1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Hatching with 2 broodies

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by coops gone crazy, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. coops gone crazy

    coops gone crazy In the Brooder

    Jan 4, 2012
    I have had several of my hens go broody lately. Currently my silkie and a 3yr old blue orpington have been sitting on the coop floor together for a few weeks. I finally decided to order them some fertile eggs and try hatching with a broody for the first time. The eggs will be here tomorrow and now I am starting to question everything! They have had a few golf balls they are sitting on. There are 11 hens (I think- 2 Polish that are about 5 months old that I am not sure on yet, no laying but hard to tell if roos or hens) total in the coop (6'x8' with a wired in run of about 8'x10'.....maybe 8'x12'). The orpington is partially blind. Got her as a chick with a mix of black/blue chicks. All of the blues started getting cataracts by 6 months of age! Ughhh.....great breeding there. She is the only one left- she, the silkie and my silver laced wyandott are the only survivors of my initial flock after a raccoon attack. :( She does well though and nobody messes with her. I have about 10-12 eggs coming. I do have an incubator and enjoy watching them hatch but have always wanted to see babies running with a 'mom' and also would really prefer not to have to raise them in the garage and go through the integration thing. Now I am worried about if they will successfully brood these eggs though! I know there is really no way to know and all the things that can go wrong. I do have a small coop (about 3'x3') that I could separate the 2 broodies into, then if I get chicks maybe wait until they are several days old and then integrate the hens back into the big coop. I am a little afraid to move them- don't want them to stop brooding right when my eggs arrive! I did give them a few eggs to sit on this morning hoping to encourage them. The silkie immediately started pulling some under her but one is sticking out the front. Worried she may not keep them warm enough. The orp just sat there. I stuffed them under her. Will run and check soon and see what they are doing now. The orp has consistently had 3-4 golf balls under her for the last couple weeks and they do move a bit in the corner and take the golf balls with them each time so maybe they will get it? I think she sits on the floor because it is hard for her to see well enough to get up into the nest boxes now. She is able to forage for treats and stuff even with her iffy vision (one eye is much worse then the other). So- I would be interested in hearing recommendations.....move them to the small coop today (2 nest boxes in there on floor level) with a few eggs or leave them where they 'sit'? Ordered some nice FBCM eggs and a few lavender Ameraucana eggs. Really really want some hens from this! I have 1 FBCM chick (and the 2 polish) from my last incubator hatch. It didn't go well. Unfortunately several chicks from that batch fully developed but either didn't pip or pipped externally (tiny little pip in the shell) then died. :( I MADE myself keep my hands out of the incubator (the first polish sprung from its shell and was active) and had to leave for a 24 hr shift. My only surviving FBCM was partially pipped when I went to work. So hard to walk away but kept telling myself- keep your hands out. Got home 24hrs later and she was still the same! Ended up picking her out of the shell and discovered the rest were dead. :( Wish I would of 'put my hands in the bator'. Thought I was practicing self discipline at the time. Such a bummer. Ok- advice for the new hatch attempt?
  2. tommysgirl

    tommysgirl Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    I am no expert but just wanted to reassure you a little bit. I put a dozen eggs under my broody yesterday. I gave her barnyard mix eggs last time and she was a brilliant setter and brooder so this time I gave her a dozen including both some shipped and some of our own.

    If one of your girls breaks you can fire up the incubator and finish the hatch but it is so much easier and lower stress to have a broody do the hatching and brooding that I think it's great that you are giving your girls a try.

    My hatch date is the 25th. I will keep you posted on my girl's progress. Good luck!
  3. yokrow

    yokrow In the Brooder

    Jul 7, 2012

    I have a broody hen and ordered some fertile eggs. i started out with and order of three but received five. a week later I received 8 more. (It was a shipping error).

    I placed them under my hen even though I knew they would be staggered. I'm a noob, don't knowmuch about candling, etc.

    We had to get rid of one egg, it popped after we put it in a plastic bag to check it out. It died early. Two just disappeared out of the coop. I thought maybe PK ate it but there was no evidence of that.

    It's been 30 days for the first batch and today is Hatch day for the second. We were about to open them out and to my surprise I heard peeping. One egg has hatched at blue Amer. Nothing yet from the others I will keep them with her until the either hatch, smell or she feels the need to take the one chick out to forage.

    My advice for what it is worth? Let your hen do what comes naturally. She knows what to do. This is my first time and it been nerve wracking but it's of my own doing. Just make sure they have clean water and food. I've read that hatch rate is low for shipped eggs.

    I just received a box of egg. I hope one of my other girls go broody if not, I will try my hand at incubating.

    Good luck and keep us posted
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams 5 Years

    G'Day .. another newbie here with a broody on eggs. Actually newbie all round, don't even have an incubator; my girls were 3 months old when I got them. If it happens, first chicks ever! I am posting to wish you all good luck and I would also love to know how you go. Maybe we can help each other out a bit, I know I need it! lol.

    Two weeks ago: I have 3 pet bantam hens. I was only going to have two but two became three (basic chicken-math I am told lol). I was warned that Cilla, my Black Cochin, may go broody and sure enough she did. 3 days she hardly left the nesting box and after hours and hours of 'broody' research, some of the options sounded very eeew, I made a decision to give her what she wants and she is now quite happily sitting on 5 silkie bantam eggs.

    What have I done?! She may be ready for this but am I? I am both apprehensive and excited .. I have numerous 'what-ifs' going through my head; what am I going to do with them if they hatch; besides keep one of course (basic chicken-math lol)? What if they are roosters (can't keep roosters) what will I do with them? What do I feed them? Extensions and alterations are now required to the chateau so that if they do hatch they have somewhere 'safe'. Yaada, yaada :-D

    Then I realised, if an 8 month old little bantam chicken can do this surely I can! Lots of research and one day at a time. If chickens could talk, Cilla is probably telling me to "Chill, Mum, I got this covered"

    Two week's later (now): Wow! Some strange stuff has been happening! The other day, I get home from work and Cilla is sitting on 3 eggs and Dusty (Bantam Langshan) is sitting on 3; 2 of Cilla's and 1 she laid! So I gave Cilla her 2 back and took away the unfertile one. But Dusty wasn't having any of that and 5 minutes later, had stolen 2 back lol. I'm thinking OK, fine, I'll leave you to it. But the next day, Dusty has obviously figured that being broody is not as much fun as it looked and gave up and Cilla has all the eggs again. Normality returns for 4 days. My hubby was working from home on Thursday; he sets up under the gazebo and while he works the girls can supervised-free-range .. he looks up to check on them, 'Yep, Cilla on her eggs, uh nope, that's Dusty!' .. Apparently, they tag-teamed 4-5 times throughout the day, taking turns sitting on the eggs! We have a week to go (Friday) and I am going to be very surprised if anything hatches and if it does, I wonder who is going to be Mum? lols
  5. coops gone crazy

    coops gone crazy In the Brooder

    Jan 4, 2012
    Encouraging stories! Thanks. Still debating- leave them in the coop with the others or transfer the 2 to a private small coop. I'm leaning toward the latter right now. Have to decide quick- need to move them tonight if I am going to I think. Part of me wants to throw a few in the incubator. The other part says chickens sure seem to be more successful at this then my incubator and I do! I think I will just tuck the eggs under them and let it be. That is what I bought them for in the first place. :) So- lets all (attempt) to hatch together and see what we all get!!! Keep me posted and I will do the same. And yes- darn that chicken math!!!
  6. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams 5 Years

    Hey Coops [​IMG] Yep, I hear you .. apprehensive about what I am going to do if/when they hatch also. Definitely not moving her now with just a week to go and carrying out extensions, renovations on the off chance is not only going to upset her, it could all be for nothing. I have a friend who never separated his mother hens and never had any dramas .. who knows! I'm thinking I'm going to leave her/them to it .. if they hatch and one of the girls isn't happy about them being there and Cilla doesn't protect them, I'll have to rethink. Friday is possibly the day which is good because I am not working on the weekend and if need be, can quickly throw something together. I am going to tempt fate by purchasing some chick start on Tuesday and get some chick-friendly feeders but that's all for now ... I know I am going to be a little disappointed if this was all for nothing but I started this for Cilla not me! Fingers crossed for all of us [​IMG]
  7. lizgarf

    lizgarf Songster

    Jun 4, 2012
    I'm in the midst of some broody drama myself. 3 of my 4 hens go broody frequently, and I'm doing my first hatch with them now. A couple days after we suddenly lost our 5th hen, Stella, to a dog, Frida went broody for about the 5th time this year, so I decided it was time to rebuild the flock and I ordered her some eggs (4 blue eggs (2 EEs 2 Legbars) and 4 Marans). By the second day she was setting on them, she was joined in the nest by her best friend, Rousseau. They've been dividing up the eggs between them and doing an all around good job sharing the duties and cuddling up and keeping each other company. Since I only have 2 other hens, and they all get along, I haven't separated them, but I'm starting to question that wisdom. I found my first cracked egg on Day 7. I put candle wax on it, but by the Day 10 candle, it appeared to be dead and starting to make a faint smell. The other 3 blues looked good, and I still couldn't tell what was happening with the marans, and probably won't ever see through them. Some BYC'ers on the hatch-along recommended tossing the egg before it contaminated the others. So, with heavy heart, I removed it from the nest this morning . . .
    I returned home after being gone all day and found my other legbar egg crushed in the nest, there was egg mess on most of the other eggs and another was kicked out of the nest, and one of my broodies had egg mess on her. 2 eggs and one broody did not appear dirty. I cleaned up the nest, cleaned up the broody, and wiped down the dirty eggs with a damp cloth and a little alcohol. I'm guessing that one of the other hens accidentally broke the egg in the nest, but I just don't know what happened. It was the first day I hadn't let the two non-broodies free range, so maybe that had something to with it? I just don't know what happened, but I don't think it was a rotten egg.

    So, at this point, I'm considering separating the two broodies together and away from the two non-broodies, but I haven't figured out how to do it logistically, and I'm worried that moving them will disrupt their broodiness (they've always been very attached to that particular nest), but not separating risks further harm to the eggs and eventually the chicks, if they ever make it that far. Anyway, that's my experience at day 11, with team broodies and a small flock. I'm feeling pretty demoralized at the moment. Any advice is welcome, and if this helps anyone else, even better.
  8. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams 5 Years

    Aaaw Lizgarf, I am sorry to hear that [​IMG]
    I wish I knew the answer! As the thread indicates, I am a total newbie at this broody-thing to the point that I had not even thought about breakage or rotten eggs! So far, touch wood, I have been lucky. Maybe because I only have 3 and they are bantams they have been very careful with the eggs and I have often seen them gently hop into the box and then shuffle over to the eggs rather than jump directly on them. Just a thought which you have probably already had .. if the broodies are attached to that box and you don't want to upset them, any chance of moving the 2 non-broodies rather than the broodies? I have read a bit about candling but I went with the 'wait and see/don't mess with them too much' option.
    Thanks for the tip on the cracked egg .. candle wax huh? Top idea!
    6 Days to go .. and counting!
  9. lizgarf

    lizgarf Songster

    Jun 4, 2012
    Thanks for the kind response! Not a bad idea to move the other 2, but I don't have a good place for them. Today was the only day I had been gone for more than a few hours, so I should be able to keep a better eye on them and let them out more - I had hoped they'd use another nest in the coop, but no such luck.
    I just now recandled all the eggs - the two remaining blues still look good - hopefully the cloth-washing they got today won't weaken them. It's still hard to tell with the marans, but they smell ok and look promising, though one of them was lying away from both broodies when I got them, and it looked less promising than the other 3 for some reason. I think your wait-and-see method has its appeal - I keep worrying I'm bothering the eggs by checking them, but it's also important to remove bad eggs so they don't explode, I'm told. You might try candling a couple - the first time I could really see veins was so exciting! But, you wouldn't want to do it much later than now, from what I hear.
    Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing how your hatch goes! I don't know how to wait the remaining 10 days. This has been so nerve-wracking! Maybe I should stick to adopting adult hens or pullets!
  10. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams 5 Years

    [​IMG] Aaah, Lizgarf you literally made me laugh out loud .. I had in no way factored in exploding bad eggs ... Sometimes ignorance is bliss! Ah well, too late now I think; we have made it this far, hopefully we will last 6 more days :)
    I so totally agree with you about the nerve-wracking bit and I hope it is worth it for all of us newbies. I'm thinking it will be nice when we get to share the pictures of our babies! If they do hatch I am going to have a whole new list of apprehensions! [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: