Hen is Getting Eggs from the Whole Flock--what to do?

SulkyBantam

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Oh dear, I'm sorry.
Do you have an incubator? For next time, the choice of many people is to hatch them in an incubator, and then put them under then hen....
 

DoozyWombat

Songster
The hen will try to look after them but you will want to make sue they can't fall. They may get lost or injured. Make a wooden plank-guard maybe.
So did you candle?

I put a 2x2 across the front, about a half inch off the bottom of the box. It's only a 2-inch barrier with the gap, so I expect chicks will have little difficulty scrambling over it. I could put a second 2x2 1/2" above the first, if a 4-inch barrier would be better. I'm pretty sure the hens won't have any trouble getting into the box with that height. Think that would be better, or will it make it harder for the chicks to get out when the hen is ready to leave the nest with them?
 

DoozyWombat

Songster
Oh dear, I'm sorry.
Do you have an incubator? For next time, the choice of many people is to hatch them in an incubator, and then put them under then hen....

I don't. We seriously considered that, early on, but decided to go with day-old chicks and hope for broody hens. Even if some of them don't make it, we'd rather let the natural processes play through.

People raise chickens for all sorts of reasons, but part of what we want to establish for ourselves is a healthy, sustainable flock. So they forage and free-range, even though we give them layer feed, and we've given them a large area to explore. And we want the flock to reproduce enough to maintain their numbers, even if that means losing a few to the learning process (for the birds and for me!)
 

aart

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I guess I can do it in the coop at night, but I haven't tried that yet. I haven't done that but once or twice, and it seems to disturb the flock a lot
That's why it's good to go into the coop at night regularly so they get used to it.
I wear a dim headlight and do a headcount every night when I lock up....and also when I do exams.

I could put a second 2x2 1/2" above the first, if a 4-inch barrier would be better..... Think that would be better, or will it make it harder for the chicks to get out when the hen is ready to leave the nest with them?
Yes, it would be better.
You can move the chicks out of the nest when hatching is complete.

but part of what we want to establish for ourselves is a healthy, sustainable flock.
But they still need some 'managing'.
 

ariri30

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I put a 2x2 across the front, about a half inch off the bottom of the box. It's only a 2-inch barrier with the gap, so I expect chicks will have little difficulty scrambling over it. I could put a second 2x2 1/2" above the first, if a 4-inch barrier would be better. I'm pretty sure the hens won't have any trouble getting into the box with that height. Think that would be better, or will it make it harder for the chicks to get out when the hen is ready to leave the nest with them?
You can set up something on the floor on a corner. I moved mine when her first chick hatched and as of yesterday she had two I’m not sure if the last one is going to make it because she might leave that egg behind since the first one hatched Friday 😪
 

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bobbi-j

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I put a 2x2 across the front, about a half inch off the bottom of the box. It's only a 2-inch barrier with the gap, so I expect chicks will have little difficulty scrambling over it. I could put a second 2x2 1/2" above the first, if a 4-inch barrier would be better. I'm pretty sure the hens won't have any trouble getting into the box with that height. Think that would be better, or will it make it harder for the chicks to get out when the hen is ready to leave the nest with them?
What I do is wait for 24 hours after the first one hatches (because when the eggs are all set at the same time, usually all the eggs that are going to hatch will do so in that time), then move hen, chicks and any unhatched eggs to a nest on the floor. I never move a nest when the eggs are still in the process of hatching because I don’t want to bother the broody. The chicks stay pretty close to mama the first day or so anyway, and it won’t hurt them to wait a day or so for food and water.

In your case, it might be OK to move hen, chicks and eggs to the floor before then. There is a chance you may not get any chicks, or that the ones who hatch have developed poorly and will be unhealthy. When a hen has a large clutch, she can’t cover them all properly so some may never develop, some may develop with deformities, and some may develop without any problems. You just never know.
 

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