Poor Hatch Rate Under Broody? Why?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Chew593, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Chew593

    Chew593 Chillin' With My Peeps

    My Austrolorp has set twice this summer... well, three times if you include her noble attempt to hatch golf balls and me sneaking babies under her during the early spring. The second hatch only 1 survived out of 4. I blamed myself for handling the eggs too much. I candled daily and didn't know about the 'lock down period' where you're not supposed to touch them at all. Anywho, she just sat on 8 more eggs and I vowed not to touch them except for 2 candlings just to make sure we didn't have any duds. Day 5: I candled and had 1 dud, so I was down to 7. I candled at day 14 and everything looked good. Day 17 she pushed one of the eggs out of the nest. So I was down to 6. We began hatching late on the 18th day. I saw 4 pips and decided to let nature take it's course and I went to bed with high hopes. The next morning I had 2 chicks. 2 smashed eggs with dead chicks (These were the 2 that had pipped and I saw their little beaks moving so I know they were alive at one point) and 2 eggs that never hatched. I opened the 2 that never hatched and the chicks were fully developed, yolk sac absorbed... I'm dumbfounded. Could I have done anything differently?
     
  2. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tomorrow is Day 21 of sitting for my hen. Nothing yet, that I have seen, though I didn't lift her off her nest.

    What is the lock-down period? I didn't know anything about it and candled 2 of her 11 eggs on Day 8. Was this a mistake? I was afraid I might drop the rest of the eggs so I didn't pick them up.

    Someone in another chicken group warned me that getting eggs to hatch is very tricky-- a lot of variables come into play. I will try to look up her post for you and post it here. I wonder whether I'll get any chicks? I hate to think my hen's hard work sitting so long may all be in vain.

    Clare
     
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is what the woman wrote as to why eggs don't hatch:

    There is no guarantee those eggs will hatch either (all different problems--fertility of parents, proper handling, temp, etc.) so she still could wind up lonely.
     
  4. Chew593

    Chew593 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks Clare. Lock down is an incubation term I've learned from meandering around on this site. It's the few days before hatching where you don't want to disturb the eggs (open the incubator, move or flip the eggs... etc etc...) A hen knows what to do with the eggs, and (I assume) positions the eggs to ensure good hatching. I think MY hen just may be bad at this. I would love to know about the eggs you put under your broody. Are they from your flock? You have a rooster? Are you buying eggs to put under her? I wonder if age has anything to do with it? My hen is 3 years old and was born to brood... she always looks AWFUL by hatch day tho. Pale and skinny. She gives sitting her all and it drains her. Good luck with your eggs.
     
  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had not intended to hatch eggs. I had 2 pet hens and went on vacation and my neighbor, who gave them to me as baby chicks was watching them. One died the very day I left, and I was heartbroken. I had tried so hard with her. She hadn't been able to get to the deep, deep shade of the woodpile that hot day, 98 degrees F (freakishly hot for August 25), as was her custom, and the heat did her in, I believe. She'd always had a harder time breathing in the hot weather, than her sister, who survived.

    So I'm trying to hatch some eggs so that her sister will have a companion for the long cold winter ahead. Chickens are flocking animals, and I've been told a sole chicken doesn't make it well alone. She really mourned and grieved her sister's death, I was told, looking everywhere for her missing sister.

    I thought about buying an adult chicken companion for her but was told introduced grown chickens can introduce diseases. She and her her late sister are only 18 months old. I was told eggs that are brought in can also introduce disease but aren't as likely to as grown chickens are. So I decided trying to get her to hatch eggs was the best plan. I do have two adult chickens lined up to bring in for her if there are no hatches. A woman is giving away her chickens because her dog has already killed 5 of them.

    The eggs were brought in from a church camp and are supposed to be fertilized, but I've read that hatching eggs in the fall doesn't usually work well, because it's later in the season, and it was something about a rooster's virility being lower as the summer declines and thus the eggs not being as prime as earlier in the spring. So we'll see... I'll keep you posted.

    I'm going to be so sad if none of the eggs hatch, but at least then I can give the 2 hens a good home and spare them from being killed by the dog, if the dog doesn't get them before the eggs don't hatch.

    Thanks for the info on lockdown.

    My hen had never been broody at all until her sister died. Her sister, on the other hand, was always broody, sitting on unfertilized eggs. We broke her of it, and now I think it was a mistake. Maybe she would have lost weight sitting on those eggs and been spared that death on that hot day, because she may have been too fat and that may be why she died. But she was sitting on old unfertilized eggs under the house where I could not get to her, and I was so afraid she'd starve to death on those unfertilized eggs, waiting forever for them to hatch. I was also afraid of roost mites.

    Her breast feathers were picked out, and I assumed it was from broodiness, but 2 1/2 months after breaking her of broodiness, the feathers were still picked out and looked more picked out than when she was broody, and I have read that that can be a sign of fatty liver disease, so our interference with her broodiness may have been a fatal mistake...

    After she died, her sister brooded over her death and suddenly took to sitting on eggs... Both girls are/were Barred Rocks, which is not a breed known to broodiness.

    My broody girl in Heaven is probably laughing now, saying, "See, I told you we should have some baby chicks, but you had to learn the hard way!" How I miss her. I have no children and she was my baby.
     
  6. Chew593

    Chew593 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm sorry for your loss, and you're right about wanting to get some flock mates for her. Let me tell you what I did early this year... I wanted EE's BAD and my broody was sitting on golf balls so I went off to the feed store and bought a couple of the puffy cheeked cuties as day old chicks and stuck them under her in the middle of the night with some egg shells I kept from baking... Next morning she was off her nest and clucking at the babies like she was all that.
    Maybe you can get a few barred rock chicks and try to stick them under her? They have to be just hatched... any older and imprinting may not happen. Good luck with your mama!!!
     
  7. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a good idea! Maybe someone in my town has a few newly hatched ones. I'll post on the local board. I appreciate the tip. It's not easy to find chicks in the stores this time of year, but a farmer might have some. Good thinking!
     
  8. chittyn

    chittyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    some people suggest going into lock down on day 19 i candled almost every day including day 18 and they seemed to be ok
     

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