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When to put eggs under broody hen and judging broodiness

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by DenverChickens, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. DenverChickens

    DenverChickens In the Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Thank you BYC members - your help is so valuable! Sorry if this has been answered, but I'm having trouble finding an answer in the posts.

    I have three hens in my first flock of 15 month old chickens who are broody now. I have a Dark Brahma, who has never been a good layer, broody for 3 weeks, a Buff Orpington broody for 2 weeks and a GLW broody for 3 days (this is the 3rd time she's been broody). All are sitting on nothing but the occasional egg from other hens that I remove daily. They don't leave their nest but for a few minutes a day. I'm considering getting some fertile eggs (I'm in the city with no rooster) and seeing if I can have a hen hatch some.

    Am I too late to put eggs under them? Will a hen who has been broody for 3 weeks continue to incubate eggs for another 3 weeks? Would you choose one hen over the other? Do certain behaviors indicate a hen would be a better incubator or is more broody? For instance, my Buff fluffs her feather out more, splays her legs out in the nest, and is more reluctant to allow me to get eggs out from under her - does that mean she's more broody?

    And finally, do I put a clutch of non-fertile eggs under the hen for a few days, then switch it out with fertile eggs? Or is it enough that they are surely broody and I can just slip the fertile eggs under one of them?

    Thanks for helping!
     
  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

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    Jul 10, 2009
    Just slip 8 to 12 eggs under them and let nature take its course.
     
  3. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Songster

    My BO's are pretty dedicated broodies, and are supposed to be good mothers, but mine are pretty submissive in the flock. I had a difficult time choosing which of my broody hens to let set, and this year I had fertile eggs that started out under a Cochin hen (also a submissive bird, but so DESPERATE to sit that I took pity on her) but then she was driven off the nest by a more aggressive BA, who was also broody and ended up hatching them out and making a very good, VERY protective mother. It seems you just aren't going to know until you let your hens try it a few times, there is so much variation within a breed.
     
  4. DenverChickens

    DenverChickens In the Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2009
    Thank you for your replies. I think I'll start with the Buff Orpington because she seems just so dedicated. I will just give it a try and see what happens!
     
  5. MontanaGal

    MontanaGal Chirping

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    My Buff Orphington hens are very broody, so I did let one build up about 10 eggs, I found out she had help from another hen. So, I put a cap on her box so that hen couldn't continue to lay eggs in with hers.

    Anyway, I now have 2 chicks fully hatched, and another trying to hatch.

    WHAT do I do with these 3 chicks? Should I take them from her and place in a cage with feed & water until she is done with the hatching? If so, I have a heat lamp I can set up for them. I am going to let her raise them, I think. It will depend on what you guys tell me to do on here. I feel bad for her that she hatches them, and then I would take them from her?

    Fill me in on what to do now please.

    Thanks.
     
  6. math ace

    math ace Crowing

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    Jacksonville, FL
    1st - - - Your hen will not care what eggs she sits on - - - so don't worry about switching them out.
    I have had hens who insist on sitting on golf balls.

    2nd - - - If you leave your hen in with the flock MARK her eggs. Others will lay in her box and she may still eggs from others too.
    I used a pencil and put a big X on the ones I wanted her to hatch.

    3rd - - - Keep chicks with hen or separate with heat lamp. I have done both and it is MUCH MUCH easier to
    let mama raise her the natural way. She keeps her the perfect temperature. She teaches her to eat and drink.
    We let mom and chick free range ( with us watching) for about 1- 2 hours a day after the first week.
    This is an amazing thing. The mom will make a special sound and the chick will come for a live treat. The mom
    teaches her how to hunt and scratch for bugs. It is just adorable to see the bonding.

    Hope this helps you.
     
  7. MontanaGal

    MontanaGal Chirping

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    Ok, so I have 2 hatched, the 3rd one must have suffocated. It was peeping when I checked yesterday morning, but dead this morning. It hadn't hatched yet, only the mouth part was visible. Should I have done something and helped with the hatching part?

    That made me sad.
     
  8. math ace

    math ace Crowing

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    Jacksonville, FL
    From most of the reports I have read - - - - helping a chick hatch does not stop the chick from dying. In other words, it is having trouble hatching because it is weak already. Helping it, will sometimes ( but not all the time ) just delay the dying process.

    Forgive yourself and just acknowledge that nature has to run its course.
     
  9. kschicks2013

    kschicks2013 Chirping

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    Fernley, Nevada
    Question. Can you make a hen broody? If so how. I have several hens that lay their eggs and sit on them for awhile or until i reach under and get them. If i purchase fertile hatching eggs can i just put them in the nest boxes where the hens are sitting?
     

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