Will my chicks be able to hatch when the mother is sitting on them?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Ashleigh2904, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Ashleigh2904

    Ashleigh2904 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    I realize this is probably a strange question but my hens are sitting on roughly 20 eggs between them, one is cheeping, the others are at various stages of development due to other hens laying eggs and these two broodys stealing them [​IMG]

    What I want to know though, is say my one little cheeper does decide to eventually hatch, will he be able to if the hens are sitting on him?

    I've been contemplating bringing the hens+eggs inside and setting them up in the large dog crate so theyre away from the other hens and rooster. My nest boxes are probably a foot off the ground and I'm worried if anyone does hatch out they'll fall down and get hurt/die. But I don't want to interfear and put my hens off sitting. Advice please? And how long will chicks cheep before hatching?! It's driving me crazy being able to hear him but not see him, I know hes alive and soaking up the last of the yolk and blood vessels and I was a bit naughty and singled out the cheeper an put him to my ear and heard a little tapping so I think hes trying to get out but hes taking so long I'm worried about him suffocating or something. I know he's been cheeping since .. 7 or 8 pm last night, its 3pm now, how long before I should worry? Well, worry more :D

    Sorry this is so long! Just, excitement/nerves, this is my first hatch!

    thank you for any advice given :)
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hens have been hatching chicks for thousands of years by sitting on them. Don’t be concerned about that at all.

    It sounds like you did a lot of things wrong with this hatch. I’m not picking on you, hopefully helping a bit. When a hen goes broody in the future, if you decide to let her incubate and hatch with the flock, you need to gather all the eggs you want her to hatch, mark them, and start them all at the same time. Then every day you need to look under her and remove any eggs that are not marked.

    I think you have two or more hens setting on 20 or so eggs that have all been incubating for different lengths of time. It’s next to impossible to tell you what will absolutely happen, but what I think is most likely to happen is that one or a few chicks will hatch, and the hens will take the first hatched chicks off the nest in a day or two to find food and water and just abandon the remaining unhatched eggs. Someone once posted that when they had your situation one hen stayed in the unhatched eggs while the other took the hatched chicks off, but I sure would not count on it.

    I think if I were in your situation and had the facilities to do it, I’d take one of the hens and the first chick or two after it has dried off and set them up where the other hen cannot hear them. If she can hear the chick she may go looking for it and abandon the other eggs. You can keep removing chicks as they hatch and dry off and give them to the first hen for a few days. But eventually she will stop accepting the new chicks and you will need to just let the second hen hatch some and come off or raise them in a brooder yourself.

    Frankly you have a mess. You are not likely to get a perfect outcome. There are risks involved with anything you do. I think the above approach gives you a fairly good chance to salvage what you can out of it.

    I really do wish you luck. With this experience your next broody hatch will go much better.
  3. Ashleigh2904

    Ashleigh2904 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 21, 2012
    Thank you so much for the advice, this wasn't in the slightest planned out and I realize its a mess. I went away for about two weeks and left my mother with my chickens and strict instructions, upon my return I had two broody hens and a lot of eggs and my mother going "oh Im meant to check under them?" Obviously, I shouldn't have made the assumption she would think to do that.
    I candled then and took out what I could. I did mark them then and have been taking out the ones I can every so often, not wanting to interfere too much.

    I like your suggestion about separating the hens and hadn't though about that. I think I'll try this when the time comes.
    I hope the one that's cheeping in the egg makes it despite still not having pipped, but I am unsure about the others as there is no noise, and no pipping, but as they're all at difference stages they could just be behind, I've about 4 where the egg is almost completely black like the cheepers. But none may hatch out, even the little noisey one and if thats the case, i'll be disappointed but wiser for the future I like to think and so will my mother.

    Again, thank you for the advice. I don't at all feel picked on, I'm glad someone was able to be honest with me rather than sugar coating it and making it seem like everything will be okay when it most likely won't be.

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