Need help with first broody hens! We want chicks!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicky Joy, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Chicky Joy

    Chicky Joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two of our young hens appear to be going broody. We're excited at the possiblity of having our own hens hatch out some babies. I'm sure the hens know more than we do but I have a few questions. The hens were in boxes without much bedding so we added bedding. The one hen seemed to get frustrated with us and was allowing the other chickens to chase her from box to box. I'm not sure if she settled in the same box after we left or not. She's been in the box for a little over two days now. The first day we took the eggs away not knowing she was sitting there for that reason. We left a few eggs in the box for her last night. I wanted to mark the eggs so we would know which ones were left there, just in case they were moved or whatever. Providing she's been sitting on those eggs since last night would I be able to mark them and put them back? Also, I'm not sure if the other hen is actually sitting on eggs or not. If she's not can we just stick some underneath her? What else can we do to make sure the eggs will hatch? We're not interested in incubating eggs at this time, we'd prefer to have them do it naturally for the time being.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    This thread might be good for you to read. It talks about more than just isolating a broody or not.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=213218

    Providing she's been sitting on those eggs since last night would I be able to mark them and put them back?

    You can mark the eggs at any time. The sooner the better. If you do set eggs under different hens, mark them so you can tell which eggs go under which hen. They sometimes steal each others eggs.

    Also, I'm not sure if the other hen is actually sitting on eggs or not. If she's not can we just stick some underneath her? What else can we do to make sure the eggs will hatch?

    You cannot allow the broody hen to dictate to you what you do. If you choose to not isolate the hens from the rest of the flock, you need check under each broody daily to see if any new eggs are there. That's discussed in the link above. If you decide to give the second hen eggs, collect all the eggs you want her to hatch, mark them, and give them to her at one time. You can try slipping them under her at night if you want, or you can throw her off the nest, put the eggs in there, and she will have a pleasant surprise when she gets back to the nest. I would wait at least two nights to see if she stayed on the nest all night each night, maybe on a fake eggs, before I gave her the eggs I wanted her to hatch.

    I don't like to have two hens hatching eggs at the same time. Some people do it and don't have problems. They are living things and you cannot predict what will definitely happen with any one. But some to the bad things that can happen is that one broody might kill the other's chicks as they hatch, the two broodies might fight over the chicks or eggs and the eggs get broken or the chicks injured during the fighting, one broody might hear the other chicks hatch and abandon her eggs to help the other broody raise her chicks or try to take them away, or maybe something else. If you do try it, it may work out great for you or it may end bad. I really don't know.

    Good luck whichever way you decide.
     
  3. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just allowed one of my broodies to hatch some Maran eggs - my first experience with this - and there are a few things I would do differently. I had hoped to let it all happen 'naturally' in the main coop with the other hens, but I had 2 White Cochins trying to sit on the Maran eggs in the same nest, and some got broken. Then, after two weeks, a third hen joined the team - a BA - and since she was clearly dominant, and very determined, she got the nest and the 2 chicks, when they hatched. I SHOULD have moved one of the broody hens into an isolated pen - as Ridgerunner advised - at the beginning of the process. I did end up putting the BA and the 2 chicks into a separate area as soon as they hatched because she was getting pretty stressed by the other hens around, and wouldn't get off the nest at all. As soon as I put her in her new home with the chicks, she visibly relaxed, and started eating, drinking, and pooping. After a few days, I could let her and the chicks out into the run - with me there to supervise - and the other hens really didn't seem to bother them at all, or even to be that interested, though the mama was ready to attack any of them that came within some well-defined distance of her chicks. I'm going to keep them in a separate area for a few weeks, I think, until they are a little more able to fend for themselves, but playing it by ear...
     

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