Staggered hatch under a broody hen?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MuscovyMad, May 21, 2012.

  1. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chirping

    Dec 2, 2010

    Just wondering if anyone knows how long a broody will stay on the nest after the first egg hatches?

    As the hen made a secret nest which a few hens started using and she began sitting on eggs. I candled the other day and got the impression that some are a few days older than others. However it's too late to tell now as they are all just dark blobs.

    So in the event that a few hatch will the broody wait a few days for the others to hatch (which will be day 21 for them)? Or will she just cut her losses and walk off with the first few? She is sat on 8 all together.

    I'm aware that all broodies are different but i figure that the first hatched chicks will need food and water after a couple of days and the mum should know that.

    I do have 2 broodies that are sitting on the same clutch in 2 nests. The original secret nest had 16 eggs in it.

    I thought that i could maybe take the first hatched ones and give them all to one broody and give her eggs to the other to hatch. Then as more hatch i could put more chicks under the hen that took the first few chicks.

    However i'm not sure if that would work or if the hen would assume the chick she felt moving around under her had died and might give up on her eggs all together. Or if she would still leave the nest after a couple of days after the first chick hatches even though it's no longer under her.

    Sorry if it's confusing.

    Any help is much appreciated.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    If you leave the chicks it is very likely that the hen will move from the nest within 24 to 48 hours. Removing the chicks as they hatch may prolong the period that she will set. Do you have an incubator?
  3. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chirping

    Dec 2, 2010
    Yes i have one. I suppose i could take the early ones and hatch them then put them under the hen wen the other ones start hatching. The only problem i have is if she doesn't take them back. As i am going to be too busy to look after them. I'm just a bit cautious as i have never successfully placed chicks under a broody before.

    Just wondered if i'd be all right risking it.

    I went out to check on them today and figured it had been a while since the hen had been off the nest so i picked her up and put her outside for a bit and discovered that she has been going to the toilet in her nest. So her eggs are now covered in poo. I have tried to wipe it off but it seems to have stained the shell, which i'm guessing means that it is in the pores. So i might end up with no chicks from her anyway.
  4. PaulaG

    PaulaG Chirping

    Oct 23, 2011
    Suffolk, UK
    I have had my first hen go broody recently and bought her some fertilized eggs! She is sitting on them and they are due to hatch in 5 days! However just reading your post has concerned me as i have not seen her off the nest for a few days, she was only popping off for literally a couple mins before and i thought maybe she hadnt lately as it was getting nearer the time.

    I have not interefered as i figured nature would take its course. I did not want to lift her off for fear that she would abandon them.

    I bought 6 hatching eggs but she pushed 1 out then decided to collect 8 of my other hens eggs! (which are not fertilized and i havent had the chance to take them out, although i have moved the other hens so she cant gather any more lol)

    I didnt know about the poo thing, is it a problem and should i move her? Or by now would it be too late and maybe i should wait and see? There are only 5 days left! I do not have an incubator :(

  5. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chirping

    Dec 2, 2010
    They can go a few days without getting off the nest to go to the toilet so i wouldn't be too alarmed. But i would advise picking her up and having a look. If you do it when it's dark it will be less stressful for her however if she is broody she is highly unlikely to give up on sitting on her eggs purely because she has been lifted up. It would also be a good time to remove the unfertile eggs so your hen doesn't stay on the nest for longer than she has to.

    I hope it goes well for you.[​IMG]

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