hatching eggs with hens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by ladygunner, May 22, 2018.

  1. ladygunner

    ladygunner In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2017
    Hi! I'm Ladygunner. I have been keeping chickens for 3 years now. I currently have 12 hens and 1 rooster. I have 5 Rhode Island Reds and 6 Cinnamon Queens and 1 Buff Orpington. I have no idea what my rooster is, a neighbor gave him to me. He looks like a mixture of barred rock and silkie, as he has feathers on his feet. This year 2 of my hens went broody, the BO and one of the CQs, so I decided to try to let them hatch out some chicks. I'm maybe 2 weeks into this but it's not going well. The CQ got broody first, so I just let her sit, but then the others raise such a racket about her hogging the nesting box that I took her eggs. she just started over. Then the BO got the bug and I had 2 hens hogging the boxes. The other hens stopped laying or went to some unknown location to lay. This was not good. 12 hens and no eggs! I needed to do something!
    I have 2 coops, a small one that holds about 4-5 hens, and a larger one that holds all 13 chickens. i used the small when the chicks were small but now it is abandoned, good place for the broodies, huh? Yesterday I moved them to the small coop and shut it off to the rest of the flock. At first they hated it, but today they seem content, and what do you know? the others started laying again!!
    Today I candeled the eggs. there are 10 under one hen and 6 under the other. I appears that there is growth in 5 or 6 of the first bunch and i can see nothing in the others. They are brown eggs and its really hard to tell. I know that it's early, but I also think that Blondie, the Buff Orpingon didn't sit her nest last night, because she didn't like the nesting box in the new coop. When I took it out and let her make a nest of straw, she was content and went back to sitting. Would those eggs be ok? should I replace them with fresh ones? Any ideas or advice would be great, I have no idea what I'm doing here!
    007Sean, ronott1 and apryl29 like this.
  2. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

    Jan 30, 2015
    Hello and welcome to BYC.

    Having two broodies together could be a recipe for disaster once chicks from both hatch. I'd suggest having a plan for separating them once chicks hatch.

    Here are some links that should be useful in helping you with your other questions




    007Sean, ronott1 and apryl29 like this.
  3. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Set 40, 18 clear, 3 quit, 19 babies!

    Welcome! :yesss: We are glad you joined our flock!
    Jump right in and make yourself at home.
    Separate the broodys and get a brighter flashlight to make sure they eggs are developing.
    Or just leave them be and wait it out to see if they hatch.
    Good luck.
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  4. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Hug a friend today.

    May 8, 2017
    Southern Virginia
    Welcome to BYC! I am sure there is a lot of information here on how to manage broodies. Good luck with your chickens, they are great fun!
    007Sean and ronott1 like this.
  5. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

    Mar 31, 2011
    Woodland, CA
    My Coop
    Colorful welcome 1.gif
    They are likely fine. Candle them again soon to see if they are still developing
    007Sean likes this.
  6. alexa009

    alexa009 Crossing the Road

    Apr 6, 2017
    My Coop
    Welcome to Backyard Chickens!:welcome Glad you joined the flock! BYC is a very informative and fun site for people who love chickens, ducks, turkey, quail, etc..
    007Sean, drumstick diva and ronott1 like this.
  7. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi and welcome. Did you mark the eggs that you set under the broodies? If they are in a communal coop it is important to mark the eggs so that any that are laid into the nest whilst they are brooding can be removed on a daily basis, otherwise you end up with a staggered hatch which can cause problems and might explain why some appear to be developing and others are less obvious because they are behind. If you are going to allow broody hens to rear chicks in the main coop with the flock, then it is important to give them their own special nests so that the others can continue to lay in their usual place without disruption. My bet is that there is a stash of eggs out there somewhere waiting to be found, if you free range.

    Personally I don't candle broody hens eggs. I just leave her to get on with it and what will be will be. Moving a broody half way through the process is very disruptive for her. She is homed into the nest site not the eggs, so even though you moved her eggs with her, she will fret to be back to her old site which is probably why she didn't settle on the new nest initially. If the temperatures have not been below freezing whilst she has been off, the eggs will probably be fine, but perhaps hatch a day late.... a very experienced member here at BYC had a bit of a calamity with some hatching eggs whereby they were incubated by a broody for about a week, then abandoned and got left on the counter top for nearly a week before finally being incubated the full period and some still hatched, so your minor hiccup should not cause them a problem unless they are in the very final stages of development.

    Will both clutches be due to hatch about the same time or are they a week or more apart? That can make a difference to how well the broodies get on. Individual personalities also play a role. You would be well advised to make plans to separate them if necessary and at the very least, provide 2 food and water stations so that they are not likely to fight over resources, but there is a good chance that they will happily co-brood.
    Please keep a look out for their nests getting infested with red mites. Broody hens are a magnate for them and I always dust their nests before I set eggs and then a couple of times during the process to keep parasites down. I have had broody hens abandon their nest and eggs within sight of the finishing line before because it became so overrun with mites that they could not bear to stay on them and be eaten alive. Mites live in the cracks and crevices of the coop and crawl onto the chickens when they are roosting to suck their blood. If the hen is in the brood nest 24/7 brooding, she provides a round the clock banqueting opportunity for the mites and they breed rapidly, so the hen and nest can get overrun quite suddenly with them.
    Other than that, I wish you luck and hope you have a successful hatch. There is nothing better than watching a broody hen rear chicks!

    Best wishes

    007Sean and drumstick diva like this.
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Excellent advice from Rebrascora - I can't think of anything to add. Enjoy your birds.
    007Sean and ronott1 like this.
  9. ladygunner

    ladygunner In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2017
    Thanks for the great advice, everyone ! I noticed this evening that the girls combs look kind of pale. Is that normal?
    ronott1 and 007Sean like this.
  10. rebrascora

    rebrascora Free Ranging

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Broody hens combs do go pale, dry and shrivelled. A red comb in a pullet/hen is due to hormones and is a signal to any cockerels that she is ovulating. Broody hens hormones change and they no longer ovulate and the comb goes pale as a result. It is a good idea to check the nest for mites though because they will make them go paler due to anaemia. When the hen gets off the nest for a broody break, if there is a major mite infestation, there will be mites on the eggs because they are warm. It might be a good idea to dust the nest anyway, whilst she is off, just to be safe.
    ronott1 and 007Sean like this.

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