Question about the Age of the Eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Barry Natchitoches, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    OK, I made a BIG mistake.

    My broody made it known that she was going broody a week ago today.

    I was thinking that I had to get the eggs under her as soon as they were hatched. We only have four laying hens right now, with her out on broody duty and the two older hens engaged in the winter moult. Since we average only two to three eggs per day right now, I would take the eggs from the laying nest and immediately plant it under Ms. Broody.

    Only this evening did I finally find out that this is wrong, that I should have held on to the eggs outside of refrigeration for a few days until I had enough, and THEN put them under Ms. Broody.

    I know that last time, she only hatched three of her fourteen eggs, but I figured that was because they were very young pullet eggs. I didn't realize that she did that because she is programmed to hatch only for about 24 hours, and then abandon the rest.

    Well, I've already goofed up, and to make matters worse, my family is expecting farm fresh eggs for Christmas gifts from my hens. I already have a reduced production staff, and then I've lost an entire week's egg production to Ms. Broody. I just can't start over at this point -- not in the month of December with a reduced production staff -- collecting a bunch of eggs to put under her at one time. Not now.

    And to make matters worse, we had an egg explode and it dirtied five other eggs. So we had to add in more eggs (laid as much as seven days after the first eggs in the nest). As luck would have it, the three eggs laid Nov. 30 survived the explosion, while some of the ones laid closer to the date of the last eggs in the clutch (Dec 7) were ruined.

    This means that we have eggs that were laid -- and which went under Ms. Broody -- on different days that span as much as a week apart.

    I am very concerned about her having only one bird, because chickens need companionship.

    So I got an idea, and please tell me if this plan would have any chance of working or not.

    Let's say she could hatch two of the pullet eggs, one put under her last Tuesday, and the other one put under her this Tuesday.

    Let's say that the other eggs just didn't make it, for whatever reason.

    She will hatch the Nov. 30'th bird, of course. But what if I "chick-napped" the baby before she gave up on the idea of hatching babies and took that "first walk" with her new chick?

    If I could get the baby away quick enough, do you think that she might continue to sit for another week, to hatch out the late comer?

    And if she did, do you think I could sneak the older baby back into her clutch a week later, after the later baby was hatched?

    Or alternatively, could I take both babies away from her and let them grow together in my mechanical brooder?

    I'm just trying to think out possible ideas for making sure we have more than one baby from this brood, given my stupid mistake.

    Thanks in advance for your advice and insights.
  2. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    It depends on the particular hen. Some hens except chicks that have been hatched prior that were not hatched by that hen. Chick napping would do best but make sure it is well provided for. It can survive alone. If she continues to sit and hatch continue to take the chicks until the last of them start to hatch. Make sure the chicks are not aggressive toward each other but some pecking should occur. Sometimes there are late hatches so be careful. When the last ones are starting to hatch try to reintroduce the older chick. Be careful with this too. Watch for any aggression on the hens part. This would mean that she won't except the chicks. Like I said before it will depend on the hen. If she does not want them then it will be up to you if you want her to raise a few chicks or take them all and raise them yourself. If the dirty eggs are to bad they can be cleaned off by use of med-fine sand paper. Be very careful though to much presser or too much rubbing over the egg could bust it. This can take some time but try not to let the eggs get cold. Try for abut a minute then but back and try another. Be patient it can be stressful for you, the hen, and the unborn chick. If they are too dirty the chick wont be able to breath through the shell. If 90 percent of the egg is not covered than it should be ok but no guarantee. Hope I covered everything. Any questions let me know. Hope this helps. Good Luck!!!
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by