Suggestions on moving Broody & Peeps

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Heathercp, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2008
    Durham, NC
    I'm nervous tonight. We just finished day 21 and I don't see any signs that the four eggs our broody has been sitting on are going to hatch. No noise. Nothing. But then again, they've got a fluffed up chicken sitting on them, so that probably muffles a lot of sound.

    But lets say they do hatch... Right now they're sitting in a nest box. The other chickens leave the broody alone. It's her second clutch, but we didn't own her when she had her first, so I'm not sure how this all works. I do know that she hatched the first clutch she had before anyone knew she was setting. But I digress. She's up there about 18" over the coop floor in a not-so-big nest box and I'm wondering how on earth she's going to get her peeps down from there without killing them. I ordered one of those metal dog crates so that I can separate her and the peeps from the other hens in the coop, but I didn't dare move her while she was setting. She just seemed so content in her nest box.

    So what should I do when they hatch? (I'm really crossing my fingers that they will.) Will she keep them with her for a day before she tries to get out of the nest box? And can I just grab her and them and put them in the crate? Ugh.

    Any suggestions would be oh, so welcome [​IMG]
     
  2. kimb

    kimb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I moved all my broodies to the floor after they've decided they want to set for a while - I too fear how they'd make the "leap" and heaven forbid one should "fall" out and then if it makes it - it surely isn't going to make it for long with the other chickens around.

    When I move my broody and her peeps I catch the broody first (since she can be down right mean - but I can't blame her) ... I hold her in one hand and catch the chicks in the other and put them one at a time in a bucket - then I carry the bucket'o'chicks and the broody to where I want them, pick the chicks up 1x1 out of the bucket and set them down ... and then once all the chicks are out of the bucket, carefully put the broody down and then give them some space [​IMG]

    Good Luck - If I were you, I'd probably try to move them down tomorrow - but they'll probably start to pip soon (but I have moved a pipping egg before and the chick hatched fine).
     
  3. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have a board to put across the nest opening to make a high fence, the chicks will hatch and not fall out. Once hatched, you can put the family where you want them and Mama will take care of them wherever they are.
     
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Unless the floor beneath the nest box is marble or covered in broken glass the chicks should survive an 18" drop. Then Mama will probably choose a new nest spot for them on the ground. So even *if* these chicks hatch before you know it and Mama takes them for their first outing they should survive that First Step.

    Still, I think it's ideal to have a Mama hen separated from the other adults in the flock. She may be able to defend them, and the other adults may be tolerant towards the chicks, but if either is not the case you'll have dead chicks as a result. Have the new quarters ready and plan to move the chicks after they've hatched.

    Give the eggs a few more days to see if they'll hatch. You should be able to hear peeps even through the hen, and especially to hear the hen quietly singing her lullaby to them, a gentle "buk-buk-buk".
     
  5. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 23, 2008
    Durham, NC
    Nope. No broken glass or fancy marble for my gals... [​IMG] These ladies have to make due with shavings on plywood like most everybody else.

    And as of this morning, no peeping. Just a pancake broody sitting on her eggs. Also no singing. Sigh.... I sure hope she hasn't been sitting all this time for nothing. How long would it be reasonable to wait? If there's nothing going on at day 24 should I see if I can find her some day old chicks? I'd hate to just start kicking her off the nest after sitting patiently for so long. We've only seen her off the nest three times, so I can't imagine that the eggs got too cold. I don't think they were the freshest fertile eggs though. The fellow we bought them from said something about getting them under the broody ASAP because they were approaching the end of their viability. I sure hope they're not all duds. And that at least two of the four hatch.

    I'm so conflicted. On the one hand, I know she's done it before and knows what she's doing, so I should probably just leave her the heck alone. On the other hand I want to pick her up and look because I'm curious and I'm hoping to see four fuzzy peeps - for her sake and the sake of my 11-year-old. He'll be so sad if they don't hatch.

    I guess what I really need to do is go have some coffee and breakfast and try to forget about her for a while. It'll either happen or it won't.

    Thanks for the suggestions and advice. At least I'm now not worried about what would happen to the peeps if they did hatch.
     
  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    4,726
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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I can usually tell when the chicks have hatched, or are about to hatch under the hens. There is the peeping from the chicks, the singing from the hen, and often a curious chick peeking out from under the hen's feathers. Could you just reach under the hen for a quick look? Use the flat of your hand like a spatula and lift her up just a bit. If there are chicks you will hear peeping. If no one has hatched you'll just feel whole eggs. After dark you could try to candle the eggs with a bright flashlight.

    Prepare yourself for hard pecking. Some broodies are more fierce than others. It may hurt, but won't kill you. I'd rather deal with a few pecks and be able to use my bare hands to feel the eggs/chicks and have better dexterity. Some folks use leather gloves but I'd feel too clumsy with them. These are chickens, not falcons.

    If they're all duds you could re-set her with fresher fertile eggs. Or try and see if she'll accept other day-old chicks. Or just put her in a broody buster cage, she'll soon adjust.
     

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