Our first incubation attempt!

coops gone crazy

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 4, 2012
Hi all- this is my first 'real' post other then the new member one. We have raised our hens from 3 day old chicks last spring. One of the silver laced wyandotte hens went broody on us and I was trying to get her over it and finally decided....lets let her hatch some chicks. That led to concerns she would quit part way....which led to building an ice chest incubator as a backup plan thanks to the BYC webpages. Now we are going to hatch some in the incubator (hopefully) and (hopefully) a few under her. We are working the kinks out- just redesigned the 'cat litter bucket turned nest box' in her dog kennel home in the existing coop. Worried she may not stick but I gave her one of our unfertilzed eggs today and she has been mothering it all day. Fingers crossed. The incubator seems to be holding at around 100 +/- 1 and about 40% humidity. We picked up our eggs today and they are sitting next to me as I type......into the incubator tonight.....hopefully a hatch on my oldest son's birthday night or close. We are going to watch the broody hen for a day or two then if it looks good sneak a few under her. The dozen eggs are: 2 lavender ameraucana, 2 black/blue/splash ameraucana, 4 delaware, 4 lavender orpingtons. Wish us luck!

Hope it goes well
Thanks- the incubator seems to be working well so far. The broody hen- not so much! Not sure what I'm going to do with her. She doesn't like being in the kennel but if I let her out she runs right back and sits in her old nest box. I tried locking her out of the coop for a few days in a row and it didn't break her broodiness (spelling?). So- I can't get her settled enough to put eggs under her but I can't get her to stop brooding and am worried because she barely eats or gets up when she's in her nest box. Maybe in a couple more days she will settle?
I have the same digital thermometer and hydrometer as you. Mine too has different readings on the outdoor & indoor temps even though it’s in the same air. Mine has a difference of 8 degrees higher on the indoor temp. Upon calibrating it I found that on mine the outdoor temp was closes to the correct temp. The humidity was off by 6% on the low side.

Wyandotte’s usually make good setters & mothers. I have a Columbian Wyandotte that went broody at 8 months of age. I too, wasn’t sure about her so I let her set on 4 eggs. She hatched out all four and mothered them until the chicks where two months of age.

Good Luck to you on your first incubation and with your Wyandotte Hen. Keep us posted on their progress.
Just let her sit on the eggs in the nest she chose..I went through this same thing last spring. I was so worried the other hens would hurt the chicks when they hatched and the nest was high off the ground in the coop. But the others didn't really care at all..in fact we had a couple "aunties" who would look after the eggs when mama wanted to eat or drink. I also put a little dish and water in for her and then took it out when she was done eating. Hubby built a ladder...and actually thinking back-the chicks hatch but don't come out from under mama for 2-3 days and she was vicious if I tried poking around trying to get a peek!! If another hen came around while out in the yard she would puff up spread her wings around babies and make an awful noise-pretty much scaring the daylights out of the poor hens! I finally calmed down after that first broody and realized this has been going on for hundreds of years and mama knows what she is doing-a heck of lot more than me! It is amazing and so much easier than incubating-let her do the work and she has picked her nest and just try to accommodate that location. Try not to worry it will all work out beautifully.

Wanted to add that yes, she will lose weight, but she will get up and eat when she has to and in our case others would go and sit on the eggs usually laying one too..so make sure yours are marked! Lesson learned...
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