Unexpected But Not Unwelcome Broody Surprise

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ChickenManScott, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. ChickenManScott

    ChickenManScott New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2016
    Hello All,

    My Broody Buckeye finally fulfilled her destiny today and her eggs started hatching. At some point (apparently 21 days ago), she started sitting on her eggs. Not in the coop. I often have my son feed and water the chickens,11 hens and 2 roos, so I wasn't exactly sure which day she went "missing". One day I am out there and I count them up and I only get 12. I must have miscounted. The next day I count them again: 12. I look along the electric mesh fence and inward and I cannot see the missing bird. I haven't had any hawk problems yet, that is my biggest fear and I start to get upset because this would be the second bird I've lost (I lost one on Day 2 after getting them - I never could tell why). Then I walk through the middle of the woods enclosed by the fence and I spot her deep in the thorn bushes. Then I realize she's not dead! :) That night I go out there fully intending to move her to the coop and pick up the few eggs she must have accumulated. I finally get to her and start to pick her up when I realize she's not sitting on just 3 or 4 eggs - there must be over 10! I kind of panic and I set her back down on them. I come away bleeding from 4 different places because of the thorns. We start putting little bowls of feed and water near her so she doesn't have to go all the way to the coop. One day my son reports that after he refilled the feeder the Broody ran into the coop to eat. He goes out and counts 23 EGGS!!! I did not think it was possible for one hen to sit on 23 eggs! Time passes. We go out to candle the eggs. I candle 5 of them. One was not fertilized, 4 were and to my utter horror I drop one onto the flashlight and crack it! We take the unfertilized egg and the broken egg back inside. We verify that the cracked egg is indeed fertilized. I figure if the 80% ratio holds, the hen might hatch 16 chicks! That seems like a LOT.

    So today I went out there to check on everything after my son reported being attacked by the roosters and lo and behold there are baby chicks out there in the thorn bush. I rush to put out my chick waterers and feeders. Within 5 minutes the Broody and several of the chicks eat from the feeders so I am happy.

    But they're under the thorn bush.
    I haven't been able to count them yet.
    And I am not sure if I should leave them out there or put them all into the coop.
    I also built an upside down box with space enough for the chicks to get under it but not the full grown chickens and I figure I could put their water and food under there but IDK if they would find it (it's about 10 feet away from where they are now).

    OK, here are some pics. (Sorry - I had to include the rooster - he's so darn pretty!)
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    Here is my upside down box. The broody and chicks are under the tarp - we had a LOT OF RAIN and I figured I had to protect her.
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    I don't even have an accurate count of the chicks yet!
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    So - Leave them where they are? Move them into the coop tonight? Put them under the box?

    They are safe because they are inside the electric mesh fence. Theoretically they could get into the coop by walking up the ramp if the mother hen leads them there...

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Thanks!

    -Scott
     
  2. AustralorpsAU

    AustralorpsAU Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How'd the chicks turn out?

    Sorry nobody replied
     
  3. ChickenManScott

    ChickenManScott New Egg

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    Aug 15, 2016
    Hey - Thanks for asking! They have turned out well, all things considered. 16 actually hatched. I lost 2 to a hawk in rapid succession. I attempted to keep them near the box by closing off an area with chicken wire all around AND over the top for protection from the hawk. They seemed to escape at will, but I didn't lose any more for a while. Then I lost 2 more. At least they've turned brown now so maybe they are not such obvious targets, and they continue to get bigger. The hawk doesn't seem to bother the full grown birds. Just the other night, after picking each of them up right after dark and depositing them inside the coop on 3 successive nights, they went in all on their own! Much rejoicing on my part since their mom was in the coop and they had been outside huddled by a tree chirping discontentedly. So I have 12 left and they are growing nicely.

    By the time they get to be full grown I think there were be too many birds in my coop (although they only really are in there overnight and have a large area (1/3 grass, 2/3 woods) to roam all day). I'll have 28 in an 8 X12 coop. So... someone is going to have to go into the freezer... necessary but it does make me sad...

    Again, thank you for asking!

    Take Care!

    -Scott
     
  4. AustralorpsAU

    AustralorpsAU Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 20, 2016
    Down Under
    Good to hear the majority survived! Sorry about your losse! I dont think I could ever put any of my birds on the chopping block because I'm a big softy but I guess for you it is necessary!

    Best Wishes[​IMG]
     

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