Opinions & Exp Needed w/ Broody Hen - Hatch Date Dec. 1

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by dospuercos, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. dospuercos

    dospuercos Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 23, 2008
    Lehi, UT
    So at 7 months, my Silkie went broody & although I really don't want to hatch any baby chicks right now, I gave in because nothing was going to change her mind. She is sitting on 4 eggs with a hatch date of Dec. 1. I decided to put her in a rabbit cage so if it gets really cold here in Northern Utah, I can move her into the garage easily. I am letting her out to eat & drink about 4 to 5 times a day. But I don't want to let the eggs get too cold. Does anyone have any recommendations on how long I should let her stay off the nest? Right now I am only letting her stay off for about 5 minutes at a time. It has been cold & rainy the last few days with a high temp of around 45 to 50. Also I would just let her come & go as she pleases, but last night when I went to check to see if she had gotten back on her eggs she was sitting in another nesting box. So I decided to lock her in the rabbit cage. She is young & I know instinct should kick in, but because it is cold I think I need to help her out a little.
     
  2. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    I have 4 broodies right now, too. All mine are also 7 month old Silkies. [​IMG] I don't interfere with my girls at all. Moving them too much messes with their concentration. They usually only get off the nest 1x/day to eat, drink and poop. They don't eat much because they're not expending much energy. As long as she has access to her food and water - I'd just let her decide when it's time to get up. Mine only get off the nest for a few minutes in this weather.

    Whether I move my broodies or not depends if they're getting bothered or not. 2 of my broodies are still in the main coop. No one has bothered them or their nests, so I left them in there - they're expected to hatch 11/30. The other 2 girls took over the favorite nests, so they were getting dragged off their nests for the other hens to lay in. My nests are 5 gal buckets and empty cat litter buckets, so I just picked up the broody, nest and all and moved them to my old chick brooder. My brooder is 4x4x2 with solid walls and wire top. I thought it might keep it warmer, too. They hatched their eggs last week - 8 out of 9 hatched. It's funny because they each stayed on their own nests when they were incubating the eggs, but as soon as they hatched - one broody moved in with the other one and they've been sharing parenting duties ever since. [​IMG]

    Some people like to keep the food and water right next to their broodies, so they don't have to get up, but I like to put the food and water just far enough away that they have to get off the nest, so that they're off the nest when they poop. I didn't want to have to try to clean up broody poo out of the nest, I didn't think that would be good for my eggs. Also, seeing the poo let me know they were getting off the nest.

    I only reached into the nest to candle the eggs - which was a waste of time because I stink at candling! [​IMG] Whew! I can ramble on, can't I? Hope that helps!
     
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Quote:Other than the rambling part, I second all of that! But since you've already moved her, it is best to keep her locked up for a while so she gets re-oriented to where her nest is.
     
  4. dospuercos

    dospuercos Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 23, 2008
    Lehi, UT
    Thank you both for your replies. And I don't mind the rambling. Everything you mentioned was very helpful. I am also glad to hear that I am not "mad" & that there are others who have successfully let their broodies hatch eggs in this cold weather. Your reply about your broodies only getting off the nest once a day makes sense. Most of the time when I get her out of the cage to eat, she just goes running around the yard.
     

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