Need to delay hatch date for my broody hen - best way?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by thesweetone, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. thesweetone

    thesweetone In the Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2011
    Guelph, Ontario
    Our hens are about a year old and one is now broody (yea!) She's so sweet in her puffy don't touch me state!

    We're happy to have a broody hen. Our kids need to see how the whole circle works. Plus chicks are adorable.

    However, we have a scheduling problem. 21 days from now we'll be away. Our temporary chicken care provider is sweet, reliable but a self proclaimed "city girl".

    My thought is to take eggs from under her (this is her first full day in the nest box) for the next week or so, then leave 5 or 6 on a date that will push the hatching ETA until we return.

    Thoughts? Insights? Words of wisdom please? Will this work or simply drive her and everyone else bonkers?

    Thanks!
     

  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Its hard to know how determined this girl is to brood. If you take eggs away, she may quit (or not, there's no telling how set she is on setting). If you have a source of non-fertile eggs (like from a pen without a rooster, or maybe store-bought eggs) I'd put some of them under her - have them at least room temperature first, of course! A few golf balls might do the trick, though I have hens that seem to know those funny dimply things aren't eggs. There are china eggs that you can get, too - whatever works best for you. The hen may fuss when you swap for the eggs that you want her to hatch, but after a week, she'd probably be pretty settled in and stick to it.

    Good luck!
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I don't give a hen eggs until she's spent at least two nights in a row on the nest. If she hasn't been on the nest a night, I'd say you have a few days to push things back, and she may not be truely broody yet. I'd leave some marker eggs for her--mark them with a sharpie so you can discard them when you give her the eggs you want her to hatch-- to encourage her to stay on the nest. Meanwhile, be collecting the eggs you want her to hatch, it may take you a few days to get a clutch anyway, depending on how many you have laying. After she stays on the nest 2 nights, I'd say you still have a few days to give her the keeper eggs.


    ps--you do have a plan for the 50% roosters you're going to hatch out, right?
     
  4. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Or 75%, or 90%. I had several hens go broody at one time, and had some eggs ordered for them to hatch. There were delays, and I let them sit on whatever eggs they had just to keep them brooding. By the time the ordered eggs got here, the first eggs were hatching (I removed the chicks to keep the girls in broody mode). Of the 24 mixed breed chicks that I hadn't really wanted in the first place, 21 were roosters. Fortunately for me, all of those hens were determined to be mothers, and they continued to sit and successfully hatched the second set of eggs - and about 75% of those were roosters, too![​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2013
  5. thesweetone

    thesweetone In the Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2011
    Guelph, Ontario
    I'm not certain if she's been on at night though she was in the box the past two nights when I went out to "tuck" them in. Everyone else was on the roost. In the morning she's been there still or again.

    This morning she came out with the rest for breakfast so I cleaned out all but one egg and put today's date on it. I'm planning to do the same for the next few days - take out all but the marked egg - and see how it goes.

    As for those 50% roosters, I'm torn between pawning them off on my friend who has said "I'll take chicks when you have them..." and planning for Christmas dinner. [​IMG]
     

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