Two broody hens! One nest!

mailman22(6)May 1, 2008

I have had a hen (Araucana) setting on about ten eggs for almost 3 weeks. A few days back she got down to eat and drink. When she did, the other hen (Australorp) climbed in and won't leave. Thats not so bad, she's a better mama then the Araucana anyway. But now they are both in the same box setting on the eggs.

So I have two problems.

#1. How do I get one out? I would think 2 in the box will be unsafe for any chicks that will hatch. Tight quarters. Plus too many feet. I can't separate them. So I guess I am hoping to DETER one of them.

#2. The nest box is up about a foot high. In the past, the chicks were able to jump down to the shavings and begin eating and drinking. BUT, once they did, the mama followed and the rest of the eggs were left alone. This bothers me. Would it be possible to carefully move the eggs to the floor and will she resume setting on them?

Just trying to plan ahead and hope for the best.

What would you do?



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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Do the two hens seem to get along when they are together? Is there any way you can build a new nest box that is twice as big? I had two little twin buff cochin sisters that did EVERYTHING together, including raising chicks. They got along seamlessly, and the chicks didn't get trampled or fought over.

I'd suggest that if the one hen and her brood abandon the rest of the eggs, the other hen can take over and finish the hatch, if any more chicks are forthcoming. I've had no problems moving mama and eggs to a new and safe locale when hatching was imminent. I'd wait until they are just about to hatch or have started, though, that way there is less of a chance that she'll freak out and leave them. Also, if you do it at night so that she is in her new spot when she wakes up, she might be more inclined to stay there.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 12:06PM
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nhsuzanne(z5 SW-NH)

I can't wait until I am in a position to have broodies and babies!!! It sounds like so much fun.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 12:11PM
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I have a hatching question also, Hope you don't mind me using this topic.

this is my first sitting nest.

question 1) my hen has been sitting a nest of six eggs since april the 19th. I calculate at 21 days they should hatch around may 10 th does that sound right to you. How long should I wait if they don't hatch by then.

quesiton 2) a friend of my husbands at work said that the eggs will change shape as the chick grows. Is that correct?

he also said that we should hold a candle to see which ones were viable. I didn't really want to handle the eggs to much. What do ya'll think...

Any advice is welcome.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 3:49PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

CI, you can candle the eggs if you want--light color eggs are much easier to see through than dark ones are though. You are so close to the hatch, I don't know if I'd bother, really. People call it 'candling', but don't use a candle, use a flashlight. If you really want to do it, instructions are here:

And no, eggs never change size or shape once they are out of the hen, the shell is rigid. :) Lots of times you can hear peeping coming from the egg hours before hatch, though, and if you set an egg that is about to hatch on a flat surface, you can see it rock back and forth a bit as the chick repositions itself for breakout.

I always give my eggs three extra days beyond the due date, just to catch any stragglers. Enjoy your chicks! Ours in the incubator are due to hatch a week after yours. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 4:36PM
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Eric, have you considered giving each hen 5 eggs and dividing them. You can just use a cardborad box on the floor of the coop. If the eggs are that close to hatching the hens can feel them so they won't leave. That way each hen could have a family and the new boody hen (astralorp) will sure appreciate not having to set so long. I have three setting and all due with in a few days. After they all hatched I divided the chicks up so they all had 5 each,
I swapped them around at night, one hen only hatched 2 and the other had 7 another 6, the chicks didn't know the difference and the hens were all cluckingly happy...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 9:17PM
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Thanks, Velvet an all.

I don't think I am interested in candeling them. Also that other stuff didn't sound right to me. I'm so glad the sitting time isn't that long. I am so excited. hubbie is worried though LOL He's afraid we will have to many to take care of but I plan on weeding out some of my older girls. some of the boys in Holly's class are starting a flock. we also don't know how many will be roo's and really won't know till they start developing. I just tell him not to worry we'll handle it. If he's this way with chicks I hate to see him when our girls get with chick LOL

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:11PM
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Thanks everyone. I am getting a bit concerned because there is no activity yet. Perhaps my calculations are off.
Simpleme, I will try seperating the eggs. Why didn't I think off this? Sounds simple. AHAAA! Simpleme! Thats where it comes from huh! ;)
I'll report soon with any changes.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 1:27PM
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I have to broody silkies on the same eggs. The problem is that there isn't enough room for both the one sits on top of the hen sitting on top of the
What happened is that the one hen was already brooding eggs...the second hen came along and started laying eggs next to the broody hen. The broody hen would then take the new egg and put it in with her clutch. The other hen would go about her merry way.
At some point the second hen decided it was time to brood her eggs. When there wasn't enough room she went ahead and started brooding the hen already on the clutch.
They aren't fighting or stealing eggs back and forth. So I am going to leave it as it is. Both seem content. I'm hoping that since the eggs are in different stages of development that when they start hatching that one hen will stay with the chicks and the other will stay with the eggs.
There is room, long ways, for both hens to have their own spot, but the area they are in isn't very deep. And the second hen insists on being as close to the eggs as possible, that's why she is sitting on top of the other hen. They are in my feedroom behind the hay box.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 5:44PM
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I separated the eggs. One hen is content to stay with the main clutch and has hatched out at least one chick. I saw it for about a minute. It will be a barred rock. The other hen is also on her eggs, but I am not holding out for any of hers to hatch. I'll keep you posted'

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 8:34PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Wow, we need a new thread so everyone can post baby chick pictures and report on their hatches! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:01AM
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I recently tried to stop my Black Austrolope Hen from brooding. She has been brooding for over 2 weeks. I tried everything in the book and then I got an idea. I found a piece of garden fencing . . . the green wire stuff with rectangular holes about 3 in x 2 in. I folded the wire into a box about 14" long and 10" wide with sides about 2" high. Then I set it over the nesting area. I figured this way, if she got on the nest and laid an egg that it would go through the wire holes into the nest. That's all it took. She has been off the nest all day just a clucking and a pecking outside the coop! Hope this works for you. I tried everything under the sun including dipping her in cool water but to no avail. This wire contraption has solved my (her) problem. Tim

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 5:35PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Great idea, thanks for sharing it! :) Lots of old-timers say that penning the hen in a wire-bottomed cage works, because the air circulates and gets to her underside so she loses that 'warm and comfy' feeling.

I think you've done the old-timers one better!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 7:56PM
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