To Hatch or not To Hatch...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bobbi-j, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    So, the broody that hatched out the one chick in June finally weaned him a few weeks ago, and I think I've gotten a total of 10 eggs from her. Today, I think she's broody again. She's on the nest, pancaked out, giving me the stink eye and tried to amputate my hand when I checked under her for eggs. (She left a bruise!) She did this two years ago. Hatched in June, broody again in August. Everything in me says, "You've got a broody, use her!" But I think I'm already maxed out for the winter. On the other hand, last time she did this was two years ago. I didn't let her hatch that August, and she didn't go broody at all last year. I thought I'd broken her for good. I already have 10 pullets and a cockerel for each coop this winter (one has 8x8' living space, the other is 10x16', and can be divided into 10x7' or so pens.) Such a dilemma! I'm all for cockerels to butcher, but I hate to butcher pullets... What do y'all think - to hatch, or not to hatch?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Where are you located? It's getting too late to hatch hatch here in Wisconsin. The chicks won't be grown enough before the winter sets in. I personally prefer to not to hatch after July.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm in Western MN. I was wondering if a 3-month old chick would be feathered out enough in Dec. to withstand the cold. I have never hatched this late. I just don't want to set her back another two years for brooding.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I see you're very conflicted. Why not list the reasons in favor of letting this broody hatch some eggs in one column, and list all the reasons why it may be a bad idea in a column next to it. The column with the most reasons wins.

    Keep in mind that the broody will be on eggs for three weeks. The chicks will be hatching just as the cold fall weather is upon us. It will require a good four to six weeks after that to get the chicks fully feathered and insulated against the cold. You need to do the math.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    To be completely honest, I can't think of a single good reason to let her hatch. I have way too many chickens already. (Space-wise, we're fine. I can afford to feed them. I just don't really NEED as many pullets as I've got right now. Once they start laying, we're going to be up to our eyeballs in eggs!) It's just... she's broody! Ugh! Why can't she go broody in say, April and June instead of June and August? If she was allowed to set now, she'd hatch somewhere in early September. She'd wean the chicks around November. It can get pretty cold in early November...
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Howdy neighbor. You and I know how brutal our winters can be. Sometimes it's mild, sometimes it's not. I wouldn't risk it. I would break your broody so she has time to recover and molt before it gets too cold. Next Spring hopefully she will go broody again.
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    I know you're right. I know I shouldn't let her set. I know that the chicks would be getting weaned just as the cold is setting in... Sigh... I'll boot her off the nest tomorrow and remove the fake eggs I'd placed in hopes of enticing the pullets to start laying there. Deep inside, I know it's a bad idea. (But she's broody!) I just needed someone to talk some sense into me. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
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  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Well, I went out and booted Miss Broody Butt's broody self off the nest today. Picked her up, put her on the floor and she turned into a chicken pancake. Flattened herself out and glared at me. I got her egg (she laid one today - I know it's her because she's my only green egg layer) and the fake eggs out of the nest, turned around to take care of them and she was right back in there. So, I took her out and put her in the cool, wet grass. (It had just rained) She puttered around, ate a bit, and went back to the nest. I took her out a third time, and put her back in the grass. She was probably back in the nest before I got to the house. I'll go out later and remove her again. (And again and again and again - I don't have a broody buster. Will look into one if necessary.)
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    In a pinch I’ve hung a wire dog crate from the ceiling of the coop when my other two broody busters were full of chicks. My brooder in the coop is my primary broody buster, my grow-out coop is the other. Both were occupied earlier this year.

    For what it’s worth I busted two broody hens last week in that brooder. I’m not worried about eating pullets, I do that all the time. I’m not that concerned about the chicks hatching late, though it does cost more to feed them in the winter. I’ve hatched enough chicks this year and do not need or want any more until next spring. Sometimes you just have to be firm.

    I’d have to stop and think to even know how many I have running around down there. 7 from my last broody hatch, 5 from the previous broody. 19 from the incubator hatch. That’s 31. 1 cockerel that will be next year’s rooster and 4 pullets from my first incubator hatch in February, that’s 36. Then 6 older hens. 42 chickens down there. It’s going to take a lot of freezer space I don’t have to get down to my normal 7 to 8 chicken breeding flock. Nope, I do not need to hatch any more this year.

    Your math will be different than mine, but I think you made the right decision. As someone we know often says, chicken math includes subtraction. Sometimes it also means adding zero.
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks, RR - I do have a big plastic dog crate if she's too persistent. I can always put her in that. I can't say I'm "worried" about eating pullets... I just hate to because I love getting eggs and hate the idea of killing a bird that will give them to me. [​IMG] Yes, I am greedy! I have friends and family that I love to bless with extra eggs, too.

    One thing about this hobby is, I'm always reevaluating. Went out to kick broody off the nest, and DH said, "I thought you were going to let her set." "Nope! Changed my mind again!" Poor man. He can't always keep up with all my U-turns and lane changes.
     

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