Hen Starting To Set On Eggs. I Have No Idea What To Do.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LakeHouseChick, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. LakeHouseChick

    LakeHouseChick New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2015
    Hanover, Pa
    Hi, I am new to BYC. Not sure how to use the site/forum yet. Please bare with me. I have always wanted chickens. Last Spring we moved to a nice play where I could finally have them. It has been great. My hens are good layers. I get anywhere from 4 to 6 eggs a day. One of my Buff Orpington hens has taken an interest of setting on the eggs. She's been setting on eggs most of the day for two days now. The pile is getting bigger because all the hens have decided to lay eggs in the one nest only. The one she sets on. There's 8 eggs in the nest now. Yes, I do have a rooster and I would like to have some chicks this spring, I have no Idea what to do as far as using some of the eggs and letting her hatch some chicks out. It has been very cold here. Does the hen have to set constantly for baby chicks to form? She's not broody yet, but I have a feeling it's coming. So many questions. Please help. Thanks.
     
  2. Redneek

    Redneek Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2015
    Alabama
    You need to stop the other chicks from laying eggs in her nest. If it's her first brooding, I would not put more then 10 eggs under her. 8 would be better. You should get 6 from 8.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are a few things you need to know, but after that you have a lot of options.

    First, it is very important all the eggs start at the same time. For your first time especially you don’t want to deal with a staggered hatch if you don’t have to. The eggs will hatch about 21 days after incubation starts. It may be 19 days, maybe 23 days, but 21 days is the target. Normally they all hatch within a couple of days of each other, whether early, late, or on time. So collect all the eggs you want her to hatch and start them at the same time. Store them in an egg carton pointy side down in a relatively cool spot in your house. Find some place that the temperature is relatively stable, not in sunlight and not under an air vent.

    There are a lot of different signs a hen might be broody. The way that convinces me is that she spends two consecutive nights on the nest instead of roosting in her favorite spot. What goes on during the day does not convince me. One night on the nest does not convince me. Two consecutive nights.

    Now you have a decision to make. Are you going to isolate her from the flock or are you going to allow her to hatch with the flock. There is not a right way or a wrong way in this. People do it successfully both ways and have been for thousands of years.

    If you let her hatch with the flock, you need to mark each egg you give her. I use a black Sharpie and make a couple of circles around the egg, one the short way and one the long way so I can tell at a glance which eggs belong. Then every day after the other hens have laid, check under her and remove any eggs that do not belong. As long as you gather them every day like this you can still eat them. You will not see any development in them.

    If you decide to isolate her there are several different ways to go about it, but you need room for a nest, feed, water, and some extra room for her to go poop. It needs to be predator proof too. The broody knows to not poop in her nest but she might poop in the water or feed. You need access to clean it out, plus you need to provide her with fresh water and food anyway. Many people lock off an area in the coop, some move her to a totally separate building, some even move her into their house. Yeah, really!

    When you move her, do so at night with as little light and commotion as you can manage. Lock her in her new condo so she cannot go back to her old nest. Put some sacrificial eggs or fake eggs in her new nest. That’s the biggest risk in doing his, she might not accept the move and break from being broody. Once you are confident she has accepted her new nest, give her the eggs you want her to hatch and remove the sacrificial or fake ones.

    People may add their tricks and ways to do this for you. We all have our own experiences and ways we do things. Good luck!
     
    2 people like this.
  4. LakeHouseChick

    LakeHouseChick New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2015
    Hanover, Pa
    Thank you for all the good information. I appreciate it. I have marked the eggs. One concern I have is the temperature outside. It was 19 degrees here last night. I do have a heat lamp in the coop for the chickens when it is that cold. Will the hen be able to keep the eggs warm enough to hatch a chick this time of year? Do hens normally start setting the month of Feb?
     
  5. LakeHouseChick

    LakeHouseChick New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2015
    Hanover, Pa
    Feeling Hopeful!! If we get just one chick out of the clutch I will be thrilled! [​IMG]
     
  6. Lilorp14

    Lilorp14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 26, 2014
    do not let her sit on them until it starts being a temp of 57-64 regularly. make a broody coop, a small dark coop for one hen such as a dog crate with a sheet over it in your shed, garage or anywere you can lock a door . give her 7 to 9 eggs to sit on or as many as she can sit comfortably on.hoe this helps

    orpluvr
     
  7. Lilorp14

    Lilorp14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 26, 2014
    hope*
     

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