Should I move my broody Chickens

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Eggspecting, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Eggspecting

    Eggspecting Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello everyone,
    this is my first post and I am sorry it is not advice given but advice needed. I have many questions....I have learnt alot about chickens since reading on these forums over the past few months so thought it the best place to ask. I am new to keeping chickens and have a 7 girls and a cockerel, Mr Clarence. One of the Blue Marans decided to go broody the day we went on holiday for a week. All 7 girls lay there eggs in the same spot so she is sat on at least one egg from each chicken. I even think there are more that have been added over the week. Even though I had a friend take care of them she dosent have much information for me. Another brown hen is sat in the nest next to her and has also gone broody some time during the week. I have no idea how many eggs each are sat on. Should I try to move them or just leave them alone ? They are both very aggresive when I lift the lid. Two eggs rolled out when my blue Maran was doing a shift swap with a little black hen who seems to sit on the eggs whilst the Blue has a break. Unfortunatly I keep missing this shift change. Also I am not sure if during this shift change the black hen lays an egg each day. I attempted to candle the two escaped eggs but neither egg looked like any of the pictures of candled eggs that I have seen. One had a mass of black so I put that back in the nest for her to scoop under her wing. The other, which didn't look like anything was going on, I cracked. This one was all liquid with no seperation from white to yolk and had a cluster of viens so I think I cracked a potential chick :0(...feeling really bad I now do not trust my candling skills so think I should just leave them all alone. But I heard that bad eggs can contaminate the rest. Help.....
    Another thing... If all the eggs are fertile and progressing and the first days eggs all hatch on the same day , will the older eggs just get left or will she sit until they all hatch ?
    Sorry for so many questions
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Ideally, when you get a broody, you need to separate her and let her get settled in the new lace. This gives her a safe place to hatch her eggs, wher the others won't jostle, add to, steal, break, etc. her eggs. Also, she can't return to the wrong nest after getting up for her once a day outing to eat, etc. Let her stay overnight to be sure moving didn't break her broodiness, then put all the eggs you want to hatch under her at once. They don't need a lot of space, just enough for a nest food, water, and room to walk a little for the exercise. When the chicks hatch, you can put her back with the flock and let her raise the chicks there. That way, when she stops mothering, which will usually be well before the chicks are full size, the chicks will already be integrated into the flock.

    Obviously, it's a little late for this, for you right now. I just wanted to start with what has worked for me. If they collect eggs on their own, they will be at different stages of development. Once a few chicks have hatched, usually about a day after the first chick, the mama will abandon any unhatched eggs to raise her chicks.

    I'm not sure what I'd do in your situation. I might just toss the eggs, collect a few more over a week or so, get her or them set up in a broody pen, then put the eggs under her all at once. If you still have two broodies at that point, you can try making a pen for both of them, or make two pens. They may very well do fine together. They may even switch nests and share chicks. You just won't know til you try. If you want to mark the eggs, a Sharpie is fine.

    I let my hens set on eggs and hatch and raise chicks in the coop the first couple of times. I was in the coop several times a day to move hens who had returned to the wrong nest, remove new eggs, chase unbroody hens off the hatching nest, etc. It certainly wasn't ideal, but I did get some chicks.

    You could also try letting them hatch what they're sitting on. Keep in mind that if a chick dies during development (or doesn't develop,) the egg may really go bad and may explode -- and there are not a lot of messes worse than this. I've never had it happen, knock on wood. I've had broodies eat an egg occasionally. I think she probably sensed the egg was no good, maybe from a temperature difference, and just "cleaned up" her nest.

    There is a lot of good info in the sticky in the Incubating and Hatching Eggs forum. This thread on how to tell if an egg is fertile can be found there, along with candling information, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Blarneyeggs

    Blarneyeggs Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow Flockmaster, great info!

    Eggspecting, I wouldn't doubt your candling efforts, I had the hardest time candling until I broke down and bought the highest lumens that Walmart had available for $25, now I can see into both my Marans eggs and OEs.

    If you intend to continue with this hatch, mark the eggs under your broody so she's not continually gathering eggs until her last day. They say to use pencil, but I find that under a broody, marker is necessary and doesn't wear off. Also, if you have access to an incubator, get it up and running just before hatch day, that way if your broody leaves eggs that are actively hatching (first time broody mistake) you can keep those eggs in the incubator and either hatch them yourself and slip the chicks back under Momma at night, or slip the eggs back at night when she settles for the evening.
     
  4. Eggspecting

    Eggspecting Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 1, 2013
    Thank you both for the information and advice. The two broodies are in the same coop so I have shut them in for now with food and water. The rest use a different coop so in the evening I will shut the rest in and let the broodies out ...if they want to strech there legs. Next task is to try to see what is underneath. Thick gloves I think....
    I did not know you could sneak chicks into a mother hens nest so I will buy an incubator to bring on any remaining eggs that do not hatch in time. There would be a 6 day difference, at most, if other hens were laying each day in her nest but the second broody set on her eggs 6 days after the first hen so hopefully she can have the late arrivals from the first group...confused. I am.
    How old should the chicks be before I intergrate them into the nest ?
    Thank You
     

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