In a pickle...what to do?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by shannybell, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. shannybell

    shannybell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had promised my children that we would try to hatch a few eggs this spring. So when our little buff Cochin went broody, we chose some eggs laid by our mixed flock, and placed them under her. Early on, she would get off of them to eat and when she we go back, she would go back to the box next to the one with eggs. I would put her back on the eggs and she would happily cover them, but I know there were times when those eggs were not covered for a few hours at a time early on...possibly even all night one (cold) night. Needless to say, I had no hope for any of those eggs.

    About a week later, we set more eggs which we had gathered in our newly purchased little giant incubator. I made a candler to candle these eggs on day 4 at which time I went out to check the eggs under my hen just to see if by chance any of those eggs happen to make it. And I started out with 7. There I am, sitting in my pitch black chicken coop by myself at 10 o'clock at night, pulling eggs out from under Big Red one at a time. With the exception of one being not fertilized, the others had tried to form but had died from lack of warmth I'm sure :(. The very last one I pulled out and sat on the candler ( with all hope gone) had a baby chick in it! I saw veins and a dark spot and movement! I couldn't believe it. [​IMG]

    So now fast forward to today. It is Day 20 for the egg outside under Big Red. And its Day 14 for my eggs in the incubator. They are on a egg turner and I cannot figure out how to remove just one sleeve of the turner easily without having to remove all my eggs and use a screwdriver...ugh. What should I do? I don't feel like the chick outside would be safe with all the other hens out there. I realize that there may be a delay and/or something wrong with the chick because of its rough start. But at the same time, I don't want to leave it out there to be mauled by my other hens on the off chance that its going to be okay.

    I didn't mean to write a book. Any advice would be most appreciated!

    ~Shannon
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years with no assistance or interference from humans. You are dealing with living animals so no one can give you any guarantees, but I leave mine alone and let the broody handle it.
     
  3. shannybell

    shannybell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I completely agree and believe me, I would much rather let hen-mom handle this than me! But my concern is her being out there with other hens. I've seen them tear up a house wren than got trapped in the coop more than once. Another concern are the unseasonable cold temps expected for the next two days and nights here in Alabama. If the egg hatches okay and Big Red leaves it go eat even for 15 minutes, seems like the chick would die. I'm just new at this stuff and I worry!
     
  4. McGobs

    McGobs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had the same issue. One of my silkies went broody, but couldn't get her to sit in the same box. She kept moving around. So to protect her and the eggs, I made a makeshift pen inside the coop and locked her in with food and water. Thats where she stayed till 4 of the 5 eggs hatched. Other than changing the water...I had zero interaction after she went in the mini-pen.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The hen will not leave the chick She will take it with her. Hens have been doing this for thousands of years.

    If your space is tight, yes the risks go up some. As I said, I can't give you any guarantees. But I've killed chicks by interfering with a broody. I quit interfering after that and left it up to her.
     
  6. shannybell

    shannybell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to leave the egg out there and let momma hen take care of it. She's bound to do a better job than me even though she has no access to the internet...lol

    McGobs, that's a great set up, thanks for sharing. I may try to quarantine her off like you did. At this point, I may not have time to get anything together.

    Thanks for both of your help! I'm sure I'll be posting more as the time nears for my incubating eggs to hatch. Now THAT makes me nervous!
     
  7. shannybell

    shannybell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today is hatching day! The little chick has pipped and I can hear chirping!

    I have another question now...we are having unseasonably cold weather for this time of year here in Alabama. The high today is 45 degrees and its very windy. My hubby suggested bringing the chick in to a warm brooder after it hatches. Is there anything wrong with that? We have some two week old chicks in a brooder now and some due to hatch on Easter as well. And if we do move it in, will it be okay by itself or does it need a companion?
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Just leave the chick with the hen. I have had chicks for 3 weeks here, and it was down to 14 last week. It's snowing today. What I might do for a couple of days is to put a screen or cardboard over the nest box opening so that the chick doesn't jump or fall out and get pecked to death. Add a couple of tuna cans with food and water for them. On day 2 I would dip its beak into water and food, and when the hen acts like she wants out take the screen down, and let them be.
     
  9. shannybell

    shannybell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just wanted to update on Big Red and the hatching... I went out to the coop after dark to close them up and check the progress of the hatching. A little black head popped out from under Big Red's wing to say hello! It was super cute and even more super ODD since the egg I knew to be hatching was from a buff laced Polish hen and roo! We were puzzled and tickled about it but not knowing much about chicken genetics, we just moved on. The next morning when I went out to open the coop, I was greeted with the REAL chick that belonged to the egg which I knew was fertile and about to hatch...a cute little high-hatted yellow Polish chick. The mystery (bonus) chick was the extra egg that I had left in the nest with the good one because it was blue and I couldn't see in it very good when I candled it, but I was very doubtful that it was good as none of the others were. What a surprise!

    I let them stay with Big Red for the first couple of days, watched her "teach" them to eat and drink, etc. and have put them in a brooder now. She did a wonderful job with them!

    Thanks for the advice!
     

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