Hens went broody while on vacation *UPDATE and NEED MORE ADVICE*

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by silkhope, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. silkhope

    silkhope Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2007
    Pittsboro, NC
    Saturday before last (7/28), one of my silkie hens decided she was ready to stand firm and set. She had four eggs under her when we left for vacation, I didn't even think of marking them at the time. My neighbor took care of the chickens while we were gone.

    I get back yesterday (day 8) and two hens are now setting (the second one decided to steal the first one's nest) and they have 11 eggs between the both of them. My neighbor said she noticed the second one in the nest by Tuesday (7/31).

    I know that the two other girls are just waiting for the setting girls to get up and they go in those boxes and lay their eggs, hence the pileup... One egg had been pecked and had a pretty good size hole so I took it out and opened it. Probably day 7 or 8 for it. So that was probably one of the original eggs the first girl was sitting on.

    This is my first time with broody hens or having eggs hatch at all. I was planning on trying to candle them tonight and see how far along each of them are, hoping that will tell me (?). I have the charts to tell me what to look for. But should I take out the ones that aren't that far along or leave them in there (and of course mark them) for the duration?? Will they continue to sit there for subsequent hatches once the original ones start hatching? I do not have an incubator.


    Thanks,
    Ashley
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2007
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    That is a tough call. I would go ahead and candle just out of curiosity but go ahead and leave them all in there and make sure no new eggs show up. Then to increase the chances of them all making it, choose a hen and give her the advanced eggs and give the other hen the newer eggs. Just let one girl have chicks and let the other one take the late bloomers. Never tried it myself but maybe it would work?
     
  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I had a similar situation and I did exactly as mentioned above. It worked well. One hen hatched 4 eggs and there were 4 others. I removed the first hen and chicks to a secure place and let the second hen sit on the remainder. They took three days to hatch so I took the first one out from under mother 2 and placed it under mother 1, at night. The others hatched fine and mama took care of them just fine once all were hatched.
     
  4. silkhope

    silkhope Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2007
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I got home yesterday and a third hen is now sitting!!! [​IMG] She was showing signs the day before so I thought it might happen. Two hens were in one box and one in another so I just split up a few eggs under each so they'd have their own nest. Sheesh, this is going to be interesting.

    I should start seeing some hatches early next week, I'll see which ones hatch first and the stragglers will get moved to the subsequent hens... I don't know what else to do.

    Cross your fingers the fourth girl doesn't get the fever!!! [​IMG]
    My poor rooster is so lonely in the run.
     
  5. silkhope

    silkhope Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2007
    Pittsboro, NC
    Tomorrow is day 21. I did try to candle them a few days ago to see what I had but had a poor light. I did see one embryo moving but the others I could only see air cells, barely, the light kept fading in and out and the girls were very impatient with me. I have a better LED for tonight and want to see what's going on...

    As I said earlier, there are three girls sitting, BUT - they change nests daily. Every morning I go out and they're on a different nest. I at least want to try and sort out the ones that are further along just in one nest... this could be a nightmare!!

    Any suggestions or tips on what I should be looking for?? The time line is at least three eggs should be on day 21 tomorrow, then there are nine more that were laid subsequently in a weeks time while I was on vacation. EEK!!

    OH and another EEK - the fourth hen has not laid an egg since the third hen went broody. She stands by their nests or on their nests a majority of the time. Is she broody but just doesn't have a nest to sit on and is absorbing the yolks? She acts fine otherwise...

    Thanks!!

    Ashley
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Maybe she has no place to go lay in peace? As the chicks hatch, I would pick the hen who's been sitting the longest and put her with all the chicks till all the eggs hatch. Else, the hens might fight over the few first hatched birds and not finish sitting on the last of the eggs.
     

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