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Not sitting on the eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Hatching Eggs' started by cchapmanelectric, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. cchapmanelectric

    cchapmanelectric In the Brooder

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    The girls sit on the fertile eggs seldomly.
    We have a small property of half acre and let our girls and Roo "free-range", if you will. They are, for the most part friendly birds. Some a little more of a "lap hen" than others but all of them know we aren't going to hurt them. (4 hens/1 Roo/1 duck).

    We've got a few fertile eggs in the coup that we are noticing they don't sit on them constantly or even more common than NOT sitting on them.
    We are in southern California so the weather isn't cold but we do have a heat lamp over the eggs for when the girls aren't sitting.

    Are we doing anything wrong here? As for the....
    Heat lamp?
    Letting them "free-range"?
    Should we have the girls locked up, in the pen? (which they really hate being locked up in and both the wife and I are a couple softies...)

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you all.
     
  2. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Conserve Heritage Breed Livestock

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    Are they actually broody or just sitting in the nest while they are laying? What breed are they? Heat lamp isn't necessary and could even be detrimental to the hatch rate.
     
    A_Fowl_Guy and sylviethecochin like this.
  3. Norcal527

    Norcal527 Songster

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    They will sit on eggs when their hormones tell them to. It's called going broody. You dont need a heat lamp and theres no need to leave eggs in the coop until they show signs of broodiness. Some breeds are prone to this (silkies and cochins come to mind)...some will never go broody. When they are ready to hatch they will begin sitting on the nest constantly only leaving to poop and eat for minutes a day. They will puff up and growl or squawk at you if you approach. This is the time to give them as many fertile eggs as you want them to hatch. Mark them all in pencil and check eggs daily as the other hens will sneak eggs into the nest under your broody and you dont want eggs hatching far apart.
     
  4. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

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    I'm not sure I understand. Why have you got a heat lamp over the eggs?
    What usually happens is the hens lays a clutch of eggs and sometimes,particularly if the clutch is left undisturbed she may decide to sit. You will know if she plans to sit because she will show broody behaviour, usually. She will cluck incessantly and walk around with her feathers puffed up while she's off the eggs and when she's sitting she will spread out like a cartoon pancaked hen.
    You can't make a hen go broody. All you can do is offer the optimal conditions and hope.
    Having a heat lamp over the eggs is a waste of time and heat lamps in coops are generally dangerous.
     
  5. cchapmanelectric

    cchapmanelectric In the Brooder

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    As for the question that you all have asked so far with the heat lamp...
    We had heard the eggs NEED TO BE at 98 degs and higher for the safety of the fertile eggs. (there are a "few" that are fertile)
    Is this not true?
    we heard that if they get colder thann(something like) 85degs the chicks in the eggs will not survive.
    So, you all are informing me the heat lamp is not necessary?
    The nights are in the upper 50's and the daytime is in the 70's this week. Last week we had a bit of a heat wave of 105.
    That being said, NO HEAT LAMP????

    Then the brooder question.
    We are pretty new at the chicken owners thing. Less than a year and learning as we go.
    A couple of the girls are brooding. Not consistantly but I have seen the behavior as mentioned often.
    Shoul I not worry and let nature do it's "thing"???
     
  6. cchapmanelectric

    cchapmanelectric In the Brooder

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    The breeds, I'm still learning. I do know that two are Americana. No silkies. ( I noticed that being an example of some breeds that are a little like this scenario)
     
  7. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    This is the Buy ~Sell ~ Trade section of the site. I'm going to ask to have you moved to Incubating and Hatching Eggs, 'K?

    @sumi?

    Sorry to bother you, but could you move this, please?
     
    SunHwaKwon likes this.
  8. cchapmanelectric

    cchapmanelectric In the Brooder

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    I am so sorry as I am brand neew and stupid on here. My deapest appologies...
     
  9. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    If the hen is broody, then she should be on the nest for at least 22 hours every day. That would keep the eggs warm enough. Being cold for a few hours, especially in the weather you describe, should not affect hatch rates.

    If the hen is not covering the eggs for the majority of every day, then the hen is not broody. You might hatch unbrooded eggs using a heat lamp; less likely things have happened.

    Enh. Mileage May Vary and all that jazz. I had a hen get onto the wrong nest for an entire day once, and she had one dud out of twelve or so when they hatched.

    Yep.

    Hens have three stages: Not broody. Thinking about broody. Broody.

    Most modern chickens from a hatchery are going to stay in stage one. They'll peck your hand when you reach under them for an egg, and maybe puff up feathers and Squark at you, (or, in the case of Leghorns, flee screaming) but in about an hour they'll get off the nest and be done with the whole thing. They've laid the egg, had the rest/relaxation/thinking time in the nice, dark nest box, yelled for the rooster to come get them, and left. They'll never think about that egg again. I have one older hen, six years old, who will draw blood if I reach under her for an egg. Never gone broody in her life. Sits in the nest box for a minimum of two hours every day.

    Stage two is nearly the same as stage one. She'll lay an egg almost every day, and her voice will deepen. Her feathers will puff a bit, and her comb will get nice and red. She'll lay her eggs in a nice, hidden place (my better broodies do this. The hatchery girls tend to think the nest boxes with the other eggs are a good place) and they'll otherwise act as though everything is normal.

    Stage three begins when the hen sets on that nest, puffs herself out to cover the eggs, and stays there. Her voice gets much deeper, and her comb starts to droop and get paler. She completely stops laying eggs. Her breast feathers fall out due to the constant warmth and pressure (some people have seen their hens plucking their feathers to line their nests, but I've only ever seen that behaviour in Muscovy ducks and rabbits. I know my hens do not pluck their breast feathers.) She starts to lose weight and leaves the nest once a day in order to eat and dust bathe. She stays on that nest at night, and she does not poop in the nest. Her poops, in fact, are all stored up and when she gets off the nest, she deposits them in one huge, stinky explosion that can leave a single poop twice the size of her eggs. Her feathers puff out and she talks to herself a lot more than a normal hen would.

    If a hen is not exhibiting constant, consistent broody behaviour, she is in one of the first two stages. Based on what you've said here, I don't think your hens are broody. What behaviours have you seen that makes you think they are broody?

    Yep. Or get an incubator. Best of both worlds, I'm told.

    Short answer to your questions:
    I don't think your hens are broody. If they are, they're more than capable of hatching eggs for themselves. If they're not broody, then the heat lamp almost certainly isn't a controlled enough condition to hatch eggs.

    It's highly likely that you do have embryos in the eggs under the heat lamp; they're likely to die if you don't get them into something a little more well-regulated soon. I would candle your eggs and see what you've got in them before doing anything definite, though.
     
  10. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

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    No need to apologize; it's actually a pretty common mistake. I had no idea how to start a thread the first time I got on here, and made a conversation instead. But you should get more help on the other forum.
     

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