Chick Failure

Well, our getting chicks is not going to happen anytime soon. Zach went back to the Gitch’s (thank goddess) because none of the chickens got broody over the dozen eggs they laid. Bummer.

We need to buy a broody chicken. Karen and/or Maggie: Do you have one or two you can sell us? If so we’ll borrow Zach and try again.

If we can’t buy one this year next year we’re going to buy fertilized eggs next year and hopefully we’ll be able to grow a broody chicken. We’ll specifically choose a breed which has its broodiness still in its instincts.

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7 Responses to Chick Failure

  1. Bummer. No I only have 2 chickens that are 3 months old. Let me give a call to some of my friends they might be able to help out.

    Are you interested in fertile eggs, from a variety of breeds? You could try to incubate them? I have an incubaror you could use….

    Maybe Zach would need to stay for a month or two to “convince” the girls they want to hatch eggs? I’m not exactly sure how that works but I think when a friend in Hill wants a broody it takes longer than a week or two…I’ll ask that question.

  2. Cassandra says:

    I am seriously thinking about buying an incubator. I don’t like the idea of buying more gadgets, but my experiences with broody hens haven’t been that great so far.

    I did get some buff orps this spring. They are supposed to be good broodies if I am not mistaken. So, I may give one of them a shot if they prove agreeable. But I’m not going to invest TOO much effort into it.

    What I have heard to do is watch for one of your hens to go broody first. Then put the rooster in with them for a few days. Then, collect all the eggs during that few days with the expectation that at least a few of them will be fertile. Remove the broody to a private location and put your hopefully-fertile eggs under her.

    I have never done this. Once my rooster matures, I will give it a try if I notice one of the girls is setting. But… I don’t want to get too emotionally invested in it. It’s too potentially disappointing.

  3. teri says:

    hi there, just discovered your blog recently (not even sure how i stumbled onto it!), but in reading your recent posts about chickens i thought i might have some helpful info to share

    (my partner and i are newbie chicken people as well – as of february of this year – and have learned A LOT in that time between our own observations, our chicken mentor friend – who has had chickens for years, and gave us our first roo and 3 hens, and research we’ve done)

    – as you’ve learned, you can’t induce a hen to go broody – it’s all in the genes (most modern egg-layers have had it bred out of them, since they don’t lay while broody – so you lose at least 2 months of production – 3 weeks to brood the eggs and 6-8 weeks of mothering) and it’s also all in the hormones (which respond to light and warmth, as well as nutrition)

    – when they are broody, you’ll know it – they will sit and sit even if you take away their eggs! it’s all hormones and instinct

    – if you want to be sure of having a broody, get an older bantam breed (this is what we have) – they’re less domesticated, and less likely to have had the broodiness bred out of them – but be prepared – if a hen is truly a broody, she will keep trying to brood until you let her sit – she may even go broody more than once in a year (in the wild, they would go broody once they’d laid 10-12 eggs and had a “clutch”, raise that bunch, lay another clutch, and then go broody again)

    – yes, they can be noisy, but i personally would recommend re-considering getting a rooster – they will protect their ladies to the death – if you get a good one, it can add to your peace of mind about your hens

    – once mated, the hens will lay fertile eggs for about 5ish days – if you have a rooster around, you’ll know that most of your eggs are fertile, and will be more able to go on the broody’s timetable for when they are ready to set

    – you will need separate housing for the broody – both while brooding and when chicks are young – preferably a separate area in the same coop/run – while she’s brooding the eggs, it’s to keep the other hens from continuing to lay under her or hassling her for taking up a preferred nest box – and once the chicks are born, it’s to keep them safe – many hens don’t like other hens’ babies – some will simply chase them away, but it’s possible for them to corner them and peck them to death – mama hen will fiercely protect them, but if there’s too many other hens she may not be able to protect them all

    – chickens are more protective of their territory (and less tolerant of newcomers) when they are penned up – while each chicken is an individual and therefore different, i found that my birds pretty much ignore my chicks when they’re all out free ranging together (and the chicks have more options for getting away from the other birds if they’re getting picked on), but if they are all closed in their coop/run area together, they’ll chase down the chicks and peck them (though my chicks are now 2 months old, they are still in the separate “broody” area of my coop when they are not free-ranging, in order to protect them – i won’t combine them in the coop until they are the same size as the adults and better able to hold their own – but they do all happily free range together)

    – if you’re going to keep your laying flock year round (?), i would recommend also keeping the same rooster year round – chickens, like most other animals, prefer stability and routine, and every time you introduce a new bird, they have to re-sort the pecking order – instead of butchering your main patriarch (if you get one), consider that about 50% of your brood will be male, and plan on butchering those instead…)

    i hope this is helpful to you in some way! just thoughts i had while looking at your chicken posts…

    feel free to email me or contact me through my blog if you have any other thoughts or questions…

    happy chickening!
    teri (in rural oregon)

  4. Glenn says:

    We will give you a rooster to keep! How do you have there nesting box set up? is it in the coop? off the floor so they feel secure?
    How old are the chicken? they still might be too young. You need to leave the rooster with them for a while, for both sides to get in “sync” with each other. As for broody chickens we only have a couple of bantums and Dad likes them and won’t part them. On a side note our NH Reds should be coming in tomorrow or tuesday. They will be our dual purpose chicken and they are a “broody” breed. They will be fuzzy balls so they won’t be ready until the snow flies.


  5. Howling Hill says:

    Karen: I think we’ll take you up on the offer. I’ll shoot you an email about when I can come to get it.

    Cassandra: I’m with you on not wanting to buy gadgets. I’m thinking the chickens must have some natural survival instincts left in them. I want the chickens to have chicks the old fashioned way.

    Teri: Thanks for stopping by and the great comment. You said a lot and I certainly have to put some thought into what you said.

    Glenn: I think we’ll take you up on the offer of the rooster. Stop by and see our set up. It’s not perfect rather, it’s a work in progress. Wolf is working out a design for chicks and for the winter. He could certainly use you input, oh farming guru you =)

  6. Glenn says:

    Give a call when you have time; you can come and pick him up any evening or on the weekend… (except Sunday evening.)

  7. lizzylanefarm says:

    Hello HH,

    I checked with every one I can think of for either a broody hen or two and fertile eggs…No luck…My friend in Hill took her Rooster away from the girls 2 weeks ago. They were getting pretty beat up. I asked her if she would put him back in with them, she said give her a month or so and she would…

    She told me she used wooden eggs to get one of her hens broody. She put the wooden egg into the nest and left it there. After about a week or so a hen was sitting in the box and wouldn’t move off them. She said she put 3 in the nest box. And mentioned that the hen liked the box highest off the floor. She has 2 levels of boxes for them.

    That’s great you are going to take a rooster. You will like him and get used to the noise….hope some day anyway…

    Our bobhouse/coop arrived today. It even already has the stryo pink insulation in it. Need to cover it up though or they will eat it.

    I’ll let you know when I know any thing else about the eggs. But you are always welcome to use the incubator any time.

    Hows that puppy-wuppy??


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