Surrogate Mother Hens

Miz Pack Fan

In the Brooder
Jan 16, 2016

I had 5 hans. Two of them were sitting on fertile eggs, two are being broody but sharing the same nest and the last is laying but not ready to start setting full time yet. Last night, I lost one of my hens sitting on fertile eggs. I think a bobcat may have gotten her. She left behind 18 eggs in her nest. I covered them with a heaping pile of grass clippings and left them last night, hoping the hen was just scared off nest and would return before morning, but no such luck. So, I carefully gathered the eggs, that only have about 10-12 days left until hatch, and took half of them and laid them before my other hen sitting on fertile eggs. I took the other half and laid them before my two broody hens, sharing a nest. Then I waited and watched. My hen sitting on fertile eggs immediately took in the orphans. The broodies didn't. So I left and went back a little later to see if they'd taken in the other half of the orphans and they had. My question is this: What are the chances of these eggs still harching? And what are the chances of the orphaned ducklings being treated equal to the rest of the ducklings? I dont know if anyone else has encountered this particular situation before, but any advice you could give me to ensure the best possible outcome for the ducklings and hens, would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
The thing is if the eggs that sat alone over night got cold the embryos will die....The Hen that is still laying is not broody ...She is just laying eggs....You don't just put the eggs in front of the Hen, you tuck them under her..The things with doing that all the eggs need to be due within two days or once the Babies hatch she will abandon the nest to care for the first ones......

Hope I made sense?......
Thanks for the information. I have one hen who is just laying eggs but two others who are sitting on eggs full time and I know for a fact that the one hen's eggs are not fertile, yet she still sits on them full time. And she and the other 'broody' hen are on the same nest. I didnt tuck the eggs under them because Ive never had this situation before so was unsure how to act but knew I had to do something fast if I were to have any chance of saving the embryos. Luckily, all the hens tucked the eggs I laid before them under themselves. Now I know, should this ever happen again, to tuck the eggs under them. So, worst case scenario, the orphaned embryos die and therefore don't hatch. But the other eggs should still hatch and once they do and are ready to leave the nest, the hen wont srick around for eggs that didn't hatch. The hen with fertile eggs started setting full time aeound the same time as the hen I lost last night, so if all the eggs hatch, they should hatch within a day or so of each other. The one broody hen didnt start setting full time until recently. She was hopping between two nests at first. Her own and the one belonging to the other broody hen whose eggs are not fertile. I wanted to put all the orphaned eggs with the best hen (the one with the fertile eggs herself) but was worried she wouldnt be able to keep all her eggs and all 18 of the orphaned eggs warm. Ive only had ducks for 2 years and am still learning every day. I had only one hen lay and hatch eggs last year so before now, its been my only experience with ducks hatching their own eggs. I can recognize broodiness because i experienced it last year with 2 hens whose eggs were not fertilized. I candled them to know this for sure.

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