Help, broody hens and lots of eggs

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CathieG, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. CathieG

    CathieG Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 5 hens sitting on 3 nest. I'm not sure how many eggs, 3 maybe 4 dz. eggs. The first nest I let them have started on 3/14. I know others in the flock layed eggs after the first ones I let her keep (at the time there was only 1 hen) I was hoping she would hatch the eggs and stop being broody. But really all it did was get more hens to sit. If I have it figured right, this means the first eggs should have hatched 4/3. Right? I do lift the chickens up and set them back down to see if there are babies (the nest is on the wall and babies would have to fall 3 ft to the ground). I know I have rotten ones as I smell them, but how do I figure out which ones are good and which are bad at this point? I have in the past tried moving the eggs to a nest on the ground and all that happened there was she abandoned the nest :( I also still have 3 hens and a Guinea laying eggs every day (2 have moved to another nesting box so I remove them daily. I cant really say the Guinea is laying in the boxes as last year she would lay outside the coop (they free range in the afternoon.) I know one of the hens has had at least 1 baby before the snake got it (then we got the snake).

    also, how long should I let them keep these eggs?

    Thanks for the help
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    To see which are good you will need to candle them. Shine a bright flashlight through and see what they look like in there. This is best done at night. You're looking for stuff like this:

    [​IMG]

    Here's a chart that you can compare to to see about what day of development each egg is at:

    [​IMG]


    However you're going to have some problems. Since you let your other hens keep laying in the nests, now you have eggs of all different stages. What is going to happen is that when the first chicks hatch the hen is either going to abandon the eggs that haven't hatched to care for the chicks, or ignore the chicks and let them die to keep sitting on the eggs. Since you have five hens here, what I would do is figure out about what day each egg is on, and put the ones farthest along that look closest in development under the hen that started sitting first, and then put the others under the other hens in groups of which ones look closest together in development. You're going to experience further complications because you have guinea eggs in the mix, which take longer to hatch than chicken eggs.

    Mark all the eggs the hens have now with a sharpie so you know which ones they are, and remove all new ones that are laid from now going forward. If your hens do end up getting off some eggs before they hatch, either you will need to put them in an incubator if you have one and hatch and raise them yourself, or you will need to let them die and throw them out.
     
  3. CathieG

    CathieG Out Of The Brooder

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    I have seen the charts but most stop at 17 days or so, the first batch should be well beyond that. would I be able to see anything if they are really close to hatching? I was not really worried about a hen leaving the nest to raise the chicks as there are 2 birds in 2 of the nest, so if one leaves the other one will still be there. I'm also not really worried about the guinea eggs as I can tell them apart from the chicken eggs. I have tried candling them with the last eggs the first chicken was sitting on with no luck, but I will try again tomorrow. I will have to do them in the daytime, the rooster and other hens come in at dusk and perch above me head. I don't really want to piss him off with him above my head. The chickens will be bad enough. Do you think I could bring all the eggs inside and candle them and return them without damage? It would be easier to separate them out and give them back not having to fight the chickens to much. Its not like I can shoo them out from behind, its on a wall the other side is horse stalls, so no door to open and let them fly out.

    Thanks for the help
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    You could bring them in - they can cool down for at least a half hour with no ill effects :) Actually if eggs hatch in a double nest, it's most likely that both hens are going to get up with the chicks and cobrood them. They can't count so they really don't care when they started sitting - if they have chicks hatch under them they assume those are their chicks from the eggs they were sitting on so up they get.

    As for candling, yes, you can see in them past day 17 - the egg will be almost entirely black aside from the air cell. If you happen to have a chick pipped internally you will be able to see its beak as a shadow.

    I'm wrestling with three broodies myself right now - buff orps! They never quit :p Last year I had two of them co-raise a batch of chicks which was adorable. That's probably what you'll end up having happen with the hens that are sharing nests.
     
  5. CathieG

    CathieG Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, tried candling them. I either couldn't see thru the shells, or they were all dark. I used a 100 watt light bulb, and a dark bedroom. They had 42 total under them, I only gave back 26. I could see thru the guinea eggs with little problems, so I took most of those. I broke 2 of them so they went, and the others I was unsure about so I took them. I did mark the ones I gave back. so we will see. I did almost throw out one that started to hatch on my bed, so it made me even more nervous about the ones I tossed.
     
  6. CathieG

    CathieG Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Top picture is all the eggs, I kept the ones on the right.
    2nd picture: closes egg is hatching. There were eggs that had little feathers on them. Not sure if they were from the hens, or maybe other chickens that hatched and were eaten? I have not seen any other babies.
    3rd picture is of some of my hens, 4 hens and my guinea hen all in 2 nesting boxes
     
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  7. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Congrats on the pip! Any chicks yet? It's going to be soon. The feathers are probably down feathers from your hens :)
     
  8. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recommend getting a large, shallow incline ramp or something up to the nesting boxes so those chicks can get down from them safely. If they fall out of the nest, they'll be injured at best.
     
  9. CathieG

    CathieG Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a cage on the floor that I put 1 hen and the egg that was hatching in. They are both doing good. That's the only one that has hatched so far. I plan on putting all the chicken in the cage (there is a box for them in there too) that way they will not get hurt.
     
  10. CathieG

    CathieG Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm up to two babies now, both are doing good. There was also another one who did not make it, Half in the shell and still wet when I found it :(
     

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