Unsuccessful hatching by hen

MikeWu

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 13, 2012
27
13
87
Recently one of my barred rock hens went missing. I've noticed some chickens fly over the block wall to neighbor's property and I went up the wall to install another 6 feet tall net on top to keep them in. As I was up the wall I found my missing hen, sitting in a pit shaped structure hatching eggs (neighbor is a business selling landscaping stones and have lots of piles of artificial rocks, some of them been there for years and never got moved and hens found lots of places to hide. I found many stashes of eggs all around their property later).

I was very excited because this is what I have been looking forward to. I put a sturdy plywood above her to protect her from sun and the rain. I climb over the wall to check on her every day. Occasionally I see her down with the flock, eating and drinking, or just taking a break. She normally goes back to her duty shortly.

It's about time the chicks hatch now. But tonight, as I went to check on her, to my horror, she was not there! Eggs were totally exposed to the coldness of the night! I found one dead chick in a broken shell, full of ants. I thought she must have just abandoned the eggs. I broke one egg just to see the fetal development, and the chick inside was still alive and moving! There were still 5 intact eggs and I quickly put them together, and found the broody hen in the flock, and picked her up and put her back on the eggs. She stayed there.

I just hope she'll gave it a last try and save some of the babies.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
9,787
641
Wilmington, NC
I take it you don't have an incubator, or anything that you could improvise with?

I've had eggs that got chilled right at the time they should have hatched that I put into the incubator and they hatched just fine.

Fingers crossed for your hen to finish her work!
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MikeWu

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 13, 2012
27
13
87
Thanks for all the good wishes. But as of today the hen is out and about with the flock, leaving the unhatched eggs dying. I do not have an incubator to help with the hatch. It will be too late if I purchase on online and wait for it to be shipped over.

I will construct some better broody houses and hopefully some other hens will go broody soon. I want to cultivate the natural instict in them to hatch and care for their youngs, instead of me intervene artificially.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
9,787
641
Wilmington, NC
My "incubator" is a 15 watt bulb in a clamp lamp fixture, a terracotta dish, and an aquarium thermometer in a Styrofoam cooler. I have gotten some very good hatches out of it (a few bad ones, too). Lots of folks on this forum have made their own incubators - check them out!
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gimmie birdies

Free Ranging
8 Years
Feb 12, 2013
11,428
18,516
742
Eastern WA
I have hatched all summer in a homemade bator 8"x9" box with 15w bulb clamp lamp. I dry hatch. I have 5 in on day 4 currently

these are pics from before. the lid is off. the bowl is only for safety, I did have water in the little white dish under the bowl but I dry hatch now and don't like any water in the bator, not until the pip.


 

MikeWu

Chirping
7 Years
Aug 13, 2012
27
13
87
Thanks for the suggestions. I quickly put a box and light bulbs together and put eggs in there. 3 chicks came out! Unfortunately 2 died in the broody box. One egg was probably never fertilized and got rotten, the other one with dead embryo, probably due to exposure to cold. I'm glad I saved one! He/she is really cute, and I tried to introduce the mother to the chick, but she refused to take care of it. The little baby was dying for any companion, it ran straight to the hen when I put them together, but she ran away. The baby was calm as long as I was there. When left along, it won't stop chirping. So I went to a local feed store and bought a few baby chicks to keep he/she company. Now they are growing well together.
 

MANNA-PRO

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