Newbie with her first clutch :)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by sweetleaf, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. sweetleaf

    sweetleaf Out Of The Brooder

    Hi there! I hope I'm not re-hashing the same old thing and asking the same old questions, I did quite a bit of searching before I posted this and any advice will be very gratefully received.

    I have 2 chooks sharing a nesting box at the moment, one barred rock and one light sussex x barred rock (Myrtle and Eunice). They are sharing 8 eggs, upon candling I found 5 are completely black inside with just the air sac showing and 3 had veins running through them but I was not able to make out much more detail as I had trouble finding a dark enough place to candle (bright sunny days here!).
    I have a few questions: My father in law has offered to construct a hutch / run with a nesting box and wire mesh outdoor area that can be moved around to protect the chicks from a couple of wandering feral cats we've seen around - good idea? Should I move them before hatching and should I keep the 2 mums together?
    If so, when is the best time to move them? They're vicious ol' mamas and don't like anyone getting too close, I'm thinking I just pick them up nesting box and all? And maybe at night?
    If I don't move them and keep them in the henhouse will it put the other girls off laying in there? None of my chooks sleep in there normally but they all lay in there quite happily and I don't want to upset the apple cart.

    Any other tips, hints or advice welcomed :)
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] If they were mine, I would find a way of separating them - putting the 3 'vein' eggs with the hen who has been setting the shortest period and the other 5 'dark' eggs with the hen who has been setting the longest. Move them to more secure quarters once the chicks have hatched.
     
  3. If they are hatching together let them raise together. Move them whenever. Just if you move the birds before the chicks hatch (NOT DURING) then gently move all the eggs, and sit the hens so they have to go and sit on the eggs, not set them on the eggs.
    To move them, put on gloves, pick up the moms, and then grab all the eggs (try to keep them on the same side) and set them on a soft rag in a milk crate or something.
    Or, if you do it when they hatch (I suggest, though be sure the other hens don't hurt the chicks) then simply scoop up the family and set them in the run. If they have eggs, then usually they will just set down on the eggs and be fine. Though moving at night is preferred.
    Do you know if all the eggs were set on the same day? If they were, than leave them together. If not, then I'd separate the 3 vein eggs as well, and the black eggs to another hen too. It doesn't matter much if ones been sitting much longer than the other, since most hens I know will sit down and concrete themselves until a chick pops out.
    Best of luck :D
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    When the first eggs hatch, both hens will leave the nest with the chicks if you continue to let them set together. If you want to hatch both sets of eggs, be prepared to incubate the 3 that have not been developing as long as the rest.
     

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