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Where, when and how do I introduce 6 hatching eggs to my broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by les Mains, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. les Mains

    les Mains New Egg

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    May 19, 2012
    Can't find an exact answer on the forum so:

    I have an Orpie several days broody in my flock of five hens (no cock) in a hen-house that opens by automatic pop-hole onto an open run (not predator or bird safe). Normally the hens are allowed to run on 1/3 acre freely from lunchtime to when they take themselves back. I've ordered six commercial hatching eggs. I also have a second coop with run (predator safe) that's presently not in use.

    I was thinking of putting the hatching eggs in the second coop then in the evening lift the broody from her nest and transfer her to the hatching eggs. Is that the best way?
    Presently she's sitting on one fake egg and a couple of infertile eggs. Should I transfer these too, or won't she notice they've gone?
    Should she be kept confined in the second coop with run with food and water, i.e. cut her off from free ranging or is it safe to let her run with the other hens?
    Is there a risk that the other hens will want to join her in the second coop if I leave it open in the day?

    It seems a bit cruel to cut her off from free-ranging but then again the coop with run is very nice and large!

    Thank you in advance for any help and advice.
     
  2. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    Could you not leave her where she is? If you mark your fertile eggs and check daily to see if other hen's are laying there (and remove them) then it's likely the optimal way to go as chicks hatched with the flock are integrated from day 1. Your broody may or may not accept being moved. Tried with mine last week and she refused point blank (I wanted her to hatch in the main coop, but she had other ideas).

    Ct
     
  3. les Mains

    les Mains New Egg

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    May 19, 2012
    Problem is when the chicks are old enough to go through the pop hole they are at risk from birds (magpies and some prey birds) and cats. Doesn't feel quite right to me as a nursery. If I put the broody in with the fertile eggs and put her on top, tonight, presumably she'll sit on them?
     
  4. CTKen

    CTKen Monkey business Premium Member

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    No harm in trying :confused:
     
  5. cooleo

    cooleo Just Hatched

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  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    The broody hen should keep them together and protect them once they hatch. One of my broodies actually tried to fight off a bear!
    [​IMG]
    This is her with her chicks the first time she took them out of the run. They were just 5 days old.
    And I never separate my broodies from the flock. Keeping her with the flock while brooding ensures that she maintains her position in the pecking order, and the other adults ignore the babies for the most part.
     
  7. cooleo

    cooleo Just Hatched

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    Yes exactly always keep her where she is at
     
  8. cooleo

    cooleo Just Hatched

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    beware if it's a first time mama she might attack new baby chicks always keep an eye on her she might get confused and think its a predator attacking her eggs if this happens remove all babies right away when she's done and babies are dry and walking around then re introduce usually they are great moms after the initial sitting I was shocked when this happened and she killed two before I noticed after that pulled them raised inside for a few days introduced to diff mom w babies they ran out of cage and went running to their mom they went in and mom and babies super happy and immediately started caring for them sometimes their just confused good luck love your chicks SO SUPER CUTE
     
  9. les Mains

    les Mains New Egg

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    May 19, 2012
    Thanks for that. Forgive my inexperience but I'm puzzled how the chicks get fed in the very early days. My coop has eight nesting boxes, four on each side, a few inches over the coop floor. Here is a picture also showing the broody (an Opington). We keep the straw bedding pretty clean but inevitably the floor gets a fair bit of poo, even overnight. The perches are very low, as you see but the hens don't seem to mind.



    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Once the eggs have hatched - maybe six of them - how are they going to get food and water? Will the mother take them out? Outside the coop there is a run but the protection is for adult hens and there is no netting over the top. There are trees overhead and often we have magpies that can be savage. We have a cat who never tries it on with the hens but she would take a chick given half a chance.

    Regarding the pecking order, the mother is an Orpington - we have two Orpies - and both of them are right at the bottom of the pecking order as they are with marans. Since she's already at the bottom of the pecking order she can't get any lower.

    As an aside, the new eggs are marans but I presume that won't be an issue?

    Thank you folks for helping me. It's very new territory for us!
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Overrun With Chickens

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    I set a waterer and a small dish of feed in the coop, about a foot from the nest, 48 hours after the first hatch. As far as the run goes, you'll need to add some 'cover' spots. A pile of branches and twigs works well to mimic a low growing shrub. When the chicks are with mom, she's their duck and cover spot. But once those chicks are about 3 to 4 weeks old, they are on their own.
    If you were to remove the hen while brooding, reintroducing back to the flock becomes a real issue. She will essentially be a stranger to the flock at the end of 3 weeks. If you wait till the chicks are old enough to be introduced, they will be too old for their mother to even consider protecting. She'll be too busy trying not to get beat up, herself. It's a much smoother process if you allow her to brood in the coop, with constant access and contact with the flock.
    One thing I do suggest, is to put her in a small pet carrier or crate while brooding, so that the other birds can't really pick on her or add to her clutch. It also helps keep overly curious beaks away from hatching babies.
     

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