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New Chicks and unhatched eggs - Newbie needs help! - Natural hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jaybanana, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chirping

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under
    We had our first lot of eggs being hatched naturally begin hatching today. They weren't due until tomorrow, possibly even later due to mumma hen spending a few hours one day off the eggs. I was caught unprepared! Turns out chicks can get through the cheap chicken wire! It didn't even occur to me that the holes would be bigger than chicks!
    Anyway, I have a few questions.

    1. Only two chicks have hatched, and 1 chick tried to hatch but died in the membrane. We have 9 eggs still being sat on. How long from the time the first two hatched do I need to wait before I assume all the other eggs wont hatch?

    2. Can I remove the chick in the membrane/half shell? I am worried about the smell, but then someone told me the hen may not go back to the other eggs if I disturb them?

    3. I realised the chicks couldn't get back into the nesting box, so I made dirt ramps for them. Will this suffice? I didn't have any wood or anything else to use!

    4. I have chick starter, and shallow water dishes in the yard. Is there anything else I need?

    5. The mother hen has taken to motherhood really well, but is digging these massive holes in the dirt! Is this just a long overdue massive dirt bath? Or some other kind of weird behaviour? Has anyone seen anything similar?

    Finally and MOST importantly.
    I am out all day tomorrow. Will the chicks be fine with mumma without someone checking on them? Or do I need to organise for someone to check them every now and then? My folks can until midday, but then from midday to 4pm no one will be home.

    Have I missed anything? Anything else I need to be doing to ensure their safety?

  2. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chirping

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under
    Oh, and a snap of the littlies! Mumma hen wouldn't let me get near to them, so this is the best shot I got! I am thinking they are ameraucanas, because I had 6 of those eggs, and 6 frizzles, and they dont look like frizzles?

  3. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    No advice because we have never hatched chicks but they sure are cute!!
  4. satay

    satay oz-e-chick

    Sep 2, 2008
    Esk Qld Australia
    Mumma hen knows what to do. Generally I have found mumma hen will stay on the eggs til she knows no more will hatch. So if she is up and about with the babies and not going rushing back to the nest then that maybe it for the eggs hatching. Your babies could still be frizzle. The won't start to show a frizzle on the wings til they start to get their feathers usually from a week on. With frizzle eggs the general rule is to expect 50% frizzle and 50% non frizzle.
    Were the eggs all put under her on the same day?
    No you should not need anyone to go check on them if you are out as long as you make sure the babies are in a safe spot .
    1 person likes this.
  5. Broody mum has got it all undercontrol. But if she is out with her 2 chicks feeding and running around this means she has given up on the rest of the eggs. Fertile Eggs usually only last half - 1 hours without warmth, so if mum is getting of for over an hour then the egg will have gone cold and died.
    Yes, you are right she is having a massive overdue dust bath. All my broody's have done it. It also shows the chicks how to do it.
    I personally on the day you are out put mum hen and her 2 chicks in a safe cage or shed. In the dry, just so that if any predators do come about they are all safe.
    The one day i went out with no one to check on the girls I lost one of two chicks to a goanna, so the predators know when it's safe to come out.
    Also you may want to watch that your chicks don't try to drink from a container that is any deeper than them selves, other wise they will drown.
    But on the other had, don't under estimate the power of a chick or chicken.
    Hope this helps, Pm me if you need any more Q's answered.
  6. Ashburnham

    Ashburnham Songster

    If the mother is doing a lot of digging, you need to watch out she doesnt
    keep burying the chicks water containers.
  7. jaybanana

    jaybanana Chirping

    Dec 20, 2012
    Down Under

    Thats exactly what she was doing! I put in a few shallow containers in different areas to try and stop this from happening.

    I don't think she has given up on the other eggs yet. She goes out with the chicks, has a feed and a scratch, then goes back to the nest and sits on the eggs. So she is off them for a few short periods a day, but it is still stinking hot and humid here, so I think they would be okay. I'll keep an eye on her, and when she starts spending more time out of the nest than on it, I'll get the rest of the eggs out.

    I am hoping the pen is safe enough. After one chick escaped through the wire yesterday into the main pen I freaked and reinforced everything, but I still panic they might get out. I haven't got anywhere else to put them at the moment!

  8. delisha

    delisha Crowing

    Oct 13, 2012
    Racine, WI -
    My Coop
    The hen knows what she is doing. She is a very good mom if she is returning to the nest and feeding her chicks too. Sounds like you have a handle on reenforcing the pen and keeping them safe. For water for chicks I invert an old cake pan and place a water on top of it. new chicks can hop on top of that really easy. It keeps it clean. You can add marbles too.
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Fertile, developed eggs can survive cooler temperatures for hours. I've had broodies get off their nests for long periods only to hatch their eggs out fine and on time and I've heard of members here who had their incubators unplugged/accidentally turned off for up to 24 hours and their eggs survived and hatched out with no problems. I had a hen get up with her chicks once, leaving some unhatched eggs. She ran around with her chicks all day and returned to the nest in the evening. I left her unhatched eggs in the nest and she went and sat on them again. In the morning I found another chick that hatched out overnight. If left with the choice of sitting and waiting for viable eggs to hatch, or getting up, having a snack, a dust bath and taking care of the chicks that did hatch, hens will often choose the latter.

    Unless you have an incubator you can put the eggs into you have two options:

    1. Do what I did, leave the eggs in her nest for another day or 2 and let nature take it's course, or,
    2. Candle the eggs to see if the chicks are alive and ready to hatch and help them hatch. This will be tricky though. You will need to keep the eggs warm and at a high humidity.
  10. nanaluvsgps

    nanaluvsgps Songster

    Apr 5, 2012
    I had the same problem! haha mum could get in and out of the nest box, but babies couldn't get back in :)

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