i think my broody killed the first one to hatch.... *UPDATE*

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by TurtleChick, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    hi all - i need advice! this is my first time letting my broodies hatch eggs....

    i have 3 broody girls on eggs - all at day 19 now. yesterday afternoon i booted my broodies out for their normal afternoon eat/drink/POOP/dustbath. all was well with the eggs then. sometime between then and now, one of the girls had a chick hatch (or broke the egg???) - i just found a dead chick with her. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] it definitely looked like she'd been pecking at it - it was flattened and it's little tiny skull was crushed, as well as a few other obvious peck marks on it. the whole egg shell is missing so she must've eaten it... only thing left was what i'm assuming was the membrane??? and the chick.

    i'm at a loss... this hen is the whole reason i got the eggs in the first place - she's been broody for something like 3 months now. i couldn't seem to break her, so i finally relented and got them some eggs to sit on. i don't know if i should take the eggs away (none are pipped for now, i checked them all) and give them to one of the other girls??? i have 8 eggs left, and i am fairly sure one is a dud but not positive so i've left it. right now she has 4 of those as i've wanted to ensure she, of all my girls, has a successful hatch so that she will QUIT being broody!!! is she likely to continue to kill them as they hatch or is it common for this to happen to a first time mama??? if your advice it to take the eggs from her, i am at a complete loss as to what to do with her in terms of her broodiness!

    as far as the other girls: one has been broody since just before i set the eggs, and she's got the other 4 of the eggs because she is more prompt about returning to the nest. the third girl is my flightiest and is currently sitting on 2 eggs that are just infertile ones that my girls laid - she was a little more wishy-washy about going back to her "new" nest after i moved them to their broody coops so i was waiting to make sure she was going to stick tight before i gave her back any fertile eggs. i've been worried that with 8 (maybe) good eggs that i wouldn't have a successful enough hatch for all of my girls, and have been hunting around trying to find some day old chicks to slip under at least one of them to ensure at least a few chicks for each of my girls....

    i'm so bummed... i know it's just life but seeing the dead little one was so disheartening.

    i don't know what to do......

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  2. TurkeyMountainChickens

    TurkeyMountainChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Central Virginia
    I'm so sorry! That's hard, especially for your first hatch with broodies! [​IMG]

    I have had broodies break eggs before, but usually not so late. If one does break, they will eat the evidence. It's a natural instinct to keep predators at bay.

    If your baby hatched early, it may not have been strong enough, and may have died on its own. Or.... so many things.

    Just don't blame yourself, and don't rush to judge the broody. DO try to keep an eye on her though. Check in as often as you can and watch to make sure she doesn't peck at new ones that hatch.
     
  3. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    no pips or anything from the other eggs... sigh. i try so hard not to be a stress-case, it detracts from the usual joy my chickens bring, you know? stuff like this is just hard for me... and now hard for dh too - i'll be home all day tomorrow to hover and check on them but i have to work thurs and fri afternoons for awhile, so he gets to be chick-checker. it's good to be loved. [​IMG]

    wish us luck, for now i've left 2 of the eggs with her... now i'm completely torn - i found a feed store that will have some ee'rs up for grabs on friday. i can't decide if i should grab a few or not - the way my life is going, the girls wil hate the interlopers! ARGH.
     
  4. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    [​IMG] Hey, I had exactly the same situation with a broody welsummer this month. I went out to check on her the day before the chicks were due to hatch, and there was a dead chick with part of its head eaten! [​IMG] No sign of the shell, just the dead chick. The rest of the eggs were sitting tight, and I worried about the mama because I've had a hen who killed all her chicks before.

    The rest of the babies hatched perfectly fine and healthy, and she was very protective of them. I think the dead chick must have had its egg broken, and she got curious and started picking at it, and didn't stop picking when she got to the chick. After that, her mothering instincts kicked in and she did fine. [​IMG]

    The bad broody that I had in the past was a minorca, and they are not supposed to go broody. I assume she just didn't have the right instincts to go with it since the broody had been "bred out" of Minorcas. If she goes broody again, I will sure not let her have eggs. [​IMG]

    What type is your mama hen who had the problem?
     
  5. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    my broody girl is a black orpington. she should be a wicked-good mama..... grrrrrr!

    last night just before bed when i checked on the ladies before locking everything up i discovered two things: a mouse in her broody coop (it went running away when i went out there - the coop is an old rabbit hutch made from 1" hardware wire - time to cover the door with 1/2" hardware wire today) so that makes me wonder if that's why she's attacking anything that moves, AND another egg that had a small break in the shell - i thought i was a pip but now i know it was just a break.... i left it alone overnight to see what would happen, but when i went out there this morning, i found it with half the eggshell still intact, membrane still intact except for one small tear near the pointy end (where the "pip" was too) and chick moving weakly but mostly shrinkwrapped in the dried out membrane.

    neat, huh? sigh.

    so i brought it in, and started to follow the instructions for intervening (i can't sit by and watch - i agree with nature taking it's course in PRINCIPLE but i have a hard time in practice.... i could never be a nature photographer/videographer, i'm such a wimp). but during my gentle and slow moistening of the membrane, working under my heat lamp (moisture under a heat lamp is an interesting trixie thing), it gave up the ghost and stopped moving around. [​IMG] now i wish i'd just left it be. dh said i couldn't have left it the way it was, it was always probably going to die anyway. i just feel so bad. i think that i have found the cure for hatchaholism - if everyone's first experience was like mine is currently, no one would ever do it again. [​IMG]

    please no negative "you should have..." or "you should never have...." - any constructive advice for next time (hah, next time!) is always appreciated, but not criticism for how i have handled things thus far.

    the ONLY redeeming factor to this morning's misadventure is that i think perhaps my dumb broody has broken these two eggs by accident and not killed a hatching peep on purpose.

    now i'm down to 6 eggs for 3 broodies. not good hatching math. my poor ladies, i feel like a dummyhead bad chicken mama. [​IMG]

    thanks TMC for the support [​IMG] and thanks jossanne for the encouraging story of your wellie (i so very very covet a wellie) who slipped up with her early one too. makes me think it might still turn out okay.
     
  6. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    Sounds like you did everything you could. It's really hard for me to just leave them there and not intervene. I agree with you... I could never be a nature videographer. I'd never let the lions eat.

    You are not a bad chicken mama. You're not doing anything wrong. Your girls are just having hard luck. Do you have them all in the same broody box, or do they have their own individual places to be? I've had problems with eggs breaking when other hens could get in with the broody and all the pushing, shoving and hair pulling that goes on between them.

    I would definitely get a few chicks to slip under them, just because I'm a sucker for chicks, and it would be a good excuse to get more. Everyone says they have the best luck slipping them under at night, but the last time I gave chicks to a broody who only hatched one baby, she would have taken all the chicks I'd have given her. In broad daylight. In my computer room. In a laundry basket. LOL I planned to give her 6 chicks, but I accidentally bought 14 when I went to the feed store to get them...

    Good luck, and I'm [​IMG] for your 6 little eggies and their mamas.
     
  7. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    I don't think I would blame myself or my broody. Where did you get the eggs? These may not be the healthiest chicks and have nothing to do with your broodies.

    The first chick, obviously something was wrong with it. The second chick, was to week to hatch on its own, so there was something wrong with it. Both chicks are hatching early and that doesn't bode well for a healthy chick to make it.

    I'd get the broodies a few babies Friday just in case and hope the other eggs are strong enough to hatch. You could still get 4 chicks.
     
  8. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA
    well, i started with 12 eggs - the horde of broodies and not-broodies managed to break 2 of the eggs early on in the pilings in and out of the nest box, before i moved the broodies to their own individual broody coops. when i first candled at about day 12, i threw out one distinctly clear egg and was pretty sure that i had another dud (with i candled and threw out today). somehow the one broody mama broke those two in the past couple of days... that left me with 6 viable eggs.......

    GUESS WHAT????

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    this morning i have 6 fluffy floppy little peeps all safely tucked away with their mamas! and because i was pretty sure that the two that died got their shells broken on accident, i had crossed my fingers and left 2 eggs with that mama... so my ladies each have two little chicks, including the one who broke the eggs! [​IMG] i'm so glad i gave her a second chance.......

    thanks for the support all!

    and lol jossanne -
    I planned to give her 6 chicks, but I accidentally bought 14 when I went to the feed store to get them...

    i hate when accidents like that happen! [​IMG]
     
  9. TurkeyMountainChickens

    TurkeyMountainChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Central Virginia
    Yay!!! I love a happy, fuzzy, ending! [​IMG]
     
  10. Jarsheart

    Jarsheart Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2010
    Congrats !! It is great to have success when there is so much difficulty (is that a word ?) involved. Six new peepers-YIPPEE !!
     

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