Hen1 has been on 6 eggs for 15 days. Hen2 just went broody, can I give her 3 of the eggs to sit on t

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by just1echo, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. just1echo

    just1echo Hatching

    Sep 20, 2013
    San Diego
    My old English bantam 'Ranger' (aka Hen1) went broody for the first time on 9/13 (22 days ago). After a week of sitting on golf balls I was able to get fertile eggs from a friend. She has been sitting on 6 since 9/20 (15 days). I have her separated from the rest of the flock in a dog kennel.

    I noticed yesterday that my black copper marans 'Patina' (aka Hen2) went broody sitting on the whole flocks eggs. I just went and looked today and she is busy sitting in the nest box on nothing. This is her first time being broody too.

    My question is, given that the eggs are due to hatch in approximately 7 days, can I take half the eggs from Ranger and give them to Patina to sit on.

    My concerns are
    1. Ranger will be disrupted by having half her eggs taken and possibly abandon the remaining eggs.
    2. Sitting on the eggs for only 7 days will mess with Patina's hormonal broody cycle since it is much shorter than would be natural.
    3. Can I set up an area for the two broodies to be together, each in her own nest of course, or do they each need a separate area?

    Can anyone tell me if this is an okay plan? Has anyone done this before?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. davemonkey

    davemonkey Songster

    Nov 25, 2012
    Liberty, TX
    I have little experience...VERY little. But, from what I've read, you CAN put some of the eggs under the new broody. She won't know (timewise) that the chicks are early when they hatch. The risk you run is that since she (the new one) just now started showing broodiness, she might not be "really" broody and abandon the eggs. HOWEVER, all you'd have to do then is put them back under the original.

    If you think the first hen may notice some eggs missing, giver her golf-balls or plastic eggs...an equal number to the ones you remove.
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    I have done it before with my bantams. It's perfectly safe to give her some of the eggs, but I have one big warning. MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE that Patina is broody before you give her the eggs. Ridgerunner (one of the moderators here) gave me advice that holds VERY true. The hen must spend TWO consecutive nights on the nest, and not roosting up high with the others, in order to be considered broody. At that point, it is safe to give her some of the eggs.

    But while chickens are smart birds, they can't count. Ranger will have no idea that some of her eggs are missing.

    The short time-line won't really mess with Patina's cycle at all. I had one broody abandon her eggs after just three days because my other two hens had eggs due, and she jumped up and helped take care of THOSE babies, as though they were her own.

    Which leads me to #3. You can put them together as long as the eggs are due at the same time. Obviously, if they are due at different times, you run the risk of one or the other abandoning the eggs that are still due. But when due at the same time, they'll take care of them together. And the baby chicks will actually kinda forget who is their own mommy, so don't be surprised when they switch nests on you as well!
  4. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Crowing

    Feb 12, 2013
    Eastern WA
    one thing that is nice about this is atleast one mom can be on a nest as the chicks hatch. if the mom wanted to take the babies out to feed, the other eggs would go cold. this way some one is still sitting. best to separate the new mom from the sitting hen because if she sees a hen walking around with chicks she might think they are hers.

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