When do I take the eggs away from broody mama

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by NorCalGal, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. NorCalGal

    NorCalGal New Egg

    Jan 24, 2011
    I've had one chick hatch, (and keep on having dreams of the other ones hatching [​IMG] There are 7 eggs left. It has been about a week since the first chick. My Rooster is very...he's happy with every hen. I just don't know when to take the eggs away,, since I think its 5 days since I seperated the the broody hen, and the others were still laying in the same nest. AND, if she continues to be broody, should I place fertile eggs under her? How long do they stay broody? Will they still sit while she has a chick? Sorry about such stupid questions, but they just dont talk about this in the books I have. Thank you for any info. By the way, my 1 chick is sooo beautiful![​IMG]
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm not totally sure what is going on with yours, but I'll try.

    It takes about 21 days from when incubation starts until an egg hatches. It can vary a bit, but about 21 days. My much preferred method is to mark all the eggs I want a broody to hatch and put them all under her at the same time so they will hatch about the same time. I check under her daily to remove any other eggs that show up. That's why I mark them. Then, the broody can raise them when they hatch. The chicks can survive a couple of days easily after hatch on the absorbed yolk, so Mama has time for the later arrivals to hatch before she abandons the nest.

    If you put new eggs under her after others have started, it still takes the new eggs 21 days to develop and hatch. What usually happens is that the broody takes the first chicks to hatch off the nest and abandons the rest. She has to find them food and water after two or three days or they will die. Any developing but unhatched eggs die. If you remove the chicks as they hatch and dry off, she may stay on the nest and hatch the late ones, but she may not. And then you have to raise the chicks in a brooder. I much prefer the broody raise her chicks instead of me doing it.

    It is hard on a hen to be broody. She does not eat, drink, or exercise as much as when she is not broody. Some people have weighed their hens and find that the hen lost about 30% of her body weigh while hatching the eggs. In that weakened condition, the broody is more susceptible to parasites. A broody will often stay on a nest for many weeks until the eggs hatch and do OK, but I like to give them fertile eggs, let them hatch them, and let her finish that part so she can eat and drink. The chicks will make sure she gets exercise.

    Hope this helps a bit.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  4. NorCalGal

    NorCalGal New Egg

    Jan 24, 2011
    Thank you for all the great info!

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