need help with chicks


9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
Pensacola Florida
Hi I am Dave I have a hen that is trying to set, But it seems that the other hens are adding to her eggs. should I mark them and remove the other eggs or let her set all of the eggs? I have my home made bator full (started march 1st ),But am having trouble with the hummidity and temps. I think it is because of the temp swings(10-20 deg) in the barn? I added a coffee can of water with a cotton wick and only got40% This is my first try at getting chicks and I'm going to try both ways.The bator or the hen that is the Question? I raised biddies and was given some hens I don't even know what kind thay are? I have 25 hens and 8 roosters at the farm. Don't know much about chickens. But like to watch em. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
Thanks Dave
The other hens will lay eggs in her nest and that is OK she will set on all of them. Your incubator needs to be in a place with a constant temp and no drafts or you will get the temp swings. If the humidity is low outside the it will be the same in the incubator. I keep mine in a room in our house even though my wife is not to fond of it, but she never goes in there anyhow.
I really think a broody does better in a place by herself, where other hens cannot lay in her nest or bother her.

I do know that many people just leave them with the flock, but I have had some bad experiences with this, so if I intend for a hen to set, I put her in a Safe House!

Another thing that can happen is that she can make a mistake and get on another nest, leaving the eggs she is hatching.

There is a way to move a broody to a new place.

That's a great Idea to move her to a place where she won't be bothered that way she can take care of business. I have had problems of to many hens going broody and all want a nest. Anytime you have the room it's good to put them seperate. It is fun to watch the chicks after they hatch, it seems all the hens want to take care of them
It is not OK for other hens to continue to lay in the nest with a broody unless you remove the eggs each day. Absolutely mark the eggs you want her to hatch and remove the others daily. I suggest you read this thread for some of the reasons why.

Isolate a Broody? Thread

If you want to move her, I suggest reading this thread.

How to move a broody hen

I tried keeping my incubator in my attached garage. The temperature swings were not that great unless I opened the door. Then it could not keep up. I moved it to a spare bedroom and it is doing great.

The secret to getting more humidity is to increase the wet surface area. The volume of water really doesn't matter but the surface area really does. You can put in wet sponges, wet rags, bowls of water, whatever.
I'm trying to point out some of the potential problems if you don't remove the new eggs daily. It is not that these happen each and every time but they do happen and are easy to prevent.

Other hens lay so many eggs in the nest the broody cannot cover them all. Some get pushed out from under her and the developing chick dies when that egg cools off. That egg then gets pushed back under her and another developing egg is pushed out to die.

An egg takes about 21 days to hatch once incubation starts. If other hens lay eggs in the nest after she starts, the later eggs will not have hatched by the time she has to take the chicks that have hatched off the nest to get them food and water.

I've had hens hide a nest and show up with new chicks totally on their own. Sometimes I never did find the nest. But if I knew where a broody was I always marked the eggs I wanted her to hatch, removed the new eggs daily, and never had these problems. Several people on this forum have reported having these problems.

If you have been doing this for 30 years, don't mark your eggs, don't remove the new eggs daily, and never have any of these problems, more power to you. Some others are not as lucky.
The way I handle this. I have found that a hen will set on the nest til all the eggs are hatched when she is broody. I check the nest twice a day, when the eggs hatch I will take the chick and put it in a brooder room with heat lamps and starter. I have also found that you can mix different hatchlings if they are just a few days apart a sometimes longer without any pecking they seem to accept each other as long as they are still young. I collect the eggs twice a day and do not let eggs stay in the nest. I have several nest for the hens and I have not had a problem with to many eggs in one nest. Most of the things I do I have learned by trial and error over a period of time, and the ones that work I keep doing things that don't work is a learning experience. Things that work for me may not work for someone else
I have a little problem marking eggs daily the farm is 35 miles from my home, But the bater is in the barn at the house. I mark the eggs usuall every 2-3 days when I go feed the flock.Thanks for all the info this is great Dave
I had a 60.6 % hatch sucess rate in my home made Bator although I had two with leg or hip problems maybe due to the temp not regulated properly.(wife would not let me keep bator in utility room) Both are living, But seem to be having trouble bringing both feet under their body? one leg tries to go stright back? One chick seems to be getting better at running around now,maybe thay need to exercise some since being boxed up in the egg for 3 weeks? It is its right leg so it does a lot of left turns, So I named him lefty, it is my special needs chick. All are in the Brooder on 30% protein starter for a week but I had to buy 50lbs so I might use it till it is gone I don't think this will hurt them? Any suggestions ?

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