How long to leave eggs under a mama

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by crayon, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. crayon

    crayon Chillin' With My Peeps

    355
    5
    113
    Jun 7, 2011
    Hillman Michigan
    Our hen hatched 5 babies over the weekend- day 20 and 21 of sitting. But she has at least 2-3 still under her and is not moving at all. The babies are not running around crazy yet, she must be keeping them in line. But she is refusing to move at all. I am thinking she may be feeling the eggs wiggling? But, we are on day 23 today. So I am not sure if they are going to do anything.

    She had been sitting on eggs and our coop got attacked by a fox- so she abandoned those eggs- but later that day went back to her sitting spot. Our rooster had been killed that day too- and so I moved her into the garage and gave her 8 eggs that were random. So I don't even know if our rooster was mating with all the hens (19 of them were new to our flock 3 weeks prior)....

    Should I just let her sit on them until the end of the week and then remove them?

    If I remove them will she get up then? She is being a very good mother though and is in a closed spot so she and the babies are safe and don't have anything but the garage to roam around in.
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    126
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    What I have always done is wait the usual two to three days that the hen seems to want to sit even after most of the chicks have hatched. If she's still sitting but her chicks are getting restless and need to get out of the nest to eat (once the nourishment from the absorbed egg yolk runs out, around day three), I remove any remaining unhatched eggs.
    Sometimes I candle the removed eggs to check for any that are just slow hatchers, but haven't yet brought myself to actually crack one open and see a half formed chick.
     
  3. crayon

    crayon Chillin' With My Peeps

    355
    5
    113
    Jun 7, 2011
    Hillman Michigan
    Well she is sitting on the floor (on straw) and has food directly in front of her. The babies have food and water within inches from them and have been in the food bowl eating- she even tips it and pulls food under her for the babies. So cute!

    I will just let her sit there for a while longer. I figure if some hatch at day 20 then some may hatch at day 23... :)

    She is SUCH a fantastic mama! I am super impressed- and she is an Isa Brown (go figure!)
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    126
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    It is heartwarming to see mama hens with their babies. [​IMG]
     
  5. dacdeihl

    dacdeihl Chillin' With My Peeps

    238
    2
    111
    Sep 24, 2009
    NorthEast, In
    I've let my mama sit for up to a week longer. I've candeled eggs that are left after three days and saw movement. Must have been a late lay. I figured when she left the nest one morning to get some food and water a hen layed an egg in her box and that's why is was so late. I've also broke open eggs after candeling with no movment and found a alive chick. It lived a couple of days but I felt bad. It's always a guessing game. Good luck. I think your on the right track.
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,246
    8,064
    666
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    I had a hen hatch out some chicks a few months ago. They started hatching on day 22 only, continuing into day 23, leaving 2 unhatched eggs. On day 24 we wanted to move her to the mom-and-chick pen but the weather was horrible, so we decided to wait until the next day (day 25). In the morning we took her chicks, put them in the box for transporting them and I picked up mom. When I looked into the nest one of the remaining eggs were hatching! I let that chick hatch under the heat lamp and added her to mom and her little brood later. It survived and grew into a beautiful hen called Friday. Short for "our little Friday surprise" Lesson learned: even under ideal circumstances (under a hen), chicks can hatch very late. don't give up to soon!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by