HELP! I did something reeeally stupid!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by frankenchick, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. frankenchick

    frankenchick Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    Benton Twp., Michigan
    It's day 21 (I thought) for my broody hen, but when I went down to the coop, she was standing in the nest box. 1st dumb move: I removed the wire and let her out; I thought maybe she just wanted to poop. She took off, but I wasn't too worried because every time another chicken got near her, she'd spread her wing feathers. After a while, she headed into the tall grass. I candled the eggs with a powerful flashlight and saw that there were chicks in some, but they were really small (maybe a fourth of the egg).

    This led to dumb move 2: I panicked because the eggs were cooling, so I slipped them under another broody. [in my defense: this hen has bailed before and I lost a setting] I thought that I could run up here and check the forum for advice, then move the eggs back if necessary. Of course, my internet wouldn't come up and I had to restart the computer. In the meantime, the 2nd broody hen had collected all the eggs under her. Now she's setting a really large bunch of eggs.

    Q: what to do now? I'm thinking I've meddled enough, but is there something I can do to help the foster mom? I'm rigging up a homemade incubator in case mom 2 decides to call it quits. I don't think she will because she's raised chicks for me before, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.
  2. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Songster

    Jun 16, 2010
    King George, VA
    I think I would leave it be for now, since broody #2 have taken in the eggs. Having the incubator as backup is a fine idea, just in case she bails, as well. While I know that we shouldn't mess with things, I'm not sure I see what you've done so wrong. Maybe opening the fence was bad, but if she was so eager to bail, I can't help but think she probably would not have been sitting consistently for the remainder. Since she was long-gone, trying to get the other broody to take them seems like quick thinking, to me. How long has the other broody been sitting? Might she hatch her own (if earlier) and give up on the newbies???
  3. Larry33843

    Larry33843 In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2010
    Frostproof, FL
    It might go down as lauren said (broody #2's clutch hatching first), or Broody #1's hatching first and her abandoning her own clutch. Either way, the incubator standing by will solve that problem as (or if) it develops.
  4. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

    Jun 10, 2010
    Definitely keep the incubator or set up a brooder depending on what you want to do and how far apart the clutches were.

    If the clutches started on the same day, you are probably ok to leave them.

    If the clutches started incubation on different days, then obviously 1 clutch will hatch first. This means you will have to either remove eggs (prepare the incubator) or remove chicks (prepare the brooder) from the broody until the second group hatches. If you want her to raise the chicks, take the eggs, if you want her to hatch the eggs, remove the chicks. If you leave them all, chances are good she will take the chicks she has and leave (if she can, she will at least probably stop brooding the leftover eggs even if they are good because she has chicks so her instincts will tell her the other eggs will not hatch).

    I would remove the chicks and let her brood the eggs, and return the first chicks at night after the others have hatched.
  5. frankenchick

    frankenchick Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    Benton Twp., Michigan
    Thanks, guys.

    Mom 1 was back on the nest, making that dinosaur noise at anything that came near, so I put her eggs back under her and put up the gate. She settled right in; guess she wanted a mom's time out. I'm down with that -- had one myself today!

    It was pretty easy to figure out because she had all the dark brown eggs, somehow. Mom 2 is one of the hens I hand-raised 3 years ago. She was pretty cool about the whole thing. I do have an incubator ready, though. [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by