multiple egg dates?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LittleRooster, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. LittleRooster

    LittleRooster Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 29, 2009
    Georgetown, DE
    Am wondering what my best options are here.

    My hens (bunch of RIRs, one Astrolorp and one Buff Orpington) free range. They all lay in the open barn where they roost at night. Except that one RIR decided to lay in the shed and was broody. I didn't figure it out for a few days (so who knows how old the eggs were) so let her set her eggs, figured if I wasn't going to eat them she might as well keep them. Well, I noticed every now and then I would go in there the Buff would be setting on the eggs. Hmmm, okay.

    Tuesday morning I was about doing my chores and went to check on the broody hen(s) and there was the cheep cheep of a baby. The RIR was all mantled over the baby when I tried to get near and when I checked the eggs the Buff was setting on I got a handful of beak. Okay... So, I put the baby and RIR momma in a brooder box to keep the baby safe. I left the Buff on the nest because she obviously wasn't happy about me messing with her or the eggs. In the afternoon she was still there. I did my evening check of everyone and noticed she was roosting with everyone else in the barn, the nest was left alone in the shed. I am not sure exactly how long they were not being set on. So, I decided to take the eggs and put them in with the RIR momma. She had them all pulled under her the next morning except one.

    So, can they tell when the eggs are alive? (according to what I have here, it doesn't seem always the case). I don't know how long I should let her set the old eggs though and how this will affect the one lone baby? I put two new eggs in last night (Americauna, so I know they are different). Can I continue to put eggs under her? [​IMG]



    Kitty, Little Rooster Croft
  2. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    I would not put any eggs under her, she needs to care for the chick not worry about the eggs that may not even hatch and I would not put the new eggs under her b/c that will cause an uneven hatch if they would hatch which I don’t think they will. I would just get rid of all those eggs and be happy that you got one chick and let the RIR hen raise you a healthy baby, next time when a hen goes broody I would separate her with the eggs from every one else so you don’t have the problem with another hen getting on the nest and laying her eggs which will also cause an uneven hatch
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Your best option is to quit wasting eggs by adding them to her nest.

    Chicken eggs take about 21 days to hatch from the time you start incubation. It can vary a day or two, even under a broody, but about 21 days. It doesn't matter when they are laid. It only matters when incubation starts. A newly hatched chick can easily go three days without food and water, but they start acting hungry and thirsty around the second day. The reason they can go so long without food and water is so Mama can hatch out the later eggs. But once the chicks get hungry and thirsty, Mama abandons the unhatched eggs and takes her living babies to find them food and water. A hen cannot feed and water her living babies and spend 23-1/2 hours a day zonked out on eggs.

    One option is to let Mama hatch as many as she will, then abandon her nest. Another option that might work, but then it night not, is to take the babies away as they dry, raise them in a brooder yourself, and hope Mama stays on the nest to hatch the latecomers.

    Does a hen automatically reject a bad egg? Not in my experience. Some will accidentally get scratched out. I think that's more from her arranging the eggs and turning them than rejecting an egg. Or sometimes from another hen trying to lay in her nest. When that happens, sniff the egg. If it smells bad, throw it away. Carefully! If it does not smell, mark the egg and put it back under her. If she scratches out the same egg again, then you can consider she is rejecting it instead of it just being an accident. But some perfectly good eggs with living chicks in them sometimes get scratched out.

    When a hen goes broody, give her all the eggs you want her to hatch at the same time. Mark them so you know which ones those are. Then check under her at least once a day to remove any other eggs. They are still good to eat if you remove then daily.
  4. LittleRooster

    LittleRooster Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 29, 2009
    Georgetown, DE
    Ah...thanks for the answers...I appreciate it! I will take the advice and remove the eggs and let the one baby be healthy (since I wasn't purposely trying for them anyway).

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