Staggered hatch, hen won't leave nest with chicks a week later.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by nikchick, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. nikchick

    nikchick Out Of The Brooder

    94
    4
    41
    Jun 29, 2015
    West Tn
    Our broody started hatching out chicks last sunday. Between Sunday and Wednesday, 4 hatched out, but even now, on Friday, she won't leave the other eggs that have not hatched out. I have put out a waterer and chick feed for the chick's and broody still comes off the nest once a day. My question is, do I need to remove the other eggs so she will come off the nest with the baby chicks?
     
    Mamahenning10 likes this.
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    17,138
    5,539
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    This is the problem with a staggered hatch -- you will either need to remove the hatched chicks and brood them in a brooder while she continues to set the remaining eggs or remove the remaining eggs (sacrifice or incubate artificially). Have you determined if the remaining eggs are viable?
     
    Mamahenning10 likes this.
  3. goalaimethic

    goalaimethic Just Hatched

    26
    6
    16
    Aug 19, 2016
    Normally hens instinctively abandon eggs that don't hatch. If her eggs started hatching on Sunday, then it's pretty odd that she's still sitting until Friday (today), even when the last hatch was 2 days ago. If the unhatched eggs are duds then toss them out. It's going to be tough, but candling them might provide some insight. If the eggs are well over 22 days I'd say it'd probably be best to remove the eggs so the already hatched chicks can have their mother's full attention.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    10,253
    3,338
    461
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    This recently happened in my flock. My broody sat on just three eggs. It was an afterthought to give her these eggs, and two had been refrigerated while one had been laid the day she began to sit.

    Just one egg hatched on day 20. I gave it 24 more hours for the other two to hatch, then removed them. Until I removed the eggs, she was determined to keep sitting on them. As soon as they were removed, her attention began to focus on her single chick. I think it also helped that I moved the pair to another, larger nest on the floor of the coop. She was fine with that, too.

    The two unhatched eggs were not viable, by the way. One appeared to be unfertilized while the other had a partially developed embryo. I have no doubt she would have continued to sit on the eggs if I had not removed them. As it is, she has been a doting mama to her chick, who is now eight weeks old and still being cared for.
     
  5. nikchick

    nikchick Out Of The Brooder

    94
    4
    41
    Jun 29, 2015
    West Tn
    The eggs left all seem viable, but about a week behind based on air cell development. That's what is making it so hard to make a decision. I know I'm culling the chicks in the shell if remove them but I'm leaving them to be behind in maturity and potentially picked by older chicks if I don't remove them. I don't have an incubator to put them in or that would have been my first choice and the amount of time it would take me to get one would be about the same amount of time they have until they should hatch. Right now, I have broody in a dog crate and a pen around it. The chicks can come out if they want, but she makes a distressed cluck when they do, like she wants them to stay in the crate with her while she sits on her eggs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  6. nikchick

    nikchick Out Of The Brooder

    94
    4
    41
    Jun 29, 2015
    West Tn
    So, I just candled eggs again and now see why she didn't want to get off the other eggs. One is very clearly pipping into its air cell at this moment. Just goes to prove Brooody is much smarter than I gave her credit for.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

    10,253
    3,338
    461
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I would be tempted to let the broody do what she's inclined but keep a close eye on her behavior with her staggered hatch.

    Broodies are all different. You may have a very intense mama that will care for all the chicks equally regardless of age. But be prepared to intervene and brood them yourself if she begins rejecting any.

    I would have a heating pad cave system set up just in case you need it, and I would brood any rejects right next to the broody and her other chicks so all of them know they belong to the same flock which will make integration much easier in a few weeks hence.
     
    Mamahenning10 likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by