HELP - Having some trouble/issues - first broody hen, and my first time... :/

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Cari C, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Cari C

    Cari C Chillin' With My Peeps

    53
    10
    51
    Dec 2, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Hi, I thought it would be nice to let a few eggs hatch and my first clutch had 4 eggs, 2 developed and then I guess died in the shell, turned to liquid, the 2 that had live chicks got destroyed by a ground squirrel, mama wasn't on the eggs often. The same hen is 100% broody now and was on 8 eggs, 1 had pipped, so I was moving her into a coop, and I accidentally broke the shell of the one that had pipped, it just kind of crumbled, membrane intact, so I put it with the others, under the hen... when I went back to check later, the chick was dead. Please go easy on me, I cried over it, it was a mistake and freaked me out. I am keeping tabs on the remaining 7. Tonight I caught mama pecking at one of the eggs and she made a little hole in it. I am completely bummed. 3 of them seem like they have full-sized chicks inside, 2 look roughly 2 weeks along and I can see movement, the last 2 look about 1 week. Why would she peck at one of the shells??? I am crushed. I really want this to progress naturally, but can she be destroying one of her eggs because she is young or because the other one died? Any kind words and/or sage advice will be greatly appreciated. I am feeling like a bad mom...
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    31,589
    24,249
    736
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    If its her first brood, then it may be that she has not yet learned the ropes. Maybe try and again next time she goes broody and see how she does.


    CT
     
  3. Cari C

    Cari C Chillin' With My Peeps

    53
    10
    51
    Dec 2, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    CT - Do you think she is going to ruin all of her eggs on this one? Does a hen then "learn" this bad behaviour and never make a good mother?
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    31,589
    24,249
    736
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I honestly cant say as i have never had a broody do it. If she does it next time, then i would personally not use her to sit on eggs thereafter.

    CT
     
  5. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Chillin' With My Peeps

    790
    150
    146
    Sep 26, 2015
    Portland OR
    Were the 8 eggs all put under her at once or were they added over a period of days/weeks?

    If they were added a couple at a time, it's a "staggered hatch" -- which may cause the broody confusion. She should sit until a chick hatches, then will probably stay on the nest for 1-2 days more, then she must get up to tend the chicks that have hatched which necessitates leaving the maybe still viable eggs that she won't hatch once she's of.

    If they were all added at the same time and she's sat on them all for the same number of days, those lesser developed might be duds.

    When ours hatched, I saw blood on her beak and let me tell ya, I thought she'd gone on a chick murdering spree-- but she just ate the egg shells which of course have some blood. After she got up and led her chicks out for the first time there was only one little part of one shell remaining in the nest, the rest of the hatched shells were eaten. The 3 that never hatched for whatever reason were untouched.

    Thinking happy chick thoughts for you!
     
  6. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

    32,216
    23,645
    751
    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Just curious if some chicks hatched?
     
  7. Cari C

    Cari C Chillin' With My Peeps

    53
    10
    51
    Dec 2, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Shezadandy! Thank you for finding me. Ok, I am a bit nervous and am supposed to be leaving for work. Update on the remaining 7 eggs. The one that Enid (mama) pecked a hole in, is still intact and under her, but something smells a little and I think it might be that. An egg pipped, or do you say that the chick pipped? I saw it yesterday evening, could hear peeping & cheeping, so I put it back under mom, pip hole up and walked away for the night. I am trying to leave them to their own, because of what happened Friday night. This morning I had a very hard time getting mama to move off of the eggs, but she did for a few seconds and the pipped egg is just membrane now and I could still hear the chick, but not as loudly. I don't want to interfere and I have to go to work, but I am so worried about coming home to a dead chick, or whatever is left of it.

    These are all her own eggs, and yes they were staggered. I had not marked them at first, so by the time I realized she had laid more I didn't know what was what; although in hindsight, I could have candled them and known... darn it. I had no idea that she'd only hatch out the first bunch and then need to leave them. There are 2 that look about a week out and then 2 more a week behind those. Does that mean that the 4 will just die off in the shell? This baby stuff is sad. I don't need more chickens, I just wanted to let Enid have some. She's not very personable, but a great layer and she's looking like a good mom.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Cari C

    Cari C Chillin' With My Peeps

    53
    10
    51
    Dec 2, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    Down to the membrane on one... this is nerve wracking! I will have to wait until I get home from work to update again. Thanks for asking!
     
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,762
    1,240
    321
    Dec 25, 2012
    Don't cry but remember that we humans don't know doodley squat about hatching chicks and that shows up when you allow your hen to sit on only 4 eggs, the rest is downhill from there.

    Allow your hens to go broody in a good nest box with a roof that can be TOTALY closed off incase you decide to move her. This box should be resting on the Earth and as a base there should be a chunk of turf inside to provide humidity for the hatching eggs.

    Resist moving your chicks, the brooding hens, or their nest for any reason. Especially resist that urge to involve your self in the birthing of baby chicks. Even at 70 years young I still don't consider myself a qualified chick midwife and IMHO neither should you.

    Everyone wants to "enjoy" free range poultry but the first thing most do is to begin free ranging by trying to help chicks hatch that for what ever reason are to weak to do so themselves. That's a bad start. You may should call it counting your chickens before they hatch.

    Feed a good commercial grade laying pellet, and keep your hens and roosters fit and trimt. Fat roosters don't fertilize very many eggs and fat hens have a difficult time laying any eggs.

    Next (and maybe most importantly) teach yourself how to properly gather, mark, store, and incubate your eggs.

    Handle them (the eggs) genteelly and only once with clean hands both before they go into the incubator,

    Candle at about day #10 and discard all the bad eggs. Then if you wish to move the eggs to a hatcher do so 9 or 10 days later. By all means keep the door shut on your incubator until after 23 days have PASSED. Do this regardless of all the peeping noises you hear coming from inside your incubator or even

    from beneath your brood hen. Live baby chickens IMHO are much prettier than stiff, cold baby, dead, chickens. So don't handle your peeps to death.

    By now your brood hen, nest box and all should be in a natal pen where the hen and her chicks can get acquainted or bond for a few days before they are introduced to the flock.

    Look back at the prior posts and you will be floored by how many previous posts there are about hens that someone thought that a varmint had run off with only for the hen to turn up a little over 3 weeks later with a dozen or so biddies in tow. In fact I seem to remember one in the last few days.

    Finally for only 7 dollars and change you can buy this little book and study it carefully.
    https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/guide_to_better_hatching.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  10. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

    32,216
    23,645
    751
    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    I feel your anxiety! I think I had 10 broodies this season, last one currently on day 9. Good luck, and I hope you'll let us know what you find when you get home!

    I won't argue with you, but I will say that I disagree with almost everything about that post.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by