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Ok, one more with questions about broodies LOTS OF QUESTIONS,

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by growinupinfl, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. growinupinfl

    growinupinfl Songster

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Pensacola
    OK everyone I have my first broody hens.. Well two broody hens.. I have a few questions and I'm sure this isn't all my questions. So if you think of anything else that I might need to know from your experience please share with me.

    One If the two broody hens are in the main coop but separated from the rest of the flock but still have access to each other is that ok?

    What is the longest one of the hens should be off her eggs before I worry?

    I live in Florida, the nights are getting into the upper 50's days lower 80's do I need to keep the coop warm at night?

    Is there any warning signs with the sitting hens I should watch for to make sure they are staying healthy?

    These sitting pullets are only 7 months is there anything in-particular I need to worry about with their being so young?

    If the 21 days come and go will she figure it out or just sit forever until she gets a baby?

    Should I put a little curtain over their little boxes to keep their stress levels down when we collect the other eggs?

    If I do move the hens to another box what is the best place for that box to be and what is the chances I'm going to completely break their broodiness?

    The coop is off the ground is there any preparations I should make for the new chicks?

    How long should I wait till after the chicks hatch to let their momma's take them out around the rest of the flock?

    What do I do about feed for the little ones when they come? My hens currently eat egg layer pellets can the babes eat egg layer crumble?

    That is about it for right now...

    If anyone can answer any of these questions or any others you think I might stumble upon thanks in advance.

    Christal
     

  2. Pinky

    Pinky Songster

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    With my hens, the older ones or more experienced hens are better at caring for and hatching chicks. Most of the young hens I have that try to go broody usually don't hatch every egg in thier clutch. All of my hens have stayed broody until they have hatched at least one chick. This is only what I know about my hens though. Your hens will probably be great at being broody. [​IMG]
     
  3. Sumatra503

    Sumatra503 Kozy Orchard Farms

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    Sep 24, 2010
    If the two broody hens are in the main coop but separated from the rest of the flock but still have access to each other is that ok?

    When the broodies are in with the rest of the flock you should keep and eye on the number of eggs beneath each hen. Mark all of their current eggs with a pencil, so that you know that those are original eggs. The other hens in your flock may disturb the broodies or continue to lay eggs in the boxes the broodies are in. If you notice that this is happening, or if the number of eggs in the broody's nest increases, then you should move them to their own area. If you notice that nothing like this is happening you can leave them alone.

    The two broodies may get into squabbles with eachother or the other hens in the flock, but these are generally only little squabbles. Being broody makes them a bit more defensive and moody than usual, like being pregnant. This is good. It means the hens are doing their jobs.

    If they are separated from the rest of the flock, then they should be okay.

    What is the longest one of the hens should be off her eggs before I worry?

    Broody hens will leave their nests once or twice a day to eat, drink, and releave themselves. They may stay off of their nests for as long as twenty minutes. A good broody will kinow when she should go back on the nest. Eggs can stay warm for quite a while, but longer than twenty minutes can cause damage to the eggs, so longer than that is cause for worry. Before you panick go over and pick up the eggs to see if they are warm. if they are still warm, relax. If they feel cold put them in the incubator and leave a decoy egg for the hen. Once she goes back to the nest give her eggs back.

    I live in Florida, the nights are getting into the upper 50's days lower 80's do I need to keep the coop warm at night?

    Chickens are extemely tolerant of cold. They have thick feathers and can keep themselves warm. Anything above 10 degees farinheight is just fine for your chickens.

    Is there any warning signs with the sitting hens I should watch for to make sure they are staying healthy?

    A healthy broody should fluff up and get excited when you get close to her. She should get up daily up until the 18th day of incubation. When she is up she should be alert and focused and will cluck and squauk at everybody.

    You should look closely at your broody every day or so to check for signs of lice and legmites. The increased humidity and warmth beneath a broody hen can accerate the growth of these parasites. It is not uncommon for a broody hen to have a severe case of leg mites at the end of the hatch. Catching it early will make it easier to treat.

    These sitting pullets are only 7 months is there anything in-particular I need to worry about with their being so young?

    Many hens on their first batch of eggs will simply give up setting or get tired of it. Such hens will simply abandon their nest and act as though they have no eggs. If you find your hen has stopped setting and the eggs are cold don't panick. The eggs may still be hatchable. Take them and put them in the incubator and wait.

    Most hens, though, will be perfectly fine on their first hatch. They will be happy and watchful for their hatch.

    Your broody hens will be just fine even if they are young. If you have young hens that are broody be thankful.

    If the 21 days come and go will she figure it out or just sit forever until she gets a baby?

    Some hens will set for long periods of time after the hatch date. It is just a natural part of the process. Most hens, however will know when the 21 days is up and stop setting.

    Many hatches are staggered and some can take a little long than 21 days to hatch. If you notice that your hen is still setting and it has been a longer than a week after hatching you can surprise her with chicks to set on and raise. These chicks are foster chicks and she will raise them as her own and think they are hers. Just take the eggs at night and replace them with chicks.

    You can also break a broody hen. there are several methods of this posted throughout the forum.

    Should I put a little curtain over their little boxes to keep their stress levels down when we collect the other eggs?

    The curtain can help sometimes. Just be sure the hens figure out how to exit and enter the nest through the curtain. Otherwise she will be just fine without the curtain as long as she doesn't get overly excited while you collect eggs.

    If I do move the hens to another box what is the best place for that box to be and what is the chances I'm going to completely break their broodiness?

    It is very hard to break a broody hen. If you move her at night it works better than during the day. Take all of her eggs from her and arrange them into a little nest and then place the broody on top of them. It is her natural instinct to continue setting once picked up and placed on the eggs. Feeling the eggs under her will help with this.

    She may rearrange the eggs to the way she likes them and will prabably cluck at you. When you move her put her in a quiet place where there is less to disturb her.

    Be sure that your new nest had a lip to keep the eggs from rolling out and that it is big enough for the hen. I've found that dog kennels work well for this and can also be locked down for the hatch.

    The coop is off the ground is there any preparations I should make for the new chicks?

    The first prepartion you should make for the babies is to set up a baby gate on the front of the nest box where she is setting. This should stretch the entire length of the box and be at least 3 inches high. This will keep the babies from falling out of the nest and getting chilled or trampled on the floor of the coop.

    Other than that you shouldn't have to worry. The mother will stay with the chicks until they are about 24 hours old and. After that she will take them out of the nest to eat.

    You wnat to make sure there are no chick sized gaps to squeeze through and that your wire is not too large. Chicks can squeeze through 1" chicken wire, so adjust accordingly.

    How long should I wait till after the chicks hatch to let their momma's take them out around the rest of the flock?

    I generally wait until the chicks are a few days old and are eating and drinking well and able to move aroung pretty well. The other hens will iknow to leave the broody hen alone with her chicks unless they want to get attacked.

    If you notice that your hen is not very protective of her chicks then she should be kept away from the rest of the flock.

    What do I do about feed for the little ones when they come? My hens currently eat egg layer pellets can the babes eat egg layer crumble?

    Layer crumble contains a high ammount of calcium. This ammount of calcium can cause kidney failure in chicks. It also does not have a high enough ammount of protien for them.

    When you feed the chick starter to the babies you can build a creep feeder for them. Make a one or two inch hole in a milk jug and fill that with a small dish of chick starter. Cut the top od the milk jug off and reattach it with paper clips of tape to make it removeable to fill the dish. The babies should not be given the creep feed for a couple of days after the hatch, so that they learn what the food is from their mom. They will also be more active them as well.​
     
  4. growinupinfl

    growinupinfl Songster

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Pensacola
    Thank you for all the information...

    I think I will be moving them to a separate area. I have a garden that is about 15X 30 that is separate from the rest of the yard. That way momma can get out and dust bath, but won't have to worry about the other girls getting in. My coop when I say it is up off the ground it is like 3 and a half feet up. I don't know how old the chicks will be before they can maneuver back up the ramp so I think I will just give them another area to go in. But one more question, what the heck are leg mites and what does it look like and how do you treat them?

    Thank you once again,

    Christal
     
  5. Sumatra503

    Sumatra503 Kozy Orchard Farms

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    Sep 24, 2010
    Legmites are tiny microscopic mites that burrow under the scales on a chicken's legs. Signs of them are raised up and rough scales on the legs. When you run your fingers down a chicken's leg the scales should be soft. If you notice them raising up a bit and that they feel really rough your hen may have legmites.

    Legmites are treated by coating a hen's legs with vaseline. coat them thickly all the way from the toenails to the feathers on the hawk joint. Do this again in about week to treat any any eggs that may have hatched.

    If your ramp is pretty wide they will just follow their mom up it, but they probably should have their own area. Make sure you bring your hen and her babies in from the garden at night to keep them safe.

    Another good thing about hatching in a dog kennel is that the hen will sometimes take her babies back into the kennel at night to sleep and you can just close the door and put them somewhere safe together.
     

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