Mama hen stole away with clutch of eggs--newbie here, tips appreciated!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by crazychickenlady55, Jul 11, 2019 at 12:11 PM.

  1. crazychickenlady55

    crazychickenlady55 In the Brooder

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    I've had a small flock of chickens for a few years. About ten days ago, I noticed my favorite hen (Polish) had gone missing. I searched for her, but she had disappeared without a trace--not so much as a feather. I continued to look for her, but didn't hold out much hope-- then this morning I found her in the back corner of the barn, under some old boards with a clutch of eggs! I do have an Easter Egger rooster, so there is a good chance they're fertile.

    I've never had a hen on a clutch of eggs before. Tonight I am thinking of trying to candle them with a flashlight--I'm reading up on that right now. What steps can I take to make sure that the mama is getting good nutrition and that her new babies are well protected? I have a medium-sized portable chicken coop I was thinking that she could maybe set up shop with her littles in if/when they hatch--it is VERY well constructed and has good ventilation. Or is it a better idea to move her in beforehand? I'm worried that would upset her too much, or that she might abandon her clutch...

    I didn't want to upset her too much, but I believe there are approximately ten to twelve eggs--and a couple of them were definitely not hers, I'm thinking she stole a few from one of my Easter Egger hens because two are blue. I'll get a better look tonight. Does anyone have tips or tricks--or pictures of black laced polish x easter eggers? I love the mama to death, she's my favorite hen and very sweet too!

    Thank you in advance!
     
    Shadrach and Raenh like this.
  2. AltonaAcres

    AltonaAcres Songster

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    I would just leave her be. I wouldn't candle them if I were you, that might upset the hen. I've had two cases (with the same hen) where she went missing and 21 days later came back with healthy chicks!! It required no help from me. Here's the newest batch. After I found the hen with her 13 chicks I decided to put them in a predator-safe chicken run. They are happy and as healthy as could be! IMG_0675.JPG
     
  3. NorthernMIFlock

    NorthernMIFlock Songster

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    I second the hands off approach. We attempted candling our broody's eggs last month and not only could I not see much, she tried pecking my son's hand as he replaced them and pecked a hole in one of the eggs. It sadly had a tiny chick inside :(. She knows what she's doing, and any dud eggs you can dispose of once she hatches and leaves the nest. Good luck!!
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    If she is happy and hiding I'd just bring starter feed and water close to her so she can remain secluded and wait till she brings out babies...
     
    so lucky, Trish1974, Raenh and 5 others like this.
  5. crazychickenlady55

    crazychickenlady55 In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice, guys! I will not interfere with her or her nest and make certain I have starter on hand, as well as water nearby!! I’m curious as to what the littles will look like. When she was off the nest I snuck a quick peek and I think I count 13 eggs.
     
  6. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    Hello crazychickenlady55.
    Welcome to BYC.
    Don't candle the eggs. You can't make them fertile if they are not and mum may well eat the duds.
    I would check to see that she is leaving the nest daily to eat drink and poop.
    If you can see into the nest you will be able to see piles of poop there.
    If she isn't leaving the nest of her own volition I would be tempted to very carefully lift her off the eggs and carry her to a point away from the nest and feed her. Feeding at the nest isn't the best option.
    Most, but not all, hens do get off the eggs once a day.
    EDIT. I can see above she's leaving the nest so that's great. Leave her to it.:)
     
  7. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

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    They are adorable.:love
     
  8. crazychickenlady55

    crazychickenlady55 In the Brooder

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    I won’t candle them :) She knows best I’m sure, but that doesn’t mean I won’t worry!! Time to go sit on my hands and get starter feed. She is leaving, but only for perhaps ten minutes at a time. There is water set out six or seven feet away from her nest, as well as food for her. I’ll make certain there’s some for the babies as well. Now I just have to guess the hatch date! I’m thinking perhaps the 22nd or so.
    I second the motion!!
     
  9. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    You're allowed to worry.;)
    You're allowed to do what I do and sit outside listening for breaking egg shell.
    Your allowed to give her treats as long as she left the nest.
    I give vitamin supplements in the water for the last few days. You're allowed to do that as well.;)
    She does know best, better than all the incubator addicted, candling, wannabe chicken, mums.
    I hope everything goes well for you and her.
    I'm worrying too. I've got a couple sitting. I've been worrying for eight years.:p:lol::lol:
     
  10. NorthernMIFlock

    NorthernMIFlock Songster

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    Yup, definitely the longest 21 days of your life ;)
     
    crazychickenlady55 likes this.

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