Help....hen is losing focus with two eggs to go!

Courtburr

Chirping
Oct 25, 2018
50
45
56
It's day 23 and two eggs have yet to hatch. Oddly enough, one hatched at 17.5 days and three on day 21. Those chicks are getting boisterous and she's getting side-tracked with them and feel she's wanting to leave the brooder all together. I have a webcam on them that I check frequently and have noticed on several occasions today that one egg has been pushed out the back or she has even gotten up a few times and moved to an entirely different place in the brooder! I'm fretting because the two remaining are tolbunt polish and only one of the 3 eggs I got of them has hatched. I so want these other two to hatch and it's driving me crazy that she won't stay put. I had withheld candling or anything since purchasing the eggs, but today I broke down and did the float test on them in case she knew better and they're no good. The float test revealed both are low floaters, so likely are still be good. I do believe I noticed one move in the water, but didn't want to leave them in the water too long as she did poop in the nest a few days back and while I tried cleaning it out of the box, there was a bit that got on the eggs.

Please help me decide what to do. Do I take the chicks away from her for a few days? Is there risk she'll reject them if these eggs still don't hatch after a few more days and I try giving them back? I'm really at a loss as this is my first broody hen.
 

Courtburr

Chirping
Oct 25, 2018
50
45
56
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sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
122,680
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New Jersey
She is biologically programmed to leave the nest within 36 hours of the chicks hatching so as to assure that they find feed and water. It's too late to take the chicks now - if you do so it is very unlikely that she will set on the eggs. Rig up an incubator/heating device in an attempt to hatch the 2 remaining eggs. Staggered hatches always present problems of this nature.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,702
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Catalonia, Spain
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My Coop
It's day 23 and two eggs have yet to hatch. Oddly enough, one hatched at 17.5 days and three on day 21. Those chicks are getting boisterous and she's getting side-tracked with them and feel she's wanting to leave the brooder all together. I have a webcam on them that I check frequently and have noticed on several occasions today that one egg has been pushed out the back or she has even gotten up a few times and moved to an entirely different place in the brooder! I'm fretting because the two remaining are tolbunt polish and only one of the 3 eggs I got of them has hatched. I so want these other two to hatch and it's driving me crazy that she won't stay put. I had withheld candling or anything since purchasing the eggs, but today I broke down and did the float test on them in case she knew better and they're no good. The float test revealed both are low floaters, so likely are still be good. I do believe I noticed one move in the water, but didn't want to leave them in the water too long as she did poop in the nest a few days back and while I tried cleaning it out of the box, there was a bit that got on the eggs.

Please help me decide what to do. Do I take the chicks away from her for a few days? Is there risk she'll reject them if these eggs still don't hatch after a few more days and I try giving them back? I'm really at a loss as this is my first broody hen.
You really shouldn't take eggs away from a broody hen during the last three days of incubation. Nor should you float test any egg. If you must check an egg for viability then candling is the least intrusive method.
Hens try to avoid staggered hatches. It is in the hens and already hatched chicks interest to leave the nest as quickly as possible. This helps to ensure that all the hatched chiks have an approximately equal chance of competing with each other for resources. A chicks that is hatched say 48 hours after the first is at a major disadvantage.
My view is one should never take chicks away from their mother. If you must interfere then possibly putting the remaining unhatched eggs in an incubator may work.
 

Courtburr

Chirping
Oct 25, 2018
50
45
56
Thank you so much sourland. I'll abandon the idea of taking the chicks then. She will still roll one up under her, but then 15 minutes later get up, take a few steps and lay back down. It's like she wants to sit on them, then has a brain fart and forgets.

I don't have an incubator and not sure how to go about rigging one up. I do have a heating pad, but would be scared about keeping the heat right and then there's the issue of humidity. :(
 

Courtburr

Chirping
Oct 25, 2018
50
45
56
You really shouldn't take eggs away from a broody hen during the last three days of incubation. Nor should you float test any egg. If you must check an egg for viability then candling is the least intrusive method.
Hens try to avoid staggered hatches. It is in the hens and already hatched chicks interest to leave the nest as quickly as possible. This helps to ensure that all the hatched chiks have an approximately equal chance of competing with each other for resources. A chicks that is hatched say 48 hours after the first is at a major disadvantage.
My view is one should never take chicks away from their mother. If you must interfere then possibly putting the remaining unhatched eggs in an incubator may work.

I didn't really take the eggs away....she'd kicked them out behind her and wasn't sitting on them. It doesn't make sense to me to let her leave them lay if there is still a chance they'll hatch.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,702
138,790
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Catalonia, Spain
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I didn't really take the eggs away....she'd kicked them out behind her and wasn't sitting on them. It doesn't make sense to me to let her leave them lay if there is still a chance they'll hatch.
Yes, I can understand this and I realize you didn't take them away as such. My apologies if I didn't make that clear.
It is one of the drawbacks of having a broody hen hatch. When the hen says that's it bar gluing her to the eggs you're stuck with her decision.:D
The point I would make though is it is likely that your broody hen will sit again. If you provide adequate nesting arrangements where she can control her eggs properly the hatch rate is likely to improve.
 

Courtburr

Chirping
Oct 25, 2018
50
45
56
I wish I knew what I could have done differently to provide more adequate nesting arrangements so she could improve her hatch rate....I set up her own private brooding suite so she wouldn't be disrupted by the others with a large 2x3 tray with straw and wood chips. I first moved her out of the main coop with some of our unfertilized eggs to make sure she'd stay, then gave her the fertilized ones the next day. She's been wonderfully diligent, only getting off for a short time once a day to do her business. The evening of day 17 I put a waterer and feeder in the brooder as I had to be out of town over the weekend and had heard peeping earlier in the day. Luckily I did, because it was the next morning when I pulled her up on the camera from 2 hours away, there the first one was. She has not left the brooder since that chick hatched 6.5 days ago, even though it's completely open for her to do so. They have their food, water and space to move about, but get that nature calls at some point. She's done great and I don't fault her for anything. It's just how things go sometimes I guess.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
17,702
138,790
1,582
Catalonia, Spain
My Coop
My Coop
I wish I knew what I could have done differently to provide more adequate nesting arrangements so she could improve her hatch rate....I set up her own private brooding suite so she wouldn't be disrupted by the others with a large 2x3 tray with straw and wood chips. I first moved her out of the main coop with some of our unfertilized eggs to make sure she'd stay, then gave her the fertilized ones the next day. She's been wonderfully diligent, only getting off for a short time once a day to do her business. The evening of day 17 I put a waterer and feeder in the brooder as I had to be out of town over the weekend and had heard peeping earlier in the day. Luckily I did, because it was the next morning when I pulled her up on the camera from 2 hours away, there the first one was. She has not left the brooder since that chick hatched 6.5 days ago, even though it's completely open for her to do so. They have their food, water and space to move about, but get that nature calls at some point. She's done great and I don't fault her for anything. It's just how things go sometimes I guess.
It is quite difficult to emulate a natural nest. One thing one notices in the natural nest the hens build here is that the eggs tend to remain in contact with each other. Varuious tudies suggest that the embryos in the eggs communicate with each other and the mother hen prior to hatching. This helps the hen to regulate hatch timing.
This article may be of interest to you.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...e-make-a-sitting-hens-job-so-difficult.74389/
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,282
2,935
377
Portland OR
Thank you so much sourland. I'll abandon the idea of taking the chicks then. She will still roll one up under her, but then 15 minutes later get up, take a few steps and lay back down. It's like she wants to sit on them, then has a brain fart and forgets.

I don't have an incubator and not sure how to go about rigging one up. I do have a heating pad, but would be scared about keeping the heat right and then there's the issue of humidity. :(

The most important thing you can do is see if the chick is still alive in the egg. The easy way is to candle. If it looks like a bunch of floating goop, it's done. First: smell test. Is there a bad smell? If so, it's bad. Second, can you see any movement? If you tap lightly on the outside of the shell, is there a chirp? Are there any pips on the exterior of the egg
 

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