HELP ... Day 22 and Hen POOPED in Nest - 2 Chicks Hatched Already, Still Waiting on 4 More. What to

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by laila143, May 2, 2017.

  1. laila143

    laila143 In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2016
    Hello, everyone! [​IMG]

    This is my first ever hatch and I need some advice. I have no idea what to do!

    Here is what's transpired so far:
    - I had 2 broody Brahma hens. One is an older, very experienced broody named Betsy. The other hen is actually Betsy's daughter, Clementine! Clem is a first-time mama.
    - I went and bought a dozen fertile eggs (4 French Black Copper Marans, 3 Splash Marans, 3 Cream Legbars, and 2 Olive Eggers). That night I placed 6 under Betsy, and 6 under Clementine. Unfortunately, when I checked the next morning, I found Clememtine had left the fertile eggs and sat on the wrong nest... Looks like she'd gotten up to eat/poop, then another chicken occupied her box to lay an egg. So she must've gotten confused and sat on the wrong nest. At this point, I felt it'd be much better to move both hens and their respective clutches to their own separate 'maternity ward,' which was our unused dog house.
    - Fast forward to Day 20... which was 2 days ago... Betsy had hatched out 2 chicks already! Clementine had 0 hatch.
    - Day 21 (Yesterday) -- Betsy hatched out 3 more. Clementine welcomed 2 chicks too! Yay. Betsy and Clem are both still setting on eggs (1 more to go for the former, 4 more for the latter). So I set some food and water near the nest and the mamas have taught the chicks to eat and drink.

    - Still Day 21 (Yesterday, around 6 pm) -- When I went to check on the moms and 7 chicks again, I saw a SQUIRREL inside their little house! No matter what we did, the squirrel wouldn't come out. So even though it was still Day 21, we thought it better to move the two broods rather than have the **** squirrel harm them at night. So we gently put a little crate over them to ensure darkness, and I moved each nest box + brood into our newly built predator-proof "nursery." Betsy handled the move without a hitch.

    Clementine, on the other hand, had a meltdown. [​IMG]When my dad started to remove the crate that we placed over her, he accidentally didn't raise it high enough, causing it to catch on her head a bit. This totally set Clem off, and panic ensued. She squawked and got up off her eggs and 2 babies, leaping over to Betsy's nest!!! She kept jumping between the two nests and clucking loudly. In all the chaos, I was able to catch a very quick glimpse of her 4 remaining eggs -- 1 appeared to be zipping! And the other 3 haven't zipped yet. Anyway, after about probably 60 - 90 SECONDS tops , Clem settled back down on her eggs and calmed down. Everyone appeared to be happy once again, so I bid them good night.

    Day 22 (TODAY) -- Still no sign of any new chicks so far as of 8:30 am :( We were placing the finishing touches on the new "nursery" addition when a piece of wood dropped near the nest, making a loud sound. Of course, Clementine had to freak out again [​IMG] This time around she jumped into Betsy's nest again, and I took another rapid glance at what was underneath her. The Legbar egg I noticed zipping last night looks to be .. still zipping. Is this normal? Or is it taking too long to break out of the shell? But worse than that, Clem POOPED in the nest with her two babies and unhatched eggs! ARGH! She immediately hopped back on the nest again though.

    So... here are my questions:
    1) Why is Betsy's hatch going by quicker than Clem's? Since Betsy has already hatched out 5 with only 1 more egg to go, and Clem's only at 2 chicks and 4 unhatched, do you think this could be due to that first day when Clem abandoned the eggs? Or perhaps it's because this is Clem's first rodeo. Should I be worried that Clem's seems to be taking longer? Both mamas are still softly clucking at the eggs and I notice Clem turning her remaining eggs still. I'm hoping they're alive...
    2) In general, what is the time span between the first egg hatching and the last? Could some just be late bloomers?
    3) On that note, I've noticed that the majority of the eggs that have hatched are mainly Marans (those were the freshest ones the lady gave me too). The ones I'm waiting on are mostly Legbars and Olive Eggers (eggs were only 3 days old but still not as fresh as those Marans). Could the time difference be due to the breed type or freshness of eggs when I first bought them?
    4) I'm deathly afraid that I might have harmed the unhatched eggs when I had to move everyone away from the squirrel last night. Especially after Clementine threw a fit and jumped off the nest for about 90 seconds. Will these eggs still be viable?
    5) Should I clean the poop or not?!?! I really want to clean it up and replace the bedding but with the 2 brief meltdowns she's already had, I'm so scared of a third.

    Sorry for all the questions - guess I'm just a nervous first-timer here! And thanks in advance for any guidance. I really appreciate it. :)

  2. Erka97

    Erka97 Chirping

    Mar 30, 2017
    The eggs should still be just fine, 90 seconds is nothing to them by the time they're ready to hatch. As for the slower hatch, it could be the cooling from your hen not being on the nest for a while, or her being less experienced, or simply some chicks take longer than others.
    If I have more than one or two out I candle the other eggs. If there's a pip or I see a beak they're put back in to wait, no beak and I open the top of the egg to check for life signs, get rid of the dead, and free those that are malpositioned.
    The zip egg probably needs help, as once they begin zipping they should be out in an hour or so -most of the time spent hatching is waiting for the yolk to absorb.
    I'm not sure about chicken breeds, but some could be infertile or dead.
  3. AllynTal

    AllynTal Songster

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I have nothing to add to the previous post, but I will say that moving the food and water closer to the nest encourages the hen to poop in the nest. Because she doesn't have to be off the nest very long to eat and drink, she's right back on the nest. If she has to travel to where the feeder and waterer usually are, she has a chance to poop along the way. The extra time she is off the nest does not affect the eggs, since the mass of the egg prevents rapid temperature changes.

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