hen and no roosters. Can anyone give me help on what I need to do when she hatches these eggs??? I have 28 other hens and what needs to be done? Do I have to separate the chicks or does she take care of them?? How do I ensure these chicks eat the chick starter grower feed as these hens eat the layer pellets? I need educating on this topic. Any help is appreciated.[​IMG]
     
  2. MissChessy

    MissChessy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2007
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    Bump????? Anyone????
     
  3. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

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    Thats up to you, I always separate my broody from the rest of the hens til the chicks hatch...some hens will attack or kill young chicks so you can either keep them separated or try letting them back into the flock..Most of the time the broody will defend her chicks and they will do fine around the flock, you just have to watch and see how it goes....If you keep them in with the other hens I would put everyone one of the chick starter/grower and just keep a dish of oyster shell out for the laying hens...
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  4. deborah

    deborah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck with you venture. We put fertilized eggs under a broody hen earlier this year. Though there was some heartache, it was a great experience and I hope we get the opportunity to do it again.

    From 14 eggs, we have 5 nearly 10 week old chicks (I guess they are pullets and cockerels now!).

    Check out: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=43761&p=1 for my post during the hatch.

    We left Mama in the nest box. That's the first thing I would do differently if I could go back. I would set up a brood box right away and get her settled in before I gave her the eggs. That way you can make sure none of the other hens get into the nest while Mama takes care of business. I don't know for sure, but a week or so into it, we had a broken egg. That was a mess.

    Also, we had a staggered hatch. I think 14 eggs have been too much. Mama was trying to keep them warm in the cold Michigan March. The first chick hatched early Saturday morning (April 5th) and the last one didn't hatch until Sunday Night/Monday morning. Sunday afternoon Mama and the first 5 chicks left the nest. Two more eggs hatched then. Mama wasn't there to keep them warm; she was protecting the hatched chicks from the other hens. We weren't home. The 2 chicks died; we found them cold and wet in the nest. If we had had her in a brood box, this may not have happened.

    We lost 2 more because we tried to help them hatch. Don't do that; it will almost certainly go badly. Be patient.

    After Mama left the nest, we set up our dog cage in the hen house to act as a brooder box. We left Mama and the chicks in there until they were about 1-2 weeks old, then we let them out with the rest of the flock during the day and they went into the dog cage at night. Mama protected the chicks. They followed her around, she taught them to scratch, etc. At about 5-6 weeks, we took the dog cage out. Mama kept them on the floor (not in the nest we tried to set up the floor) for about a week, then Mama started roosting again. The chicks roost apart from her and they are one their own now. The chicks are kind of a sub-flock. For the most part the hens leave them alone.

    We feed our hens organic laying ration. It isn't pellets. You can see most of the grain. I was advised that the chicks would only eat what that need from it, not the calcium. Our chicks have not been on grower ration. We give everyone kitchen scraps/treats. They are probably growing a little more slowly than if we had them on grower ration. But as far as we can tell, they are healthy and active, (and I think happy!). Mama hen did a good job raising them.

    For an accounting, out of 14 eggs: 5 healthy chicks, 1 smothered under Mama/in the bedding at 1 day old, 1 egg broke early on, 1 egg was not fertile and rotted, 1 chick was fully developed but never pipped, 2 chicks died when we attempted to help them hatch, and 2 died when Mama left the nest.

    Good luck and keep us informed how it goes!
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  5. MissChessy

    MissChessy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2007
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    Thanks for the wonderful information. I'll keep ya'll posted on this new adventure! [​IMG]
     

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