UPDATE post #10: What is my broody doing - I'm so bummed...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Heathercp, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's been setting on four fertilized eggs since the afternoon of May 17th. June 7th was day 21.

    Today is day 23 and it doesn't look like anything is going to happen. I don't get it, really. It's not her first clutch and we've only seen her off the nest three times - although the first time we saw her off the nest she was off for about an hour.

    Anyhoo...I just went out and closed up the coop, and I found her standing over her eggs. It's the first time I've been able to see the eggs. Usually she's all fluffed up or flattened out on top of them. I didn't hear anything coming from the eggs, but the other birds are always making noise and the night insects make lots of noise too. It was just really strange. Every other night she's been sitting on the eggs. Tonight was different.

    I reached under her and touched the closest egg - it didn't feel warm at all. Really strange, I thought. Now I'm worried that she's going to give up on hatching a clutch altogether, which is a total bummer because I've already committed to picking up three 2-day old chicks from the guys who sold us the eggs. Sigh.... We didn't really even want any more chickens. It's just that we couldn't make her quit her broodiness and I didn't want her to sit on nothing for months.

    Guess I just need to vent a bit before I go to bed. I know that the success rate for hatching eggs is a lot less than 100%, but zero for four is kind of a bummer. Guess that's better than just one peep. That'd probably be worse.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Sorry about the zero hatch. It really is a bummer when you decide to let a broody raise a clutch and ... you get nothing. I've let broodies sit with three eggs up to ten eggs at a time and I've never had more than one egg hatch. Not a good rate for me either. I have loved having the one chick each time though... it's great fun to watch momma dote completely on that little one.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't give up yet. Maybe your timing is off, or sometimes they do go over a couple of days. My experience has been that if she's standing over them, she's feeling movement, or something that indicates to her that there's something different about those eggs.....good luck, anyway.
     
  4. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know why it helps, but just getting a couple of responses to my post makes me feel so much better. I don't know what I'd do without all of you BYCers. Thanks!
     
  5. chickfan

    chickfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a hen on several eggs. I had put her on the eggs late in the day, so realized that what I thought was day 21, probably was only day 20. One hatched 2-3 days early and was dead when I found it...I have no idea what happened there. The others hatched, just a day or two late, so give it time. I honestly thought none were going to hatch at all. They hatched over a two day period also. I had promised some from this hatch to a couple of little girls, who were so excited! Of course I could have tried again, but I was really happy that they finally hatched. It is just hard to wait.....but I have found out that "21 days" can be give or take a couple of days.
    I hope to see a follow up from you, saying they did hatch after all! [​IMG]
    Good luck!
     
  6. babsbag

    babsbag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a broodie and her flock friends kept laying eggs in her nest, and I let them. After a week I marked the eggs so I would know the new ones. But when they hatched it took 4 days (she hatched out 9 of 12). It didn't start until what I thought was day 22 and then went to day 26. Just give her a few more days, she might surprise you. [​IMG]
     
  7. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Durham, NC
    My broody left her nest for a few minutes today and I was able to get a look at the eggs she was setting on.

    Of the four I had given her, only two were left. After searching around the nest box I found a broken egg, but that one hadn't developed. Yellow yolk and all that. The other egg was just gone. No sign of it whatsoever. And I would have noticed any extra shell because it was a white egg and we've only got brown egg layers.

    Anyhow, I candled the two remaining eggs and they've both got developed chicks in them, although my flashlight isn't strong enough to be able to see detail. They're just completely opaque. I wasn't able to find the air pocket either. I didn't really want to handle them all that much. I just kept thinking about how strange that must feel to be crammed in a shell and rolled around. So at this point I know that something was developing, but that it may have died before hatching. I just can't tell if they're late or dead.

    Tomorrow morning we'll drive out to pick up a couple of Buff Orpington peeps as soon as they arrive from the hatchery. Then we'll bring them back and give them to our broody. I hope she's welcoming. I am going to put her and the babies in the dog crate-cum-broody box. I'm wondering if I should stick her in there first with her eggs before I leave to pick up the peeps. Maybe I should move her in there tonight after dark. I'm just worried that if I move her, she'll quit being broody. I suppose that's not something I need to be afraid of, seeing as I couldn't get her to quit being broody in the first place. I guess I'm just nervous because we're getting so close and I do NOT want to have peeps without a mama hen. We free range here with cats and squirrels and kids running around. I could never do as good a job as a mama hen at protecting the little ones.

    I'll post again tomorrow after we've given her the "magic peeps".
     
  8. chickfan

    chickfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think there is a hard and fast rule about what the broodys will do if they are moved. We moved some last year...put two hens in separate boxes but both within the same cage. They continued to brood. I had a little bantam that seems to want to lay in the strangest places. Once she was on top of a pen that had a tin top on it. The eggs were rolling around and she had a bunch of them...more than her little banty butt could accommodate. So I moved her and moved the eggs...into a nice cage in the house with all the comforts of home. She sat on a perch all night, and finally ventured over to the eggs, but nothing ever hatched.
    Just the other day, she had done it again...this time on top of a metal cabinet with nothing at all to keep eggs (or babies) from falling off. So instead of moving her, I fashioned a box and put some hardware cloth around it (with one side of the box cut out to make sure she had plenty of air), so that the eggs would not roll off and it should hold in the babies if there was a surprise hatch. She would have nothing at all to do with it. OK....so I decided I'd scramble the eggs for all the chickens....started breaking them, and the first 6 I cracked had evidence of a baby starting to grow (blood, thicker areas, etc.) I couldn't bring myself to even look at any more (there were 12 eggs altogether). It made me so sad!
    So I would have to say you never know. I would be hesitant to move her at this moment, with the two eggs possibly being ready to hatch. Tomorrow might bring a hatched egg or two......
    Do you have any rat snakes (chicken snakes) around? If so, that might account for the loss of the one egg. DH and his two grandkids went out one afternoon, to see a 6 ft. rat snake helping himself to eggs in one of four nest boxes (and there was a chicken in one of the boxes that didn't even move). I don't know if they would go after newly hatched chicks or not, but they might.
    As before...good luck!!!
     
  9. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    I think the hen eats them sometimes if she thinks they're not going to hatch. We had a little Silver Phoenix mix banty hen who was usually broody. Her eggs would dissapear during the last couple of days prior to hatch. I think her timing was just off, she said to herself "I'm sick of this" and she'd eat em. She liked to use a camping pot in our garage, and we let her. When she would get upset and cackle about something, her voice would echo around the pot. Just a funny aside. [​IMG] I was sorry she never got to hatch any, she was so smart and personable. She dissapeared one day and we never saw her again. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2010
  10. Heathercp

    Heathercp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Durham, NC
    All's well that ends well.

    My camera is on the fritz, but I was able to post a short clip on YouTube of the peeps and broody dustbathing.

    The eggs under the broody never hatched. Two were smashed. We discovered that she was really never left alone by the other hens who kept trying to lay their eggs in the box this broody was setting in.

    I was able to get three 2-day-old Buff Orpington peeps from Sumner-Byrd Farm (if you live in the Triangle and need peeps or hatching eggs, they're super friendly and really helpful.) We brought them home, moved the broody into a dog cage with her remaining unhatched eggs and then gave her the peeps. She was ready for them - that's for sure, but it took a bit for the peeps to figure out what the big, black, feathery thing was.

    If you looked at the video, you can see that everyone is healthy and happy. We ended up building a dividing wall for our run and put the broody and her peeps AND the next broody [​IMG] in the new "maternity ward". I think they would have been fine on their own, out running around with the general population because everybody free ranges during the day... if it weren't for the cats. The tiny fuzzy butts just look too delicious. The cats were licking their lips. Literally.

    Our hens have to stop going broody though. We've got too many birds. Eight was a perfect number. Now we've got 11 - and four more on the way. Chicken math.
     

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