Sneaking fertilised eggs under a broody.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ninabeast, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I have my first flock of 13-week old pullets, and I will not be keeping a roo. Looking forward to the time when I might want/need new hens, not being thrilled about the idea of brooding again, and having read horror stories about integration, I wanted to ask the experts of BYC:

    If I were to get a broody, could I slipped some purchased, fertilised eggs under her? What are the odds I'd have a successful hatch? I understand I'd have some cockerels to deal with, but I think I'm okay with that. Would this save me the brooding/integration experience? Would the flock accept the babies as a matter of course (assuming a separation period, of course...), or do you STILL have to wait until the new chicks are adult size to introduce them to the flock?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    It would be odd for a broody NOT to accept eggs, regardless of who laid them. They will even sit on duck and goose eggs. They will also (usually) accept day old chicks, if you wait til after dark and trade the eggs (or golf balls) for chicks. I've had several broodies hatch eggs, or accept feed store chicks, and all the chicks were raised in the flock by the broody with everyone else. Broody mamas are typically very good at protecting the chicks from any aggressive hens (the roosters generally help the mamas) and I've never had a chick even injured by another hen. Now, things can and do go wrong, there's no guarantee, but I think it's safe to say it usually works well.

    The mama usually stops mothering the chicks after maybe 6 weeks. The chicks are by then accustomed to being in the flock, and have gradually been wandering farther away from mama anyway.

    I currently have young chickens at around 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 7 months, all in the same coop and yard with 2 roos who are over a year, and several hens who are over 2 years. None of the chicks have a "mama" at this point, and all is peaceful. One of the many pleasures of broodies, to me, is no integration!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I suggest you read my post in this thread. We all do it differently in some ways and we all have different conditions. There is no one right answer for any of us on this topic.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=541418

    I don't slip or sneak fertilized eggs under a broody. I mark them and put them under her. I see several posts where people sneak them under her after dark, carefully doing this or that. I find if a hen is truly broody, just give her the eggs you want her to hatch. She'll take care of the rest.

    What are your odds of a successful hatch? I don't know. You are dealing with living animals and anything can happen, but my broodies almost always do better than I can with an incubator. Other than the time a snake ate the eggs out from under my broody, they have always done better than me with an incubator. If you can find fertile eggs locally instead of having them shipped in, I think your odds improve greatly. You can post on here and maybe find somebody local, but I really recommend you find your state thread under the "Where am I? Where are you?" topic and talk to people on there. You can usually find fertile eggs real close by. Your problem is more likely to be deciding which fertile eggs you want to go pick up.

    If you check my other post in the link above, I think it answers your other questions as well as I can.

    I will mention that sometimes integration is a true horror story, but sometimes it goes so well that you wonder what all the fuss was about. Usually it is somewhere in between, but many of us don't have real horror stories. I free range mine, which means no fences. I just integrated 8 week olds hatched in an incubator and raised in a brooder with a flock that has a rooster and hens, plus I had a broody with chicks less than a week old. One of the 8 week olds was even a Midget White turkey. I won't say it was totally without any problems, but it went really well. Sometimes chickens die during integration, but not usually.
     
  4. Cadjien_De_Louisiane

    Cadjien_De_Louisiane SWLA Gamefowl Breeder

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    Ive done it you can slip her some eggs. Last time I collected 6 eggs set them in a nesting box and wait for one to go in first and set.
     
  5. nobodyherebutuschickens

    nobodyherebutuschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broodies really aren't that picky about what they sit on. My RIR was sitting on a big ROCK for goodness sake... I also know of a pair of geese that hatched and raised two ducklings, which was adorable. I got some eggs from a neighbor with several roos, and all 6 hatched yesterday. [​IMG] [​IMG] They are currently living in a big dog crate away from the flock, and I'm not quite sure how or when I'm going to integrate them into the rest of the chickens.
     
  6. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much! I have a hankering for some breeder-quality lav/blue/black orps, and chicks are hard to come by, so I might just do this, when the time comes we need more hens. I mean, we haven't even had our first eggs yet. Talk about counting your chickens before they're hatched!
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  7. ninabeast

    ninabeast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Ridgerunner! Both very informative posts...
     
  8. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I let them sit on wooden eggs for a few days, to make sure they're really serious, and to let them get into the groove. A couple of months ago, I had three girls setting - I walked in with a basket of eggs, took their wooden eggs away, and parceled out the real ones. "One for you, and one for you..." I put the eggs next to them, and they rolled them under! That's so funny to watch!
     

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