Hen Brooding in December

D Rodriguez

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2018
7
2
14
Hi everyone-
My hen is brooding and sitting on eggs in December. One hatched, but unfortunately did not survive. I check the nesting box every day and give the hen fresh food and water. Should I bring the eggs in and put them in an incubator or continue to let her sit on them? I do believe it has been almost 21 days.
 

WVduckchick

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Hi everyone-
My hen is brooding and sitting on eggs in December. One hatched, but unfortunately did not survive. I check the nesting box every day and give the hen fresh food and water. Should I bring the eggs in and put them in an incubator or continue to let her sit on them? I do believe it has been almost 21 days.

Your approximate location would help, but I assume your weather is cold. Much depends on your setup. I have a hen that just hatched chicks, and another on more eggs due to hatch any time now. We get down below freezing, but usually not for extended periods of time. Nights below, days above mostly.

Generally, a hen can handle keeping the chicks warm enough, as long as they are out of any wind or drafts. I do provide a heat plate when it’s super cold, but that’s only for my seramas, because they are so tiny.
 

WVduckchick

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As long as you can keep them out of wind, they really should be fine. I know how hard it is not to worry, but a broody usually knows how to regulate her body to handle it.

Keep food/water close by, and block any places where chicks could get separated from mom.

Is the broody experienced or her first time?
 

WVduckchick

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First timers can be different. Do you know why the one chick died? Was it pecked, or hatch problem, or something? Some first timers don’t really understand what’s going on, so it’s usually advisable to keep an eye on them until you know they have the hang of it.
 

D Rodriguez

In the Brooder
Nov 30, 2018
7
2
14
I don’t know it looked totally healthy- no signs of pecking. Appeared to be pushed out of her clutch. I am thinking a hatch problem in conjunction with the cold? :idunno It was very odd. I’m an going to check early in the morning to make sure everything is on the up-and-up. I candled them and it looks like all are fertile (some further along than others). Is that normal? Sorry I am a first timer.
 

WVduckchick

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Some experienced hens can regulate eggs to get them to hatch close together. But if other hens have had access to the nest, the eggs could be at many varied days of development.
What I usually do is once a hen seems committed to sitting, I wait about a week or so, then check the eggs by candling, and mark (with a sharpie on the fat end for quick easy identification) ones that are developing and seem close developmentally. Remove clears or recently added eggs. And I’ll remove new eggs along the way after that (in my case, I usually have another broody to give them to). Then when hers hatch, they should be close together.

The better way is to take all her eggs at one time, and give her a new set that will all develop at the same time. But when that can’t be done, she will usually decide when the hatch is complete enough for her, and will get off the eggs to tend to new chicks. If she leaves eggs that are developing, you’ll have to decide whether to finish incubation or get rid of them.

If you finish them in an incubator, some hens will still accept them, some won’t. Slipping them under her in the dark usually works best.

Good luck! Keep us posted. :fl
 

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