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Need help with babies and broody momma!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jojorose8, Apr 24, 2018.

  1. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

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    I’m new to letting a hen hatch her own chicks. I have a broody hen who I bought 4 fertile eggs for. 1 hatched on day 20 (Sunday) and one hatched on day 21 (Monday). The other two eggs don’t have pips yet. The last time I candled, around day 14, they were still viable. The hen is also sitting on 4 nonfertilized eggs she won’t let me take. So, my questions.

    1) Once the eggs started hatching, my broody stopped leaving the nest for her daily food, drink and poop. Is this normal?
    2) I was worried so I put food and water right near her. Today, she pooped twice in the nesting box so I had to change the pads. Should I have not have fed her to prevent that?
    3) I’m letting her stay with the flock (5 other hens). When I came home today, one of the chicks was laying about 2’ away from the mom out in the coop. I picked it up and it was cold. I thought it was dead, but it started peeping. I put it back under the hen. It kept peeping for a while, but is quiet now. I also noticed what looks like a little cyst on its head. I plugged in my chick heater in the house just incase my hen was rejecting the chick, but it’s been a few hours and the chick is still under her. Any ideas what might have happened? Should I be concerned about the cyst?
    4) My others hens ate 2 eggs today in the nesting boxes. Coincidence?
    5) Can my broody hen tell of eggs are still viable? If not, when should I take the other eggs from her?
    6) When should I expect her to be out of the nest and moving around with the chicks? Will the chicks go far away from her while she’s still sitting?
     
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Crowing

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    Central PA
    1) Once the eggs started hatching, my broody stopped leaving the nest for her daily food, drink and poop. Is this normal?
    Perfectly. WHat she's doing is "lockdown," preserving the humidity for the eggs under her so that they hatch more easily, and preventing the wet new chicks from getting chilled. She's also encouraging them by softly clucking.
    2) I was worried so I put food and water right near her. Today, she pooped twice in the nesting box so I had to change the pads. Should I have not have fed her to prevent that?
    Probably not, no. But hey, no serious harm was done and you'll know for next time.
    3) I’m letting her stay with the flock (5 other hens). When I came home today, one of the chicks was laying about 2’ away from the mom out in the coop. I picked it up and it was cold. I thought it was dead, but it started peeping. I put it back under the hen. It kept peeping for a while, but is quiet now. I also noticed what looks like a little cyst on its head. I plugged in my chick heater in the house just incase my hen was rejecting the chick, but it’s been a few hours and the chick is still under her. Any ideas what might have happened? Should I be concerned about the cyst?
    Without a picture, no idea about the cyst. The chick may have just wandered away, but keep an eye out. I've never experienced it myself, but I have heard that sometimes, the hens will abandon sick ones.
    4) My others hens ate 2 eggs today in the nesting boxes. Coincidence?
    Coincidence, I'm sure. But I would do something about that. Do you know why they're eating them? How's your nutrition situation?
    5) Can my broody hen tell of eggs are still viable? If not, when should I take the other eggs from her?
    Some can, some don't. I had a hen sit for six days for a staggered hatch (I didn't get her separated out soon enough and other hens were laying in her nest) I had a hen leave the nest with her six barely twelve hours after they began to hatch, leaving a viable egg and a partially hatched chick. They were re-united later, but since then, I've kept a careful eye out unless the broody is experienced. Most hens can hear the chicks still peeping in the shell and won't leave.
    6) When should I expect her to be out of the nest and moving around with the chicks? Will the chicks go far away from her while she’s still sitting?
    Not usually until at least a day after everyone's hatched, but it varies hen-to-hen. Many new chicks take a day or so to be strong enough to walk around with her, (I notice this more with standards than with bantams) and usually, she'll wait to be sure everyone makes it. New mothers can get confused, though.
     
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  3. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

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    So, the first chick that hatched will need food and water within 72 hours. If my hen is still sitting on eggs, how should I handle that? What day would you take away the remaining eggs? I tried to take the unfertilized eggs away from her when I changed the nesting pad and she became very upset and started looking for them. I’ve read some people say to wait for day 26 to take away eggs, but my hen and hatched chicks can’t go that long without food and water.

    My hens have eaten eggs before if one got broken, but they’ve never eaten 2 in one day. They have food free choice, always water and probably too many meal worms for treats. They are also almost always free ranging or locked into a 1200 sq ft pen when I’m at work so they have lots of bugs and other yummy chicken findings.

    The cyst looks like a large pimple, but it’s not red. I was wondering if it might have gotten pecked and it was swelling. I checked it over everywhere else and it seemed fine. I’ll try to get a picture.

    This is so stressful! Brooding my own chicks in the house is much easier!! Haha.
     
  4. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Crowing

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    Central PA
    So, the first chick that hatched will need food and water within 72 hours. If my hen is still sitting on eggs, how should I handle that?
    At that point, I supply food and water and just clean anything that needs cleaned.

    What day would you take away the remaining eggs?

    Generally, I candle and just make sure they're infertile before dumping them. Maybe she'll look for them, but chicks are a big distraction.

    My hens have eaten eggs before if one got broken, but they’ve never eaten 2 in one day. They have food free choice, always water and probably too many meal worms for treats. They are also almost always free ranging or locked into a 1200 sq ft pen when I’m at work so they have lots of bugs and other yummy chicken findings.
    Sounds good... are you sure that the eggs didn't just crack when laid? They can do that, if the hen's not absorbing calcium right, and hens are opportunists. (Or you may have a chronic egg-eater, and she's chosen today to start and get worse.)

    The cyst looks like a large pimple, but it’s not red. I was wondering if it might have gotten pecked and it was swelling. I checked it over everywhere else and it seemed fine. I’ll try to get a picture.
    Good luck. Hope it's not serious.

    This is so stressful! Brooding my own chicks in the house is much easier!! Haha.
    You think so? I love broodies. I can't go outside and sleep with them, so I'm not up all night on hatch night, I don't have to clean a brooder twice a week, I don't have to deal with the smell... Broody hens all the way, I tell you.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member 8 Years

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    On the MN prairie.
    I feel the opposite - I think it’s less stressful to let the hen set and raise the chicks. Chickens have been hatching eggs for centuries before people started intervening.

    If the fertile eggs were all put under her at the same time, all that are going to hatch should hatch within 24 hours or so of when the first one hatched.

    You are the human. You are in charge. Put on heavy long sleeves and gloves and get those eggs out from under her so she can take care of the ones that did hatch.
     
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  6. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

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    Alright. I’ll go candle and double check for pips. If nothing, I’ll dispose of the eggs.
     
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  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member 8 Years

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    On the MN prairie.
    If you feel it would be less stressful for the hen, do it after dark with as little light and commotion as possible.
     
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  8. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

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    I just went out with my red light headlamp. The two remaining fertile eggs were not viable. I did the water check and opned them to confirm. She seemed much less stressed out than during the day. So, now she can raise her babies instead of worrying about eggs. Thanks so much for all the help!!!!
     
    sylviethecochin likes this.
  9. jojorose8

    jojorose8 Chirping

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    Alright, I have another problem. One of the chicks had a little bump on its head, like a cyst. It’s also seems unable to hold up its head and can’t seem to get its legs under it. I kept finding it all over the coop. It flails around trying to stand. I went out this afternoon and the cyst had been popped and was just a tiny bit of blood. The chick however was cold and not peeping. I brought it inside, fed some vitamin e, selenium, baby multi vitamins and pedialyte and stuck it under the chick heater. I also put it inside a bowl with some paper towels to prop it up. Have you experienced this before? Any ideas or suggestions?
     

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