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New to the chicken world and looking for advice....

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tedabug, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. tedabug

    tedabug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Hi there,

    I have four chickens of various large breeds. They are about 10 months old and one has already gone broody. I'm loving this chicken business and already want more plus another coop! I was thinking that I'd prefer for a broody mama to do all my work and worrying for me this spring. My uncle has fertilized eggs I can get to put under mine. This is as far as I've got in the thought process. I really need advice! I have a million questions like...

    How many eggs should I do? I really only want two or three more chickens. I'll bet my uncle will take back any roosters or unwanted hens.

    Do I need to keep the eggs warm on the hour drive from my uncles house?

    Do I just slide them under the broody and let her go?

    Do I separate her from the others while she sets?

    How many days does it take?

    It can still be cold in February/March like 40's to 50's. Should I pull her off the nest once a day to go to the bathroom? Or let her do whatever she wants? I know they are animals and will have their own instincts to do what needs to be done, but any advice is greatly encouraged! I don't want to buy an incubator and deal with all that cost turning/lockdown stuff. I'd rather let a mama bird do her thing!

    Speaking of which....Will she do her thing after they hatch? Do I then need to separate mama/chicks from the rest of the birds? Do I bring them in the garage or heat their own private coop? AAkkk...so many questions.
     
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    [​IMG] I would put 5 under her just to make sure you get something, but please remember to mark them, and check under her every day. Other chickens will lay behind her and push them under.
     
  3. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Howdy,

    If you can very gently seperate her and the nest to a broody area/pen. This will help keep the other hens from trying to add to the nest and possibly breaking one of the eggs to be hatched. If you have limited space to where the only nest area is in your only coop then mark the eggs and keep an eye on things.

    Average time for chicken eggs to develop is 21 days.
    Make sure the large end is up in the egg carton (assuming that is how they are traveling?) Room temps should be ok until you put the eggs under her.

    Is this the hens first time going broody? I would watch her if it was her first time. Heck I would watch her if it was the zillionth just cause I would be all excited over the expectation of cute fuzzy butts hatching. Hens with chicks are soo adorable.

    A good broody will hatch the eggs and take care of the babies. Normally you should not have to worry about taking the chicks away unless you have one of those issues where the hen freaks out on the chicks and tries to hurt them. This usually happens with first time moms from what I read.

    Also, use the search feature to look up past posts. You can gleam alot of info that way too.
     
  4. tedabug

    tedabug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Wow!

    Thanks for all the advice. My wyandotte was the broody one a couple of weeks ago, but I broke her of it. Took three days. She was the last one I'd expect to go broody of my 4! None of the other have gone broody yet. I want to wait until spring to try letting them hatch eggs. I'm betting one of my others goes broody by then. I just want to do my research and be prepared. When my last girl went broody on everybody's favorite nest, the others adapted to laying in the next nest over. Nice girlies. I am looking into buying another coop to house mama and any future babies.

    I have another problem which is my cat. He loves my big birds, but I have no doubt he will kill any chicks he can get a hold of. I'll have to make a fort knox for littles!

    So, five eggs, bottom end up in cartons for transfer. Check check check![​IMG]
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    One time chicken wire is actually good enough is for cats. I have a broody/whatever pen inside my coop -- made of chicken wire. Lets the broody raise her chicks, walk around a bit, and be safe and separate from the flock. Of course I usually wind up letting the mama and babies in with the rest after about a week. I sat with them today and let them mingle, then mama took the babies inside the broody pen on her own. Just as well, as I also have a cat that I believe would get the babies.
     
  6. tedabug

    tedabug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    AAwwww. I can't wait for that day. Fresh peeps and a happy mama. Hope I can make that happen. Do you have a picture of your set up?



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    No, sorry, I don't even own a camera. A bit old fashioned here, much too lazy to learn how to deal with pics these days; never was much into them when you took the film to the drug store and waited a week for the prints.

    My coop is about 12x17 ft and the broody pen is about 5x6, in one corner next to the people door. There are pop doors in the broody pen and the main part of the coop, though the one in the broody pen is closed off at the moment. Mama has taken the chicks out for a short scratch in the coop but has not ventured outdoors yet.

    They're a cute bunch. Both my roos are mutts so no telling what's in the chicks, but they are all different. a pale yellow, a brighter yellow with a brown spot on its head, a black one with a white chest like an Australorp chick, a brownish black one, and a chipmunk-striped one. Of course their personalities are different, already. Mama is a first time broody/mama, was only laying for a month or two before she started setting. Our temps are running around 25 to 50 right now. Doesn't bother the chicks a bit; they stay out running around for half an hour or more before going back under mama to get warm. If you have one go broody, if I were you, I'd give her some eggs even in this weather. I lost a whole clutch last summer to fire ants; they do better in the cold here.

    I go out to the coop a few times a day, pull out a lawn chair and watch a while. I've had this flock nearly four years and watched 3 or 4 groups of chicks grow up; don't own an incubator, either, and don't want one. Mutts are fine with me. This is my third flock as an adult, but the first time I've let broodies hatch chicks. Nothing like it!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2010
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    I would move her before giving her eggs to set, and leave her on golf balls for 24 hours or so to make sure she will accept the new spot. I usually leave them with the others in a nest box, and mark the eggs with a Sharpie, then check the nest and remove any the others have added. Mine started out with 8. Two were killed by one of the chickens, I don't know who. One was a quitter. I originally gave her the eggs in the coop with the others, which I've always done, then got worried someone was attacking her nest because of the two that got killed. She wouldn't let me move her while setting; she flew or climbed over the 6' wall of the broody pen and abandoned the eggs, returning to the nest box she's been in. I wound up moving her DURING the hatch, which is terrible, but it worked; guess she wouldn't abandon the chicks that had already hatched.

    They will ordinarily get off the nest once a day, eat, drink, and poop a HUGE poop. Mine always wait til I'm gone; I find the broody poop.

    Here's a quick article on broodies: http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/Broody-Hens-1.html

    I'd
    sure go get some fertile eggs as soon as I had one go broody, in your position. Your weather should be fine for them.
     
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    As far as our set up goes, it is always evolving. Ken cannot leave that coop alone. We bought a trio of Wheaten OEG's this weekend that about the size of a parakeet, and Ken built them a 10 x 10 coop [​IMG]
     
  10. oldtimeway

    oldtimeway Out Of The Brooder

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    You've rec'd some good advice. Yeah, a half dozen eggs for her will be fine. Separate her from everyone else. Right now, I would keep stealing the eggs. It's far too cold in the northern US for a cluck to be raising chicks and that's what you'll have on your hands in 21 days from when she sets. Actually if you separate her and let nature work its course, she won't set on more eggs than she can handle though it may produce more chicks than you can handle but if you have someone else who will take the extras, let her have her own way, it's far better than trying to worry her by checking under her every day and removing eggs. My grandfather used to take his old biddies and make them a box of their own from an old crate and hang those cratebox nests in the outhouse. That way she was separate from the other chickens, didn't anyone else lay a fresh egg in her nest and also kept her from giving her clucky ways to the other hens.

    I was always scared to death to use the outhouse in the spring because I didn't like being watched by all the beady little pairs of eyes as the old clucks sat there on their nests and watched me do my business. [​IMG]
     

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