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Help for a newbie, please...how long is too long???

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mudhen, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    Hello all,
    I've had three pet hens of various breeds, all adopted from an animal shelter over three years ago.
    One ("Silkie") died a year later, a second ("Legs") died last Fall from a predator attack, and the only one I have left is "Millie".
    Off and on the past three years, Millie has given us an egg a day. She had stopped laying after Legs died, but early in December she began to lay again.
    Because I wanted more chickens, a friend suggested having Millie hatch some fertile eggs. I have been told that introducing new chickens to my coop would kill either my chicken or the new ones, and that this would be the only way to bring Millie company and me more future egg layers.
    I was given three eggs by a friend of a friend who has a farm on December 14th. Millie didn't sit on them regularly at first, only at night time. I didn't know anything about 'brooding' at the time, and still don't know much, but from about a week or so later, Millie has not left the nest other than to attend to her business.
    If I've done the math right, the eggs, if they were going to hatch, should have hatched by this past weekend.
    What should I do? Can a hen 'brood' too long and could this cause her problems? She seems alert and healthy, lets me pet her and lets me check the eggs. But I'm worried for her.
    Should I remove the eggs? Would it be OK to get some more and 'replace' them?
    Thanking you in advance for any advice you can give me...
    Denise
     
  2. jenlynn4

    jenlynn4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2007
    PA
    Have you ever tried to candle the eggs? that would tell you if they are growing and still alive. A mini Mag flashlight works really well. Just adjust the beam to the finest setting and go out when its fairly dark (the darker the better) and put the flashlight up against the eggs one at a time. if its developing it should look like this:

    [​IMG]

    or if they are farther along it will look all dark with a little light spot on the bigger end of the egg. If there not growing they will look "clear" or all light with no dark blob in them.

    I hope that helps. Eggs usually take 21 days to hatch after the hen starts to sit on them faithfully. Give or take a few days. I hope they hatch for you!
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Here is a very good site (we love 4-H!!!) with some good articles which I hope will help you...what jen said about the 21 days once she has started REALLY sitting on them (and not just at night) ... if they do not hatch out (be patient) and the bird is still broody I do not see why you could not put new eggs under her ... broody is hard on your bird so look at your feed store for a good vitamin supplement and ensure she has drink and feed close by.
    http://www.ext.vt.edu/resources/4h/virtualfarm/poultry/poultry_incubation.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007
  4. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    I have been told that introducing new chickens to my coop would kill either my chicken or the new ones

    You can introduce new adult hens but be prepared to be patient, and expect some pecking. The best way to do it is to put the new bird in a cage and put the cage inside your hen house. That way the new bird and your hen can get up close and personal without actually hurting each other. Keep them this way for a good week or so. This also gives the new hen a chance to think of the coop as "home". Then, one night , put her on the roost next to your other hen in the dark. They wont fight in the dark but be prepared for some sparring in the morning. One of the hens will become dominant, this is normal behavior for chickens. Only interfere if one hen is really being injured. Other wise they should settle down in a day or so. You should also watch to make sure that one hen isnt being kept away from the food and water or put extra bowls in, just in case.
    You can introduce several birds at the same time this way. They will establish a pecking order and settle down to laying in no time.


    I always quarantine new birds for at least 2 weeks before introducing them, but if I only had one chicken, I would probably reduce that to just a few days to watch for illness and check them for lice and mites.

    chel​
     
  5. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Shepherdstown, WV
    Thank you all so much!
    I've been enjoying your site and learning so much!
    You've made me feel more confident, so much so, Millie is now sitting on three more 'unknown' fertile eggs from a local farmer, and also some American Dominique eggs.
    She seems happy and I've taken a picture to show her off:
    [​IMG]
    I hope I did this right....
     
  6. Wes in Tx

    Wes in Tx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Texas
    As stated 21 days is the norm but I have seen several times it take upwards of 30+ days because of the outside temps. I wouldn't give up until day 30 or so has passed.
     
  7. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bristol, England
    You could introduce new birds. I have been in your situation three times (twice with the same hen [​IMG] ), and I have never had a problem introducing one-on-one.

    If she had been sitting on them overnight, they probably started developing overnight, and then died during the day.
     
  8. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Eeeeuuuu....I hope not.[​IMG]
    I'm going to be optimistic and wait another few days like Wes in Tx suggested.

    I candled the three eggs yesterday as jenlynn4 described and one was like 2/3 dark, with a straight line (did not 'float' or move when turned), another was clearish (probably should toss this one, no?), and the third had a darkish blob that turned with the egg (toss this one too?).

    Also, I candled the new ones (American Dominiques) that I put under Millie as well, and could make out a very slight darkish area I'm guessing is the yolk. How soon should I check these out again to see if there is any progress?
     
  9. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    I candled the eggs again today. The three RIR eggs from 12/14:
    one was just a partial liquid blob [​IMG] and the other two looked like 2/3 of the egg was dark with an angled straight line dividing the clear (air) pocket on the large end of the egg, pretty much the same way it looked last week.
    I's the 30-day mark now. I should toss these out, no?
     
  10. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bristol, England
    They're only meant to take 21 days to hatch - never, ever, as long as 30 days. Especially given that the form inside the egg hasn't changed in a week, I'd say they were addled, so toss them out and start again.
     

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