New to Broody Mommas - Need Advice Urgently Please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by thailand, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. thailand

    thailand Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have my first broody hen, a Brahma girl named Penelope.

    May I ask a question please? She has been sitting on 2 eggs of her own for the last 3 days now. She is currently still laying them on a daily basis. I've simply left her with them figuring this will help her to remember she has a job to do. She is sitting 24/7, only coming off the eggs for maybe 1/2 hour or so a day at this stage.

    We're going away on holiday for 10 days starting next week. I don't think her eggs will be fertile as the rooster in with the 3 hens has been unwell lately. So as suggested by someone else I'm going to candle any eggs she has laid before we go away and see what's fertile and what's not. I've never candled eggs before either so hoping I can get that right! I do have other eggs which I'm fairly sure will be fertile that I can switch with hers.

    Where I'm stuck is - what day do I call 'day 1'??

    Am I doing the right thing in leaving her eggs with her as she lays them?

    Won't this mean that the hatch date will be spread across many days if she's still laying them - or have we not even started 'day 1' until she decides to stop laying?

    Oh - sorry - that was more than one question wasn't it.

    Oh I'm sooo confused. Someone please set me straight. I don't want to go away on holiday now!!
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I wouldn't candle any eggs less than 10 days old. Candle when you get back from holiday. Hens frequently lay eggs until their genetic memory tells them they have "enough" for a clutch, and miracle of miracles, they all usually hatch on the same day. However, mark the eggs - a Sharpie pen will do, just a simple X mark - before you leave, so you know which were the original eggs. That is if you want her to hatch those.... I noticed you said you had other eggs which you were fairly sure were fertile to swap....

    Other hens will often lay eggs in her nest when she's up for her daily "constitutional" break. She could also steal eggs from other hens, too, to increase the size of her clutch. That's another reason you mark eggs you want her to brood - you just remove the un-marked ones and therefore control the size of her clutch. If you want to do so.

    Don't worry about the number of days.... really.... they'll hatch somewhere around 21 - 23 days, or they won't. [​IMG]
  3. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    1. Just because your rooster has been unwell recently doesn't mean her eggs aren't fertile. They can go over a month with out a rooster and still lay fertile eggs.
    2. You can switch eggs and the day you put them under her would be day one.
    3. Once they start sitting 24/7 they usually don't lay any more eggs.

    I had a Black Sex Link that was determined to brood and went through 3 sets of eggs before she finally hatched the last batch. But none of them were hers. She quit laying when she started sitting on the first clutch. I put other hens eggs under her. Hope this helps.
  4. thailand

    thailand Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey thanks so much....I am so appreciative of your replies. I've been worrying like crazy how this is all gonna work out. I have wanted a broody hen for a long time and now just when we're about to go away....!

    So, if I understand correctly - she's laid 2 eggs of her own. Even though she's been sitting on them virtually 24/7 I can still add some of my more likely fertile eggs right? It won't stuff up the hatch dates at this point?

    And - so when would I time 'day 1' as being? This all happened so suddenly. It was only about 4 days ago that I first noticed her staying in the nestbox. If I time it from say 4 days ago (March 4th) then by my figuring hatch date will be anywhere from 24th - 27th March.

    My confusion comes because if I add eggs myself (guess if I'm gonna do that it'd better be sooner rather than later too right?) then does day 1 start from then?

    Sorry if my thinking seems a little muddled. I'm actually pretty sick with the flu at the moment which is not helping me think straight.

    Many many thanks for your patience!!
  5. thailand

    thailand Chillin' With My Peeps

    Today Penelope came off her nest for only 20 minutes. I took the opportunity to add to her small clutch of only 2 eggs. She laid the first egg on 5th and the second on 6th March. No more eggs since then. I added 6 fertile eggs from my other hen. I'm guessing day 1 will be 5th March, the day the first egg was laid that she sat on overnight.

    Poor girl was quite perplexed when she returned to her nest. She couldn't quite figure it out. She was so sure when she left there were only 2 eggs! LOL She paced back and forth checking out the other nest boxes which had no eggs in them, before deciding she must have the right box and just counted wrong!

    I'm so proud of my first time momma! I've just been watching her lift up and turn her eggs over. It's so amazing how she just knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

    One of my other young girls has been watching and taking notes and is now threatening to go broody too! I'll keep you posted.

    On another note - just finished making a sling for my rooster with sore legs and I reckon he's almost smiling!!

    Oh what a day! :)
  6. thailand

    thailand Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well - seems it's contagious! First Penelope, now Josephine. Tonight is the 2nd night Josephine has decided to sleep in the nestbox. She was keen to sit there all this morning too until hen no. 3, Eleanor, booted her out cause she wanted to lay an egg. Spent this morning fencing off 3 separate areas within the main coop. Whew! Now both Penelope and Josephine have separate living quarters, and Eleanor has a new nestbox to call her own. Could it get any crazier around here? [​IMG]
  7. JakRat

    JakRat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    That is super cute! She was probably like "wait a minute!"

    I had another girl consider going broody it seems, but she was a bit to flighty with the whole thing. She turned out to be a broody buddy for a bit. I think I might bring her in to visit my broody for a bit today.
  8. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Watching how she handles her new chicks (and you!) is just the sweetest thing. You'll love it.
  9. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 6, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    The best advice i can give is seperate her from the rest of the flock. Eventually when she gets off of the eggs the other hens will get in there and lay and they can break the eggs. I have had it happen to me. She will be much happier if you give her, her own space to hatch out and raise those babies for the first few weeks after they hatch.
  10. thailand

    thailand Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well - we're back from our holiday, and YES it just got crazier!

    Penelope (my first broody) is currently on day 19. Josephine (2nd to go broody) is on day 14. I arrived home from holiday to discover that I now have a 3rd broody girl, Eleanor. That's my entire coop of girls! I'm figuring she's only on day 5. And all three Brahma girls are only 6 1/2 months old.

    I do have one other Brahma girl (14 months old - in a separate coop) who has never been broody yet. Right now she's in serious molting mode.

    This is our first experience of chickens and it just keeps getting more exciting. All the eggs seem to be fine, no cracks or bad smells. The first broody refuses to get off the nest for any food/exercise/poop breaks at all. Should I be forcing her or this close to hatch date is it ok to leave her alone? (She pecked me today when I tried to feed her while she was sitting on the nest!).

    Photos will be sure to follow!

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