Will they fall down? If I move her now will she abandon them?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by vtgirls, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. vtgirls

    vtgirls Songster

    May 20, 2010
    Our bantam is setting on 6 eggs, 21 days being New Years Day. She is in our coop, in one of the two nesting boxes, about 2 feet up. If they fall they will freeze (its COLD in vt)
    Should I put a board in front of the box a day or two ahead so they dont fall out when they hatch?(I would bring mama hen food and water)
    The other hens continue to lay in that same box - will they turn over the eggs and cause them to drown in the shell after day 18 or so?

    I plan to move them after they hatch to a small tractor in the garage with a heat lamp at one end (and mama hen). However I am nervous to move her ahead of time in case she stopped setting....
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010

  2. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    All good questions. Your instinct is correct - the chicks can easily fall & not be able to get back under momma - or worse the other hens will attack!

    Move them now to the brooder area - if she has been committed for this long she will continue to set - just move her way after dark when she is inclined to stay asleep & turn out the lights in the brooder until they hatch.
  3. vtgirls

    vtgirls Songster

    May 20, 2010
    Thank you for your response. I am very nervous to move her - I tried moving her before this clutch she has and she stopped setting. She had been on eggs for about five days then when I moved her (at night) she got off the eggs and we found them frozen in the morning when I went out for morning rounds. We had set up a big plastic tub with a milk crate and hay for a nest with shavings and food filling the rest of the tub. Its about 5 degrees so if she's off just a few it will mean disaster... am I just paranoid?
  4. CorgiHouse

    CorgiHouse Chirping

    Dec 4, 2010
    Boring, OR
    Quote:I'm not experienced at all in this, but I can share the ONE experience I have had, which was a similar situation to yours. My broody hen was in a 'top row' nest box as well, which was a couple feet off the ground. I was very paranoid that the chicks would fall out and not be able to get back in, or get injured or killed. So we put a carpeted ramp from the opening of the nest box to the floor of the coop so the little ones could walk down and back up, and not have a drop-off at the edge of their nest! I felt much better and that they were safer.

    Well, interesingly, the chicks never even came close to the edge where they would fall off. They didn't go more than a few inches away from the hen until they were on day 2 and very spritely. Then they still stayed mostly at the back of the nest box with their mama, and bounced all around and on top of her.....but not near the front of the nest. The hen stayed on that nest for 3+ days during hatching, and when she did finally bring the chicks off, the first one hatched was 3 days old and very active! I did see that one come ONCE to the front of the nest and look out, but she knew exactly where her boundary was and didn't come close to the edge. So basically, until the hen took them off the nest, they never seemed to get themselves into the 'danger zone' within the nest. Now, I don't know if this is typical or whether I was just blessed with good chicks for this first and only hatch I've had......but I know I wouldn't worry too much about them falling out. Although I would put a ramp up again in the same situation, just in case. Your board across would work too.

    And regarding the other hens. Mine did continue to lay in the broody's nest (while she was in there!) during the time she was setting, but I don't recall ever seeing that happen near the end. Maybe the hen decided to keep everyone out by then? I'm not sure, but I don't think that's a concern if your broody is staying on the nest.
  5. sheilawagner

    sheilawagner Songster

    Jul 16, 2010
    Pacific NorthWest
    Hi, I had the same issue here.

    We had a Dutch Bantam hen (who's wilder and given to us) who had decided to sit on her clutch of 8 eggs. The nest box is 2 feet up. We decided to let her be for a while, let her commit to the brooding. She isn't as tame as the others we raised by hand, and she won't let us pet her or stroke her. So we had to respect her space. On Day 10, I candled the eggs, 5 are viable, so left those for her.

    Then on Day 17, we actually filled our dog crate with shavings, and put a box in there, with more shavings and hay, and then we carried the Dutch hen up, transferred all her eggs into the new temp nest, and set her on it. She wasn't happy when we carried her, she shrieked and struggled, but there was NO WAY I was going to risk her losing any chicks, by falling, or by the cold winter here in WA state. Those eggs are from my favorite Cochin bantams (male and female, so I really want them)

    We moved the dog crate and the temp nest into the guest room, so she would hatch the eggs indoors, in our warm house, and allow her the privacy and quiet she will need to hatch them chicks of mine. That way, the eggs and chicks won't freeze, and they are safe.

    The queen and her temp nest.

    This is her 2nd time actually hatching eggs. The first time, she had got preggers by our neigbor's roo, and she hatched one chick without us even knowing. This time, we put those eggs under her, so I can't wait to see if she does well.
  6. vtgirls

    vtgirls Songster

    May 20, 2010
    Quote:Its funny that I am so nervous to move her but I am! Just before she had the clutch she is on now, we moved her less far along into the hatch (like day 5) and she would not set back on those eggs. They froze between the time we moved her late at night to when I came round early in the morning. She was in a plastic tub with almost the exact same set up as your dog crate.
    I would love to put her in the house rather than the garage but I think she may do better out there - the chicks should feather out much faster and be able to rejoin the flock sooner (since snow/winter is usually here through April!). Also, inside our house is not so quiet or calm - kids, cats, dogs....., the garage offers daylight but shelter from the elements and peace and quiet.

    Your mama hen is very pretty - has she hatched them out?

    I hope to have pictures in a couple days....

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