Winter Hatch for C.Maran? Ugh.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LilRedRoo, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This should be interesting (to me at least)...

    We have ceramic eggs in four of our laying bins to encourage the hens to put eggs where we want them. The usual laying areas have been taken over by some young pullets who haven't started roosting yet, so those particular spots are, well, disgusting. The hens did well with the concept, so all was quite well. But several days ago our C.Maran started to go broody, which seems odd given the season. But she's been doing a fine job of caressing and protecting two ceramic eggs, and she's got the muscle/attitude to keep the leghorns from climbing in with her to lay and step on eggs unlike the Aussie who went broody last time (she lost the clutch due to the Leghorns).

    So Melinda and I gethered 13 eggs and got them marked and ready for the incubator (she set them this morning after I left for the office). The idea is to let mama sit on the ceramic eggs, and the night before hatch replace them with the real eggs. This morning Melinda set the remaining ceramics under her to get her used to a larger clutch...she decided she was done.

    So now we've got eggs in the incubator and will be hatching them ourselves unless the Maran goes back to the nest. We'll see. In the meantime (pics will have to wait) here is the order of eggs:

    All eggs are Rhode Island Red rooster over the listed hen:

    R1 - refrigerated easter egger
    R2 - refrigerated australorp
    3 - barred rock
    4 - australorp
    5 - barred rock
    6 - welsummer
    7 - easter egger
    8 - easter egger
    9 - easter egger
    10 - leghorn
    11 - leghorn
    12- leghorn
    13 - leghorn

    This winter we've noticed a drop in the shell quality from last spring and summer, perhaps due to less forage available. But we are moving forward regardless and will be happy with any chicks that make it to hatch. Hopefully the hen will get back into the brood mood.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  2. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just got word from Melidna that the Maran hen has settled back onto the nest. She was very restless, got a good meal and a drink of water and within 15 minutes settled onto the eggs and arranged them like they were her own. Melidna said she fluffed up even more than before, compensating for the extra volume of eggs and filling the cavity of the nest to keep the other hens out.

    So for now she'll be setting 8 ceramic eggs while the real eggs stay in the incubator for 19-20 days. That night we'll give her the real eggs (those that make it that far) and she'll be mama hen for about 4 weeks. Pics of the eggs to come over the weekend (includes tomorrow this week).
     
  3. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Visiting kids...they allow for grown ups to sit and talk a while as they play with your own kids...and they silently investigate your incubator that is in a "safe" place, and fail to let you know of "changes" they've made. It's not their fault of course, as I never once mentioned the incubator, what was off limits et cetera. Just children being naturally curious.

    But it still puts a kink in the rhythm. This morning when I got up to rotate the eggs I noticed they had already been moved...a LOT...and no less then two were cracked (I saw the two and quickly rotated and got my hands out of there after a couple of pics). And the temp had been adjusted...AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I guess Day 7 will give me some insight to the damage. Here are a few pics.

    This is a small-medium Welsummer egg; the crack is a hairline fracture that is hard to see in the pic, but pretty obvious to the eye:

    [​IMG]

    A medium size leghorn egg...obvious crack...

    [​IMG]

    This is the thermometer about 5 minutes after I turned it up a bit...it was about 84 when I saw it this morning...

    [​IMG]

    A random shot of the incubator after I repositioned the eggs...red plugs will stay in until Day 7 or 10...depending on air cells on Day 7.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2014
  4. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :( I just noticed that there is water in the incubator dripping all over from the drain holes, which means the box was shifted around enough to get the water out of the reservoirs. Maybe it's time to start over... :(
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They'll probably be OK, better low heat than high...just add a day.

    I'd remove the cracked ones and let 'em go, candle at day 7 and 10 see what you've got going.

    Not sure why you don't just let the broody set them from the get go....she woulda kept those little rascals away from them ...lol.
     
  6. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The hairline crack may be fine...I would leave it. The other one, probably not fine, but still possible and I would leave it also. The temp, since it went down instead of way up, won't hurt anything. It might just add an extra day to the process, as aart mentioned. But it might not since it was still in the 90's.

    On the bright side, if you DO want to start over, you are still in a reasonable timeframe that your broody won't know the difference once all is said and done. I can relate to wanting to incubate instead of letting her do it. Having a hen abandon a nest mid-way through SUCKS.
     
  7. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sunny side up :)
    Put some wax on the crack. I do it all the time with tiny cracks. I wouldnt keep anything with a huge one though. Just make sure to watch in case anything starts to smell funny lol. It should be fine though.
     
  8. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @ aart - the seven most aggressive hens use that one laying box, so it's a battle non-stop. The last time a hen chose that as her brooder I lost the whole lot of them, so this time I went with ceramic. She's a tough hen, but it gets rough on anything beneath her feet when the others come around.

    @ davemonkey - I've got some eggs set aside just in case, but I think if this batch ends up lost I'll probably just do a full batch of chicks (3 or 4 dozen) and put them in the QT coop since it's empty right now. But as of today it looks like I'm going to have a clutch. 10 show good development so far, so maybe 6??? We'll see...

    @flgardengirl - thanks for the suggestion. There's one egg that will probably benefit (as indicated below...) the others are goners.

    So here's the update;

    I candled today to check, and the hairline crack (number 6 - RIR/Welsummer) is actually pretty severe; the entire egg is like a million-piece jig saw. Casualty of war... Number 13 (RIR/leghorn) is also a casualty. Number 4 (RIR/Aussie) is also cracked, but doesn't look fertile, so it was moot. Number 10 (RIR/leghorn) is the cracked one in the pic and has great blood vessel development. I'll try to keep this one alive. I'll recheck day 7 to see how far along things are before tossing the duds.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2014
  9. davemonkey

    davemonkey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to hear of the casualties you've already had. I think you'll get at least 6 to hatch out, and maybe all 10 that are left. That will get you, oh, 3 or 4 girls? [​IMG] I guess it depends on what your goal is with the hatch. If you are just testing the crosses out for meat/eggs, then rock on. If you were shooting for potential egg layers out of the deal, I'd toss all of these and start with a fresh batch of eggs (maybe 15-20 depending on how many chicks you want the hen to have). You are only on Day 3, so you are still in a reasonable window of time where the hen won't notice...but maybe cutting it close?
     
  10. LilRedRoo

    LilRedRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Honestly the only reason for the hatch is to take advantage of a broody hen. If I can get a few chicks under her then that's a clutch of replacers that I don't have to feed/water/care for (based on last year's experience). If these don't work out, I'll shift gears and go full on with a replacement hatch with as many eggs as I can fit into the incubator. In that case I'll set up the QT coop for chicks again. But if that's what I end up doing I'll also wait a few more weeks until the two red broilers start to lay becaus I want at least 4 eggs from each one of them crossed with our roo.

    The QT coop is currently waiting to house the future backyard flock, where I'll have to choose between two sprinty cockerels (Fayoumi/EE versus Leghorn/EE) over some selected hens (2 leghorns, 4 EE, 3 SL Wyandottes).
     

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