Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

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Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby elmdene » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:07 am

My broody pekin hatched a chick the day late the day before yesterday (5th July). She still has 2 more eggs, one due to hatch on Monday, the other on Thursday. (My neighbour put the other eggs under her while I was on holiday...). I'm slightly concerned that she hasn't yet taken the chick out to eat, and more importantly to drink, as it was very hot here yesterday. So...should I just remove the other 2 eggs, both of which appear viable as far as I can tell from my first candling attempt. I have another hen who thinks she is broody so I could put the eggs under her, possibly in the same run but a separate pet crate. I just don't have the facilities to have 2 separate maternity coops and not sure how the 2 'mums' and chicks would get on in the same run?
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby chrismahon » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:16 am

Afraid you can't split hatches like that Elmdene- it goes completely against natural behaviour. The hen should abandon the other two in favour of the one hatched, but she won't realise they will be late at this stage and the single one is going to die if it doesn't get water. I'd put the other two in the incubator and try to slip them in under her at night.
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby elmdene » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:18 am

Yes that's what I suspected. I don't have an incubator so do you think I should just take away the other 2 eggs away and encourage her to come out? I'm a bit concerned about her health too especially in this heat. She hasn't had a drink for at least 3 days now.
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby Marigold » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:07 pm

Definitely take her out, get her into shade, encourage her to drink, and dip the chick's beak in water to start it off. You didn't plan to hatch the other two eggs, so as you can't incubate them there's no point in jepordising the life of the hen and existing chick when they may not hatch anyway. Even if they do, will be younger than the first chick by several crucial days. In this weather, action to help both hen and chick is urgent, I think.
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby elmdene » Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:33 pm

Yes I've done that now and all is well! The chick is eating and drinking and has had it's first poo! The most horrible thing was that I accidentally trod on one of the eggs and the little chick inside was so well developed and moving around - I was mortified. Thanks for the advice though - I feel terrible about it but I know it's the best thing. I would never normally put eggs more than a few days apart under a hen. The only problem now is having only one chick to reintegrate with the others (only 4) when she (hopefully she is a she!) is a bit older.
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby Marigold » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:22 pm

At least it's with a hen and not on its own in an incubator. I'm sure you did the right thing - don't feel bad about treading on the egg, you couldn't help it, and it was a quick way to end its pre-life state. The whole situation was difficult for you, wasn't it, having to leave a sitting hen with someone else to look after her, who put eggs under her at the wrong time. I suppose the lesson for us all is not to allow a hen to sit unless you will probably be able to stay around for the full incubation period, but sometimes Nature dictates otherwise!
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby elmdene » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:08 am

Saffy is the most broody hen ever and I tried everything to stop her before I went away - shutting her out of the nesting box, then the sin bin (small dog cage), and as a very last resort, dipping her in a bucket of icy water which I hate doing, but nothing worked. As you say, having a broody hen when you are away is not a good idea, and she seems to always choose that time! My neighbour, who used to have chickens, thinks it is cruel not to let them be mothers, so put the eggs under her. I just hope this is a little girl as we already have Dougal, a gorgeous little cockerel, from her from last year who we are still trying to rehome as his dad isn't keen on the competition! Last time, Saffy stayed together with her chicks until about 18 weeks surprisingly, so hopefully this time will be the same. One of those, Florence, takes after her mother and seems to be 'half broody' - she will sit all day if she can, but is fine running in the garden if she is shut out of the nesting box. However, the minute she has finished her corn in the late afternoon she will rush straight back to the coop and want to go up. If it's closed she will come and find me to let her in - quite sweet! She's been like this for months and I just can't break it. If I put her in the sin bin she climbs up the sides like a parrot and tries to squeeze through the wire! I should have called her Polly.
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby Minorcafan » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:25 pm

I have a goldtop who has gone broody - again - so there will be a late hatch. Hope for some pullets this time :-) Also a large Minorca has decided to go broody as well. I do not trust her to last the 3 weeks but as she is being so very persistent I might just let her sit on 2 eggs and see what happens.
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby Minorcafan » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:23 pm

Well, the broody Minorca is still broody but refuses to cover any eggs. Eggs and hen are sitting on opposite sides of the wee house I put her in (just in case she might actually be maternal) so it will be the naughty box for hen once the rain stops
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Re: Hen sitting on eggs several days apart

Postby Minorcafan » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:39 pm

Hen has given up trying to incubate invisible eggs on a perch so is back in with her pals tonight
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