How much would you trust a first time broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Bens-Hens, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Bens-Hens

    Bens-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all,

    We are pretty new to chickens, only having them for about a year. We have never had a broody hen, our first hatched pullets are laying and we are entering spring. Today, our RIR Rosie plucked out all her belly feathers and has been spending some time longer in the nest box than usual.

    We suspect she may be giving in to those maternal voices and planning on going broody. It just so happens we are expecting a dozen fertile Coronation Sussex eggs in the mail in a week that we planned to incubate.

    We are considering giving Rosie some eggs if she plans to stick it out.

    My questions are;

    Can we trust a first time mum with some eggs?
    How many (marked fertile) eggs should we give her for her first go?

    Are there other factors we should be considering too? Rosie is in a run with 8 other pullets, no roosters.

    Thanks in advance, we look forward to hearing other's experience.

    Ben and family.

    Rosie, the recently bare bellied RIR!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I've had pullets do just fine and some not get it. Given the choice, I often try to break a first time broody.
    I always like to put a broody in her own quarters. She doesn't really care about the flock much during this time, it prevents volunteer eggs and you can feed/water the broody/chicks differently.
    I prefer a broody to have a grower feed rather than layer since she doesn't need to build egg shells and definitely no layer for chicks.
    Last night I moved a pullet that had been broody for a few weeks to new quarters and this morning I slipped 2 new chicks under her and she adopted them.
    I tried that a month ago with another pullet and she ignored the chick. It hopped out of the nest and died.

    I would put 6 eggs under her a couple days before the new ones come and swap them out with half of the fertile eggs and incubate half. See who does better.
    2 people like this.
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    RIR as first time broody with expensive shipped eggs... hmm.. No I probably wouldn't... I would with hatching eggs from my own flock, or someone local.

    You pay $60 for hatching eggs only to see her not stick it out..
    1 person likes this.
  4. Bens-Hens

    Bens-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, the eggs we are getting is a very good deal from a BYC member, but they do have to be posted.

    I like the idea of slipping her a few test eggs before the real deal goes in to test the waters before the good ones go under.

    She won't notice the extra few days? There is no magical clock telling her how long to sit for? Hahaha

    We do have the incubator, and it will be running anyway as I assume she would not be able to cover a dozen anyway.

    Kind of excited to see nature do it's thing.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    If you have a backup incubator, go for it. :)
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    If she's a LF RIR, she could probably cover a dozen but with an incubator, I would do half and half.
    Having eggs under her will better lock her in. They don't have a calendar and I think they can feel the embryo move and hear the chick peeping so they know it's getting close.
    1 person likes this.
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    She'd definitely be able to cover at least 14 eggs. If my broody silkie x BR can cover and hatch 12, the RIR would not struggle at all.

    My full blooded BR covered 16 eggs.

    12 eggs hatched.
  8. DuckieTam

    DuckieTam Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2012
    Battle Mountain, NV
    I had an EE go broody on me back in late July early August. I figured what the heck and put 6 eggs under her (I have 2 roos) 5 of the 6 incubated, 4 survived hatch. She was hatched July 2012, so this was her first time and the only one that has ever shown signs of broodiness. Also broodiness is uncommon with EEs. She did great and is still protecting the babies at 9 weeks old.
  9. Bens-Hens

    Bens-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Crikey! I had no idea they could get that many under there! Amazing creatures, and a lovely shot of mum and her chicks.

    I am not sure it would be wise to trust her with a dozen purchased eggs though, I would feel better knowing at least some were being incubated, where we have had quite good success in the past.

    I just don't know how trust worthy she could be.

    So perhaps we could give her some non fertile test eggs in the mean time, then slip 5 or 6 under her if she does well and let her ride it out. If she breaks any or changes her mind and leaves, I can scoop them up and add them to the others in the incubator.

    Does that sound like a reasonable plan, providing I have her 'set up' to brood safely?
  10. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    You're plan makes plenty of sense. At least you have a chance of hatching SOMETHING if she messes up.

    That mama pic I posted was a first time mom. I've never had any issues with first time moms other than a RIR who killed all her chicks as they hatched.

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