My girls are on 7 eggs- many questions & need many answers!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by citychickers, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. citychickers

    citychickers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Littleton Colorado
    We have 2 sweet leghorn bantams that are sharing a nest right now with 7 eggs that we put under them. We 3 weeks ago realized that one of our "hens" was really a "roo" and he's been "playing with" ( as I describe it to my kids) his little red frizzle cochin bantam hen. He is such a small thing, that he never is with any of our other hens. He understands his limits and doesn't bother them at all. Our leghorn banties and our Light Brahmas eggs are not fertilized. only the RFCB.

    Here's my questions:
    1. Since I have 2 broodies sharing a nest: will they share the mothering responsibilitys? I now know that we didn't do this the right way AT ALL. They have 7 eggs under them that are spread out for about 10 days. Once the first couple of chicks hatch, will they leave the nest and abandon the other eggs? Will they wait for them all to hatch?

    2. We know that the 7 eggs all have chicks in them. We've candled 3 times and they are all at various stages of development. [​IMG]

    3. Our coop is not huge, but here is my biggest concern. The broodies are on a ledge that we built for them to lay their eggs on....about 2 feet up off the floor. I'm scared to death that the chicks will fall off when they start exploring. Should I try to build something to contain them in the coop, or will that completely freak out the mama's? These girls are the most patient and loving chickens. They allow my daughter and myself in the coop all the time and we pet them while they're on the eggs and we pick them up to check on the eggs......they've never pecked or gotten angry. I don't want to scare them though.

    4. There's no way to keep them seperate from the other hens (3) or the runtie roo either.

    5. 1st chick is due to pip/hatch starting THIS FRIDAY! I'm scared to death. We had an UGLY incubator hatch in Mar 08 and I know I'm leaving this to their little chicken instincts which I know that God gave them. Is it the control freak in me that wants to make this all good? I'll admit the memories of the 3/08 hatch still haunt me. Do I just let the mommies do it all and not worry?

    You BYC people have been such a blessing to me for the past 7 months.[​IMG] I can't even comprehend all the times I've run to my computer and logged in just to hear some other chicken lovers talk. Thanks to you all and your patience with this overly long question session! Kim
     
  2. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Quote:Good Luck with your hatch! I would try to split up the nest though, to get more hatchlings.
     
  3. citychickers

    citychickers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Littleton Colorado
    How would splitting up the nest get more hatchlings? I don't understand. I'm way too new to this!

    By the way... I also forgot to mention that when the 2 mama's DO leave the nest, one of my Light Brahma's pulls mama duty and goes to lay on the nest while they're away. Is that a problem or is it ok? [​IMG]
     
  4. citychickers

    citychickers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Littleton Colorado
    Ok, I think I understand now. You're saying give each mom their "own" eggs to hatch and make 2 nests.
    The only problem with that is......as soon as one gets up or even moves a little bit, the other mom is moving her eggs underneath her. It's kind of a "you're moving? Ok, well I'd better keep those eggs warm for you" They go back and forth all day long. In a loving, sisterly kind of way! [​IMG]
     
  5. sBrickmanHouse

    sBrickmanHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2008
    Well, we've had two recent hatches with a couple of your issues, with mixed success.

    We didn't have two broodies sharing the nest, but we did have kind of a staggered hatch. It was our experience that the broodies stayed on the nest for a couple of days after the first chicks hatched, and then were not interested in the rest of the eggs.

    We don't have an incubator to take the rest of the eggs and hatch them out ourselves, but we did take the rest of the eggs, put them in a plastic bowl lined with a damp towel, and put them under a heat lamp in a box. Amazingly, we had 4 more chicks hatch in the following couple of days just using that method! Hardly scientific, but we'd do it again in a pinch-- can't hurt.

    Our broodies also chose nesting boxes two feet off the floor. We built them a fabulous, secure "maternity wing" off the main coop to nest and hatch the chicks. . . NOTHIN' doing. We tried moving them at one week, at two weeks, at night, during the day, locking them in the maternity wing-- no way, no how. They abandoned the eggs we'd moved with them, and went right back to their old boxes. So as far as moving them to a safer place, we had no luck.

    I should say we had no issues with the other hens or the roo bothering them in the main coop, so we felt no need to separate them for that reason. Matter of fact, the other hens would hop into the box, lay an egg, and keep the others warm while the broody was off stretching her legs, so they were a help, if anything!

    The height of the box is a worry, though. We've got a broody right now sitting on six eggs in a high nesting box, and we're scared to death to move her and get the same disastrous results, so we'll be watching this thread to see if you get any good advice!
     
  6. citychickers

    citychickers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Littleton Colorado
    Bless you! You've answered almost every question that I had. I'm going to leave them alone and let their instincts take over. If they do abandon some eggs, we will definitely try your method, because we don't have an incubator.

    Did you take the 4 chicks that hatched in the bowl and put them in with the moms? Did they accept them?

    Thank you so much! [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. sBrickmanHouse

    sBrickmanHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, we ended up deciding to brood them ourselves, what with the chaos in trying to move the hens to the maternity wing and all that. Plus the hen hopped off the nest and never looked back, so she probably wasn't going to make a particularly good mother at this point anyway.

    We also have been pretty successful with our brooder set-up, and can move the chicks when they're a bit older to the maternity wing, where they're safe and can integrate into the flock gradually. In short, our set up makes it a pretty easy deal to brood them ourselves.

    If our set up wasn't so easy, though, I might have tried introducing them back to the hen-- there are many on this board for whom that's worked very well!
     
  8. meriruka

    meriruka Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 18, 2007
    I'd leave them where they are. Every time we have tried to move broody hens or eggs, they go back to the original spot to sit, even if the eggs are gone. We now just put food & water close to the hens, leave them alone, then take the chicks as they hatch to a brooder in the house.

    We have three hens who "tag-team" hatch, we just let them figure it out. The first hatch was 6 out of 6 and the second 5 out of 6.

    I hope you have a great hatch!
     
  9. citychickers

    citychickers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2008
    Littleton Colorado
    Thanks! I appreciate your advice! [​IMG]
     
  10. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Quote:If they both leave the nest after the first eggs hatch, the leftover eggs will die. If they each have their own nests, they will sit them until the eggs are hatched, or until any chicks are about 1-1&1/2 days old.
    The other hen setting on the eggs should be ok, but are you sure she is not laying in there?
     

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