Will a broody hen take care of hatched chicks AND unhatched eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by metalman488, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. metalman488

    metalman488 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2014
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    I have a hen and a roosted that I am breeding, so I am getting one, hopefully, fertilized egg a day. I have another hen that happened to be broody, so I gave the fertilized eggs to her, but since I am getting one a day that means that their hatch dates will be different, so I was wondering what the broody hen will do when one or two hatch and the others don't yet. Will she take care of the eggs AND the chicks, or will she pick one of the groups to take care of?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    She will pick one of the groups to take care of, normally the hatched chicks but not always. The chicks can go three days or so without eating or drinking after hatch because they absorb the yolk so she could hatch a few chicks.

    Before she goes broody a hen can lay an egg a day for over two weeks before she starts to incubate them. You can store the eggs until you get enough to hatch before you start any of them, just collect them every day and store them pointy side down in a reasonably cool place. When you have enough put them all under the broody hen at the same time.
     
  3. metalman488

    metalman488 Out Of The Brooder

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    The only problem is that I already put the eggs under her, one every day. The first one is eight days old and the newest is one day old. There are five eggs total, so should I take the chicks away and put them in a brooder when they hatch? Sorry, I'm new to hatching eggs.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    There are a few different ways you could handle it. You could just let nature take its course but that is pretty cold.

    You can take the chicks away as they hatch and dry off and hope she stays on the nest to hatch the others. She might stay, she might not. You’ll need to brood them yourself, at least the first ones that hatch. You can try to let her raise the last two or three. The hen and chicks bond to each other while they are on the nest. Sometimes a broody hen will adopt any chick she sees of about any age, sometimes she will attack any chick she has not bonded with, and sometimes she will just ignore a chick she has not bonded with without attacking it. They are living animals so no one can tell you exactly what will happen. Many of us have been really successful putting chicks a couple of days old under a broody at night. Occasionally there are failures. You can try to give her the older chicks to see if she will accept them but be ready to intervene if it does not go well. These staggered hatches can be pretty messy in an incubator but are worse under a broody.

    You can get an incubator and try to incubate and hatch any eggs left after she abandons the nest. How long the eggs are OK after the hen abandons the nest will depend on the weather but they are often good for a few hours.
     
  5. metalman488

    metalman488 Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay well I guess I will have to see how it goes then. Thank you for your help.
     

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