Hatching eggs! Broody hens x4! My first broody hatch!?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cielo, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. cielo

    cielo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2011
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    I'm using BYC for therapy Right now I have 4 broody hens, 3 of them are smashed in the same nest box. They are bantam Xs so they can fit... sort of. [​IMG]

    I had some shipped eggs that I really didn't have high expectations of. It was very cold here when they were shipped and they ended up sitting in the Post Office for a few days before I could pick them up. The eggs are some sort of Olive Egger project eggs so they are too dark to candle. I started them in my Brinsea. Then as I had chicken after chicken succumb to broodiness I decided to let them do the work so I could fill my incubator up with turkey eggs.

    Today is hatching day and I'm stressed. I went out and heard one of the eggs peeping up a storm. Then hen is only sitting on one fertile egg. I saw the pip, heard the peeping and freaked out convinced the chick was in distress. I'm a firefighter & EMT, so I have those rescue instincts, however they don't translate to chickens necessarily. I rushed the egg inside and removed part of the shell and membrane, then reached a vessel that bleed a little and stopped myself. I put the peeping egg and chick back under the hen and banned myself from the coop.

    There is one other pipped egg under another hen. The other eggs didn't appear to have pipped yet. I think there are only about 5 or 6 potential hatching eggs under the 4 hens.

    I've had chickens on and off for a decade but this is my first time having broody hens hatch for me. I guess it's hard for me to just sit back and wait. Even though I know it's what they do, part of me doesn't trust them.

    I'm glad only 5 of my chickens are bantams. I'd heard about the legendary broodiness but never witnessed it first hand. I took a trip and my parents took care of my animals. I forgot to tell them to gather eggs because at that time my bantams were laying pretty much an egg a day this being their first spring, my dad said it occurred to him to check after a few days and he found a hen aggressively trying to cover a huge pile of 20+ eggs. I think by that time "Egg Fever" had spread to 4 out of 5 of my bantam mutts and there was no hope for them.

    I hope some chicks hatch. Then I'll be in a confused panic about how to support some mother hens. If eggs don't hatch how do I break up the broodys? They need a break right? Could I give them Turkey eggs to hatch? That would be another month. I need to learn more about broody hens. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    From one EMT to another, I understand the "rescue instinct". Now, from one chicken-raiser to another, STAY AWAY FROM THE COOP! Think about this. Which is a more natural way for chicks to hatch - under a hen, who has all the proper equipment, preset for the exact temperature and humidity, and has a God-given instinct to hatch those eggs as chickens have been doing for thousands of years without human "help", or chicks hatching in a plastic box? Give up the control, trust your broodies and let them do their thing. [​IMG]
     
  3. cielo

    cielo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2011
    Mattawa, Washington
    Ha! Yeah, thanks bobbi. You are right, hens got me and my incubators beat!

    Good news is that chick did hatch out. It's peeping and drying off under mom.

    Do moms and chicks need to be separated from the rest of the flock for a while? I doubt the baby is gonna make it up into the coop. Will the other chickens bother the chick?

    The mom is sitting on two infertile eggs, probably I should remove them, maybe tomorrow so she can stop thinking they will hatch and focus on her chick?

    I wonder if I'll have any more new hen moms...
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    If your other hens are setting on fertile eggs, you will have more hen moms. [​IMG] I don't know if you need to separate them or not. Some people do, and integrate them later, others put them together right away and let the mama protect the babies (depends on how protective she is, obviously). You know your chicken and whether or not she can take care of it. Good luck!
     
  5. cielo

    cielo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2011
    Mattawa, Washington
    [​IMG]
    Here is Velocity and chick #1 that hatched yesterday in spite of my messing with it.

    The good news is ALL of the other eggs appear to have hatched. The other nest box with the 3 hens smashed in it I checked and each hen appears to have chick or two under her.

    I'm impressed as these were shipped eggs and my pullets are only 9 months old.

    I'm going to wait and see what happens over the next few days as the moms and babies emerge from the nests. I build a broody pen yesterday and I have some other pens I can house mom and chicks in if I need to separate them.

    Thank you for the help!
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm glad it all turned out well for you! [​IMG]
     

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