Questions about broody hatching eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by serendipityfarm, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all? I have a Silkie Mama with a nearly 5 week old chick "at her side" (as we say in the horse world, not sure what you call it w/chicks). She just started laying again.
    She has been a great mama! I am toying with the idea of using her to hatch some mail-order eggs, but never having done this have a couple questions. First you should know that when she hatched the one I've got now, it was totally unplanned. I didn't collect an egg one day, the next day she laid another and decided to sit on the two! I thought it was cute so I let her. So if I want to get a hatch of more then 1 or 2, what's he best way to STORE eggs for a little while? What's a good number for a Sikie to reasonably sit on? And how often do you all let your girls brood? I am guessing that 3 weeks of sitting like a zombie and getting up only once a day to eat, drink & poo is somewhat stressful on their body. How long do you let them "recover" between hatches? Also, if I were to get some hatching eggs somewhere else, what would be the best way to store those and sneak them in?
    It's getting chilly here in New England so I may have to wait until Spring when I don't have to worry so much about babies getting cold, but this is all useful info I'd like to have anyway!
    Thanks!
    ~Terry
     
  2. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Terry,

    I have lots of broody hens. All of them are large sized ladies, so I can't be of much help when it comes to how many eggs to put under a silkie. I've put as many as 10 big eggs under a big hen. I know they will hatch more that that if left to their own devices on a secret nest. I like to put about six eggs under them. But they can handle more. Actually, I like to split a shipped dozen between two hens. That's mostly my logic for the half dozen. I have a backup broody should one of them go wonky on me for any reason.

    Here's how the "broody cycle" tends to work around here. Sitting one eggs for 3 weeks, raising chicks for 4 to 6 weeks, laying eggs for about a month, then broody again. And yes, they are thin after being broody. But they put their weight back on by the time they go broody again. I've had hens raise 3 different broods in one year. It didn't hurt them at all. But one or two hatches per year is more the norm.

    When I hatch my own eggs, I don't do anything special with them as far as storage goes. I collect them and put them in a basket on the kitchen countertop. They just lay there, on their sides, until I have as many as I want. It only takes a few days for me, but I'm sure they could wait for a week. I give them all to the hen at the same time.

    Shipped eggs are a little trickier with a broody hen. It's hard to get on a waiting list for eggs. Sellers don't tend to be very understanding when it comes your turn and your hen isn't being cooperative. But it's not impossible to get shipped eggs, not by any means. You just have to have a very nice friend who is waiting to send you some eggs at the proper time, or catch the perfect auction, or something like that. When you see that your hen is going broody, you order your eggs. While you are waiting for them to arrive, you get your broody all set up. I like to move my broodies to private coops, and the waiting time is when I do that, to get her all settled in her new nest before the eggs arrive. When they arrive, you just leave them sitting in an egg carton, fat side up, for 24 hours. Then give them to her. You don't have to sneak them in. Just put them in front of her and she will greedily tuck them underneath. That won't be a problem!

    Hope that was helpful!
     
  3. Mikman

    Mikman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    go to mypetchicken.com and order eggs. we ordered 6 black copper marans eggs but they gave us 2 extra. we needed those 2 cause 2 got broken w/ chickens sitting on them.
    so far so good. we cant candle them though because they're too dark. hope it helped! [​IMG]
     
  4. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never seen a silkie up close, but I imagine she isn't any smaller than my broody bantam. Right now she is sitting on 10 LF eggs (and possibly some chicks - I need to go check!). I wouldn't have tried to fit all 10 except that is how many my friend gave me and I didn't want to waste them. After a few days of weird behavior (kicking some out and then taking them back, only sitting on half at a time, etc) she sits on all 10 and I can't see any. In fact, the gold ball that she originally went broody on is still under there. She is particularly nasty (even when not broody) so I stuck the eggs under her at night and still had to hold a pitcher upside down over her head so she didn't get me. I didn't know that she would just take them if I left them in front of her! Good tip.

    I also had another bantam broody who sat on 3 of her own eggs and 12 mail order serama eggs. She covered all easily (as serama eggs are pretty small). Unfortunately, the serama eggs got completely scrambled in the mail and none even developed.

    I would guess that your broody could handle 10 to 12 of her own eggs, and maybe 8ish LF eggs. Maybe more, maybe less.
     
  5. lauralou

    lauralou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh gosh, UGAchick, I'm laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes with the visual of you putting a pitcher over your broody's head! In the dark! Thanks for that!

    I can't guarantee that all hens will want eggs as much as mine do, but I've had a bunch of broodies and they all get very happy about receiving eggs. So just give it a try next time. While wearing thick leather gloves for your nasty little lady...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Leather gloves... another novel idea.

    I must say that the pitcher method was rather effective [​IMG]
     
  7. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everybody! Very helpful. I don't think I would want her to hatch 8 or 10 but maybe 4 or 6 would be OK. Like I said, I'm thinking ahead. It's been getting down in the low 50's and last night even dipped into the 40's. did some mypetchicken chicks this past spring in the house w/the heat lamp, etc. and I have to say this business of letting mom take care of them was MUCH easier! Anyway, with the cool temps, I would worry too much. ven if mom was vigilant about sitting on the little ones to keep them warm, I wouldn't want her "cooped up" so much for that long! Do they know when it's getting too chilly? Maybe she wouldn't go broody again this late in the year anyway.
    Anyway, thanks again. I will let you all know how (if and when) it goes!

    ~Terry
     
  8. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Momma hen does fine keeping the chicks warm. It can be a bit disturbing watching her take her 2 day-old brood out to play in the rain, but it doesn't seem to cause any problems. In fact I haven't had any problems with sick chicks that are raised by a broody hen. I do confine first timers to a covered 7'x13' dog run because I've had a few of them lose track of their chicks which is not a good thing, but my more experienced girls raise their chicks with the main flock. It's awfully cute to watch too. The chicks will run around scratching and looking for food, then one gets a bit chilled and calls out to momma and she hunkers down while all the chicks get under her for a quick warm up.
     

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