need advice- first timer hatching questions.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by pouletdile, May 13, 2011.

  1. pouletdile

    pouletdile Out Of The Brooder

    May 27, 2010
    So I have 3 hens sitting on eggs and I think they've been on them maybe a week to a week and a half. Our hens are free range and haven't been laying in the boxes so I had not been in the coop for awhile. I checked late last night to see if they were still on them or roosting and they were on the eggs. My questions are: Should I move them or can I just let them be (however, the 3 of them are in the top nesting boxes- a good 3 or4ft off the ground), if I do move them I read to do it in the night? do I just reach under the hen move the eggs and then move the hen? and while I'm moving them should I candle them? should I take the chicks away when they hatch and do with them as one would do when they get chicks in the mail (heat lamp, etc)? I need help- never done this before! If they hatch it should be an interesting mix as we have australorps, buffs, araucanas, white rocks, 2 top hats, 1 maran and our roo is a maran too! Can't wait to see what we end up with. Any help would be great. Thanks.
  2. Inkheart

    Inkheart Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2010
    Columbus Ohio
    the less you mess with them the better - the hen will do all the work here . The hens - well good ones will kick out eggs if they unfertile or bad - but i wouldnt worry about it . My nest boxes - some are up high and the hens sit up there. Once they are hatched i wait almost a day them move the whole family down to the ground . I would let good ole mother nature take care here
  3. ScissorChick

    ScissorChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2010
    Under Your bed
    Welcome to BackYard Chickens! [​IMG]
    It's up to you, wether you want to move them or not. If you think they are safe where they are - leave them.
    If not, and if you would prefer to move the broodies into an erea where you can keep an eye on them, move

    them at night to reduce stress on both you and the hen. If you want to candle - go for it. Provide the hens with

    fresh food and water, be sure she's getting off the nest daily to use the bathroom, and be sure others are not
    picking on the setting hens. I would leave the babies with mommy once they hatch, but you DO need to seperate

    mom and chicks away from the other chickens, as the other adult chickens could severely injure the chicks.

    Happy Hatching! [​IMG]
  4. harley96cube

    harley96cube Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2010
    How do hens know which eggs are unfertile or bad?
    I found 1 egg on the floor of the coop. Normally we pick eggs daily, and they are always in the nest boxes
    Since I have not been picking to let them hatch, maybe the egg I found on the floor was discarded!?
    I picked it up and placed it in one of the nest boxes.
    Should I just leave an egg that hits the floor and not mess with it? (I have 3" + of pine shavings, so soft landing).
  5. ScissorChick

    ScissorChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2010
    Under Your bed
    Quote:If a broody hen purposely pushed the egg out of her nest, somthing is wrong with it.

    Not to long ago a BYC-er found an egg that was pushed out by the hen. The BYC-er wondered what
    was wrong with it and proceded to do an 'eggtopsy'. As soon as the egg was cracked it exploded

    all over the place. [​IMG] Trust your hens with these things!
  6. pouletdile

    pouletdile Out Of The Brooder

    May 27, 2010
    I think I'll just let them be. However, how do I make sure she's getting off to eat and poo? They do have water & feed in the coop with them. AND if all three hens hatch chicks after I move them to a safe area can all 3 hens be in it with the chicks or do I do an area for each hen?
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I suggest you look through this thread. Whether you decide to move them or not, it has some good ideas. If you leave them, please pay attention to the mark the eggs and check under the hen part. That could avoid problems.

    I have seen a broody hen safely get chicks down from a 10' high hay loft. She said jump and they did. I would not expect a broody to have any real problems getting chicks down from a nest 3 or 4 feet high, but dealing with living animals, there is always a risk. It is also possible that a broody will fight you if you try to move them down and injure a chick that way. It is also possible if you move the hen before she is ready, that you leave behind good eggs that are late in hatching. I let the hen decide when she wants to come off the nest, but go whichever way you choose to go. I don't think there is one correct answer for this. I'm certainly not criticizing anybody whichever way they decide on this issue.

    I let the broody raise the chicks with the flock. That way Mama takes care of the integration issues. She does not take care of pecking order issues for them since those are not in play until they mature enough to handle them by themselves and they have long since been weaned. I personally worry more about integration than pecking order issues, but there are risks with both.

    Your having three broodies may complicate things. It is very possible that things will go well and you will not see any problems with that. Many people have several broodies together and never see problems. I'll mention a few things that might happen so you can be aware of the possibility and maybe help you decide which way to go. There is no guarantee that you will have any of these problems, but there is a possibility.

    Sometimes a broody decides to take the eggs or especially chicks away from another broody. They fight over it. Chicks or eggs may get hurt in these fights. It is also possible that the broodies will work together as a team in raising the chicks.

    Sometimes a broody (or even just another hen that is not broody) will kill chicks that hatch under a different broody. Some hens are better at protecting their chicks than others.

    If the eggs are on a different schedule under the different broodies, a couple of problems can occur. Broodies will sometimes steal eggs from each other. Chickens can move eggs. I've had a hen move an egg from the floor to a nest about 18" high. I don't know how she did it, but that egg was in the ground in a tractor and was dirty. Later, that egg on the ground was gone and an egg with the same dirt marks was in the nest. That's why, if you have more than one broody, you need to mark the eggs differently so you know which eggs go with which broody. Otherwise, that egg can hatch early and the broody abandons perfectly good eggs in her nest.

    Sometimes, when a broody hears other chicks hatching, she abandons her nest and goes to take care of the hatching chicks. Her good eggs are abandoned. Sometimes in these cases, the hens fight and sometimes they cooperate.

    You asked if you need an area for each hen and her chicks. You can certainly do that or you can leave them together and see if they cooperate and work together. Maybe they'll take care of their own chicks and leave the others alone. If they are about the same age, yolu may be able to give all the chicks to one hen and break the others from being broody. You do not have to separate them from the rest of your flock. I don't. You have different options. I cannot tel you which is right for you.

    I'll say it again to try to keep you from panicking. Many people have broodies together and never see any of these problems. But you are dealing with living animals and many different things can happen. This is not meant to scare you but to advise what might happen so you can be prepared, recognize it, and deal with it if it is a problem.

    Good luck!

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