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Please help me.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by FriendlyFlyer, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. FriendlyFlyer

    FriendlyFlyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 16, 2011
    Ok, I have a black sex link hen that went broody three days ago. I know she's broody because I haven't seen her off the nest for 3 days now. It is her first time so I'm slightly worried she may give up on the eggs and walk away, although I have a lot of confidence she will be a GREAT mother.
    The eggs she's on right now are unfertilized but I'm putting fertilized eggs under her tomorrow (the 4th day of broodiness). Here are my questions:

    1. Will she stay on the eggs to hatch them? Since she's already gone broody before I got the eggs under her will she be broody long enough to hatch them?

    2. How do I know she's drinking water? How can I make sure she drinks? Or will she do it on her own and I don't have to worry?

    3. Do black sex links make for good mothers? Taking into account that it's her first time but she is VERY protective and dedicated.

    4. What should I do with mama and the chicks after the hatch? Assuming that the chicks do hatch (and I know not all will) should I move them to a new coop set-up or can I leave them (the mother and the chicks) in the coop and she will protect them? I would much rather have them stay in the coop but not at the price of dead chicks.

    5. How much action is too much? Will taking out her daily eggs (unfertilized) and generaly doing things around her make her want to stop sitting on the eggs? Do I need to leave her completely alone or can I still handle her once in a while (only when necessary)?

    6. Does she need to be confined? My aunt who used to have chickens said she will be fine in the nest box and other chickens won't bother her. This has proven, so far, to be true. But should I make her a seperate space to live in?

    7. Any other advice for a first time mother and a first time chicken mother owner? Any advice would be VERY MUCH appreciated! Thak you!
     
  2. SamJacobbe

    SamJacobbe Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Wellington Florida
    I have some answers:

    1. Most hens, if they want to go broody, will stay on the eggs for far longer than three weeks. I had a hen that was broody for almost two months before we were able to get her chicks to take.

    2. Broody hens take about thirty minutes each day to get some water, eat some food, and make broody poo. I would suggest putting some water and food in the coop so she doesn't feel like she has to go too far for it.

    3. I don't know from experience if they make good mothers, but if a hen acts like that, then she will probably guard her chicks with her life.

    4. I would make a little area for them inside the coop where momma can take her chicks and go for with peace, but still be able to see the other chickens, as an early introduction.

    5. Most hens can handle some action. Taking eggs, small cleanings, all should be fine. When I was younger I was too anxious and I would check on the eggs under a hen every day. She still stayed put and hatched out almost all of them, so it depends on how well yours normally deals with stress.

    6. She doesn't have to be if you don't want her to. If you feel she can hold her own with the other chickens, and nobody in the coop is too aggressive, then she can be free to stay in the coop.

    I would also suggest:

    Marking her eggs so that if others are laid, you know and can remove them.
    Candling the eggs about every four days so you can remove the undeveloped or bad eggs so that they don't contaminate other eggs.
    Leaving her be for the last three days of incubation. She will need to be stress free for when the big day comes

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I want to see what the babies will look like so keep me posted. Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  3. FriendlyFlyer

    FriendlyFlyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 16, 2011
    Thank you sooo much. I posted before and no one answered. I'm glad I re-posted and got your advice, it was perfect! In regards to #6, this morning one of my other hens got in Mama's nest box and she didn't like it so I had to put up small gates and boards to keep the other birds away from her. I placed a waterer and a bowl of feed in there with her so she should be good to go. Thank you again so much! I will ask more questions if they come up.
     
  4. SamJacobbe

    SamJacobbe Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Wellington Florida
    Yeah, most hens don't like it when others try to get in on their eggs. Some will squawk none-stop! She should be good now, as long as she can get away from the eggs daily in order to use the bathroom because, trust me, you do not want to have that near the eggs as she's incubating them.

    If there are any other questions, I'm here to help, just hollah. [​IMG]
     
  5. FriendlyFlyer

    FriendlyFlyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 16, 2011
    Ok, since you said to hollah, I will. [​IMG] Inside her little pen I made her there isn't a ton of room, but enough for her to get out of the box, eat and drink and lay beack down. Maybe a total space of 5-6 square feet. Is that good? I've also decided upon going in to get the eggs she lays (unfertilized) out from under her every 3 days. Long enough periods so I don't bother her and soon enough so the eggs don't go bad and she runs out of body to cover all the eggs. Am I right in my thinking? Should I go in more often, less often? I feel SOOO protective of her and when the chicks hatch, I will owe half of it to you!!!!
     
  6. SamJacobbe

    SamJacobbe Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Wellington Florida
    Hey no problem, wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it.

    While she's incubating the eggs that amount of space is fine, but when they start to hatch, your gonna want to increase it. It's so that the little'ms can roam around a little bit, and mamma can show them what to do. About eight square feet or so should be good. As for removing the eggs, you can do it every two days, leaving them for three might cause the eggs to get too warm and make them unhealthy to eat. What your doing now is fine, and all you have to do is let nature take it's course. Most mother hens are great at what they do. Hey, I've got a bantam hen that is taking care of fifteen eggs, and they're all doing quite fine. If you want, you can candle the eggs on day seven, fourteen, and eighteen. I personally prefer to do it day five, seven, eleven, fourteen, and eighteen. In order to take away quitters or bad eggs that could explode and contaminate all the others. Some people never candle, and that's fine too, they believe that messing with the egg will harm it, and it can. If you do plan to candle the eggs I suggest either wearing clean latex gloves, or washing your hands before you do. Make sure they're dry so you don't chill any eggs. Happy henning.
    Happy to help anytime, Sammi J.
     
  7. FriendlyFlyer

    FriendlyFlyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so this morning I went to check on Mama, and one of my chickens must have knocked over the gate that seperated her from the rest of the chickens. I found her sitting in another nest on 3 eggs!! I PANICKED!!! I moved her onto the correct nest immediately and rebuilt the barrier. I felt the eggs that she was sitting on in the wrong nest and 2 were slightly warm and the 3rd was a little cold so she couldn't have been on them for long...right? I have no way of knowing how long she was off her nest except to judge by the temp. of the other eggs (which weren't very warm).
    I guess what I'm worried about is that she was off her clutch for too long and now they won't hatch. Am I right or do I need to calm down and not worry about it?? I'm falling apart here.
     
  8. SamJacobbe

    SamJacobbe Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Wellington Florida
    You're fine, don't worry. Here's a little story.

    I had a Silkie hen hatch out chicks about a week or two ago. (Best broody ever, eight cute little chicks) Here's the miracle part, once about seven of them hatched, she would be off the nest all day, and only go back on when it was night time. Somehow, that last little egg was able to live with very little heat for most of the time, (though the temp outside was 80 most of the time, still too cold) and hatched out four days after the seventh one did.

    Your hen was probably only off for less than a half hour, as it doesn't take long for eggs to warm up and if one was still cold, even less time. So your eggs are still viable and will probably hatch. I would make sure the fence is secure now though, so it doesn't happen again. I'm pretty positive that they should be fine. Candle them in a day or two to see if they are still viable if you want.

    Happy hatching!
     

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