hatching eggs under a broody?

(11 Posts)
Lindt70Percent Thu 30-May-13 09:13:38

Our first chick hatched yesterday. Really didn't expect anything to happen so we're a bit unprepared.

I've bought some chick crumbs and have put some in the nesting box but I think the broody hen has eaten most of those. I've also put some water in on a very small dish. Fingers crossed it will be okay.

I have no idea how this chick will get out of the nesting box though. It will have to make it's way along a perch and then jump down to the floor and then out through the door. Is it realistic to expect it to do this?

Also, still don't know whether it should be kept separately from the other non-broody hens and our cockerel. I could move the others to another part of the garden but would have to buy another coop for them. Not keen on spending £100+ on this. Have been looking out locally for second hand coops/arks but not seen any.

Any advice much appreciated!

ordinarygull Sun 12-May-13 16:37:05

Learning as I go, I have now learned that if you are concerned that your broody hasn't left the nest for three days to have a shit, it's not a good idea to pick her up - the smell was unbelievable and I was covered in it!!

Lindt70Percent Fri 10-May-13 22:33:33

We have 2 pekins, 2 silkies and a silkie cockerel. One of the pekins and one of the silkies has gone broody so as of Tuesday we've let them sit on 3 eggs between them.

I feel quite nervous! I think my main concerns are that the chicks will be male and we'll have to do something about that. What exactly is involved in a cockerel cull? Asking this as well because I'm worried that our cockerel is too noisy for our neighbours; I keep asking them and no one's complained ... yet.

VerySmallSqueak Thu 09-May-13 23:16:37

I was surprised when I realised that people separate the chicks from the others.Now I think about it though I can see that it's probably the safest bet.
We never even thought of doing that and just let them get on with it and scratch around with the others.They were always fine!

We did have fun when we had a hen go broody on eggs on a 'second storey' nesting box in our home made chicken house.We suddenly realised that they wouldn't be able to safely leave the nest and had to quickly construct a ramp with little struts across it so they could get up and down!

In the chicken house before that the cat used to walk along the roosts paying no attention whatsoever to the chicks scratching around on the floor!

It was a steep but rewarding learning curve grin

ordinarygull Thu 09-May-13 20:54:36

Thanks everyone smile

We have a large fully enclosed run, with an eglu and a homemade coop as well - we have partitioned off one end and left mrs broody in that, but she gets the eglu as she too a real fancy to it and wouldn't move to other accommodation!
We have 3 other adult girls, and 3 new 12 week old girls who have the main part of the run - we wil then open it all back up if and when we have chicks and they are big enough to leave home.
It's been rather a costly experiment, but chickens are a bit of an addictive hobby aren't they?
Will probably be about 20 years before I start saving money from not buying eggs any more!!!

VerySmallSqueak Wed 08-May-13 21:21:34

Yes!
Leave nature to do it's thing!

We used to have to be careful with our old bantams or we'd end up with droves of them.

First time we did it we let loads hatch as we'd heard the mortality rate was so high - and we only lost one.

But of course it worked out ok as we had to do a cockerel cull which was the downside.

Bramblesinafield Wed 08-May-13 21:14:47

Lucky you! I'm waiting for one of my girls to drop broody again.

Do you have her in separate accommodation from any others?

My Sussex hatched some pekin eggs last year - they hatch a day or two earlier than the usual 21 days. We candled from about day 5 I think and could see the chicks developing. The more you leave alone, the better, particularly as the chicks hatch - they need the moisture under the broody to hatch properly. I have kept two of the hatch. I found a home for the boy frizzle and my friend took back all of the Wyandotte bantams for her flock (even the boys, phew).

It's ace watching the broody sort them out.

If you look on the omlet website forum there is a lot of info about hatching and raising chicks.

You could borrow a 'candling torch' from someone who keeps poultry - if you check each egg with this after a few days you'll be able to see if they're blanks or got chicks in smile

ordinarygull Wed 08-May-13 20:46:30

Thanks, you've kind of confirmed all my thoughts!

I've been really lucky with the eggs, they came from the place I bought my last lot of chickens from, and basically I'm going to hatch the chicks for her (hopefully) and she will take them all back but let me keep one girl - this way I'm not stuck with the horror of having to cull the boys (which I'm afraid I'd have to do here sad ) but get the fun of the hatch!

pug307 Wed 08-May-13 19:52:48

Yes, and if she's very broody then it will all go fine (she knows what to do :-) don't worry). You may have to encourage her to get off and feed and drink a little sometimes if she's an overly fixated brooder, but like I said, they've been doing it for thousands of years without our help, so 99 times out of 100 she'll take care of it all). Get some "chick crumbs" from your feed shop for when they hatch out, and make sure they cannot fall into your water drinker (if they possibly can get stuck, fall in things or drown themselves, they will !), but can still access water,... and mum will do the rest. Only 2 real questions to consider:
1. presumably the bantam eggs came from somewhere there is also a cockerel (sounds obvious, but I've seen this done before - it's a long wait for a set of rotten eggs)?
2. Remember you are probably going to get lots of boy chicks... you can't keep them all, so you'll have a decision to make at some point regarding their future.

Apart from that, stand by for some lovely fluffy chicks peeping about the place. :-)

ordinarygull Wed 08-May-13 14:51:18

Has anyone ever tried this with any success? I have a very broody orpington and have been given 10 bantam eggs to try and hatch out.

I'm very excited about the whole experiment, but wondering if I have any chance of actually ending up with any chicks at the end of it?

She has now been on them since last night, and I believe I have to count today as day 1 - any advice would be gratefully received

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