What should I do??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by smk2010, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. smk2010

    smk2010 Out Of The Brooder

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    I am new with all this stuff so any and all advice will be greatly appreciated!!!
    One of my hens has started brooding (been on eggs for 7 days). We have 6 hens that are laying, 1 big rooster, and 10 five month old pullets. I assume the soon to be mamma hen is laying on almost 20 eggs right now since we did not get any eggs at all for 3 days and only 2 on the fourth day. We have 8 laying boxes but they all seem to like to share the same box. If mamma is indeed laying on aprox 15-20 eggs, how safe is it going to be to leave her and the soon to hatch chicks in the coop with the other chickens? Also, the box her and the eggs are in is about 3 feet off the ground. Is it safe to move both mamma chicken and the eggs to a new location or should I wait until they hatch?

    Thank You!!!!!
    SMK
     
  2. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    I can't speak for anyone but myself, so I'll just tell you what I did this spring.

    I moved the hen and eggs to a nest I made in a cage large enough for the nest, feed and water. The cage was about 2.5' up in an open front coop. Easy access for me! All the other hens and the rooster could be all around but not bother her and not keep laying eggs around her. I removed the eggs she couldn't keep covered and left Her Majestic Grumpiness to do her job. Once a day I would risk my life by forcing her out of the cage for a dustbath and walk.

    She only had 2 eggs hatch, so I was able to keep her and the chicks in the cage until the chicks were 2 weeks old. Then I moved the cage to ground level and propped the door open enough for the chicks to go in and out. After a week of that the other hens ignored the chicks, except for the occasional disciplinary peck on the butt.

    18 years of raising chickens and that was my first broody hen! Apparently it's contagious, because 3 others have now gone broody and I have no more room for chickens. [​IMG]
     
  3. YB192004

    YB192004 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is always a pecking order in the coop and you don't want any hen to peck at the little chicks. For the safety of the soon to hatch chicks, you should move her and the nest out of the coop and closer to the ground.
     
  4. smk2010

    smk2010 Out Of The Brooder

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    Moving them is not going to harm the eggs or cause the hen to abandon them will it?
     
  5. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    smk*, I don't know about moving them because my broody made her own nest in a hay bale when she started sitting on the eggs, so thankfully I didn't have to worry about moving them from the nesting box, which is about 3' off the ground like yours.

    But I will say that when they hatch they need a separate apartment to live in. Those hens can be really mean to the chicks! One of my hens went up to a chick and flung it several feet when they were tiny babies. The best apartment I know of is a dog crate placed inside the coop. My (large) dog crate did not fit in the coop due to its design, so I had it outside next to the coop wrapped in tarps, and that worked well until week 5 when a raccoon came along and snapped off the head of one of the chicks who got too close to the bars. After that I just let them in the big coop and they've done okay.

    The other thought is that 20 eggs is probably too many for your hen to keep sufficiently covered. We had about 16 eggs, and only 8 hatched successfully. I suspect and have read that if they have too many eggs, and then they rotate them, there are always some eggs that stick out the edges and get cooled off. That can ruin a lot of developing eggs. If I were you, I might steal a few out from under her when she's not looking, just to ensure the remaining eggs have a good chance.

    Also, 8 chicks was a real lot for my hen to look after. Esp. as they grew a bit, they would insist on sleeping under her, etc., and I felt so sorry for her.
     
  6. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a hen who sat in february, all the chickens in her coop would lay next to her to lay their eggs. Eventually, another hen sat right next to her and they were broody together on the same clutch.
    I had built a new coop and moved both hens with all 20 eggs into a dog crate and placed them in the coop with the flock. 5 hatched out, one died on day 2 (no idea why). I separated them from the flock and even took away the non-original setter cause she was being mean to the chicks and mama was not protecting them.
    now, keep in mind, if that many eggs are under her...they were all laid at different times and will not all be fully developed at the same time. I had quite a few eggs that had almost fullly developed chicks in them after she got off the nest to care for her chicks. I decided not to finish hatching those as those eggs had sat uncovered for about 48 hrs. (kinda wishin I had though) If you take some eggs away, unless you know which ones were laid 1st, idk how that will turn out, would be my luck to remove all the furthest developed ones.

    so....yes, it's ok to move them
    ...away from the flock
    ...take away some eggs? idk
     
  7. Eifelhexe

    Eifelhexe Out Of The Brooder

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    you should move her to a place were the the other chickens cant bother her or lay their eggs into her nest.Wich will often end up with many broken eggs .
    if you dont have a seperate room just build something around her so she has enough place to eat,drink,poop and maybe a little dustbath.

    when i move a broody hen, i just take the eggs ,put them on the new nest ,bring the hen to that nest and i never had one stop breeding because of the moving.
     
  8. smk2010

    smk2010 Out Of The Brooder

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    I think tonight if I don't have at least 4 eggs in another box I will move her and most her eggs to my Keet pen and boot the keets into the coop - they have been wanting out anyway. I know at least 2-3 eggs are poking out so I will plan to remove them and a few others during the move and see what happens. Sure hope she keeps brooding and hatches out the rest. Anyone have any idea how to tell what eggs are the newer ones? A candle or flashlight in the dark a few inches away maybe?
     
  9. Eifelhexe

    Eifelhexe Out Of The Brooder

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    May 23, 2010
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  10. smk2010

    smk2010 Out Of The Brooder

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    WOW - thats great information! I'll be sure to flashlight candle them tonight so that I can put only the good and more advanced eggs in the new nest. Sure wish I had a way of hatching out the rest. Thanks Again!!
     

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