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good grief

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brazosbluz, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. brazosbluz

    brazosbluz In the Brooder

    May 13, 2010
    i have two hens ....one ..or both layed a bunch of eggs on top of the feed bag...and they are taking turns sitting on them...2 questions..is this normal behvior?..and can i move the eggs to another spot without them abandoning the eggs?
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Do you have a rooster?
  3. brazosbluz

    brazosbluz In the Brooder

    May 13, 2010
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Are you sure they are both broody? Do they spend the night on the feed bag or does one or both roost in their normal spot instead of staying on the nest all night? It is not unusual for them to both lay in the same spot and it is not unusual for a hen to take a long time to lay. If they were both broody, I'd expect them to both spend some time together on the nest. I know they don't always do what you expect, but that is what I would expect.

    If both are really broody, you might be able to move them without breaking one from being broody and you might not. If you do have two broodies, I think you have a great chance to keep at least one broody and get them moved. What I would do is prepare an area with a nest, food, water, and enough room for the hen to get off the nest and go poo without messing up the food, water, or nest, put some fake eggs in the nest, and move one in there at night, using as little light and commotion as possible. It helps if the nest area is kinda dark so she feels more secure in there. Lock her in there so she cannot go back to the old nest. If you are in luck, she will accept the new nest and you can move the real eggs in with her. Then you can either break the other broody or move her into a different but similar enclosure and see if she will stay broody. If she does, you can either give her some of these real eggs or give her a new batch of fertile eggs for her own.

    If the first one does not accept the new nest, you can let her go back to the old nest and try moving the other broody. The first will keep the eggs warm while you are checking to see if the second broody will accept the move.

    Some people successfully have two broodies work together to hatch eggs and raise chicks, but I won't try it. Some of the things that can go wrong:

    1. One hen may kill the chicks that hatch under the other hen. It does not mean she is a bad mommy and will kill any chick that hatches, though some broodies by themselves do this. She is just protecting her chicks from rivals, even if she is sharing a nest and the eggs with another hen.

    2. The hens may fight over the eggs or chicks, even if they had been coexisting peacefully. They are full of raging hormones and are not always logical when broody. They are very protective and possessive of their babies. The eggs or chicks may get damaged, injured, or killed in the fight. This can happen even if there is quite a bit of age difference in the chicks.

    3. If they are in different nests, one broody may steal eggs from the other. That's why you need to clearly mark which eggs go under which broody. Too many different things can happen and you will need to sort it out.

    4. If two broodies are setting on different nests within hearing of each other and one broody starts to hatch her eggs, the other broody may abandon her eggs and go join the first hen, either helping her with the hatch and raising the chicks or fighting to try to take them away. Or maybe a broody with chicks already hatched brings them within hearing or sight of a broody on a nest, so she abandons the unhatched eggs.

    As I said, many people successfully have two or more broodies work together to raise chicks. These bad things do not happen every time. But they do happen often enough that, as much as I like having a broody raise the chicks, I won't have two at the same time.

    Good luck!
  5. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    'Hen friends' do sometimes share eggs.
    I would separate the eggs into two piles and give them to the two hens in two different places. If one hen fails to set in the new place, then give the other hens all of the eggs. if they are very broody the move won't bother them too much.
    If they hatch together they may have a 'hen fight' about the chicks.


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