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Day 17 - two broodies sharing 2 fertile eggs

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Hi- I am in need of advice.

I have 2 broody hens at the moment, Alice that has been sitting on two fertile eggs for 17 days and Rosie that has decided to join her and start brooding from about day 10.

They are both first time broodys.  Alice will not get down from the nesting box at all to eat, drink, dust bathe etc and so I remove her daily and she walks around doing her business for 1 hour (during which time Rosie will roll the eggs under her).  When Rosie gets down by herself she can spend any amount of time wondering around and Alice will then roll the eggs back under her whilst she is out.  Most of the time they have one eggs each.

As we are on Day 17 and I have read by Day 18 the eggs should not be candled or turned etc I am a bit concerned about this egg sharing and the rolling of the eggs.

I have a large hutch that I bought for Alice to move into when the chicks are born wanting to keep her in the flock as long as possible (hutch is in case the other hens attack her chicks and also because she is sitting in an Omlet Cube -high up).  Wondering if I should move her now instead of when they hatch?  Also as Rosie has also been taking care of the eggs, I wanted her to have the opportunity to hatch one out and have a chick to look after herself (since we will only be doing this this one time)... so what advice would you give as to moving or not moving?

Secondly, I have another hen who shares this nest box who routinely lays jelly eggs- I try to collect these before the broodys sit back down on the eggs but on one occasion it splattered over the fertile ones so I am thinking that moving them (although very stressful) will prevent this from happening and reduce chance of bacterial infections.

What would you do?


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This is a bit of a tricky thing. I’m not saying this to criticise - but I think you should have moved the eggs and broody hens earlier to avoid the risk of your other hen leaving a soft egg there which I agree would be a risk to the eggs hopefully about to hatch.

However, you are where you are, so I think to move now before hatch would be a bad idea - there’s a risk you would upset the sitting hens and leave the eggs uncovered for too long. As you say, if you’re hatching using an incubator you would be ‘locking down’ the eggs now and not turning them anymore. I wouldn’t worry about your broody hens shuffling them around - they should know by instinct to sit tighter and stiller for the last couple of days - but there’s nothing you can do about that anyway.

Exciting few days ahead — I hope you get chicks 🐣🤞🏻

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Thank you - yes the jelly egg hen had been doing mostly hard shelled (but brittle)eggs when Alice began to sit. Then she stopped laying altogether so I thought all was good and then for the last five days we’ve been getting jellies (not everyday but when she does lay). I was trying to keep the environment as natural as possible for them all but the jelly eggs are a problem!

do you think I should move mother and chicks the day they are born (to avoid aggression from the older hens) and can you foresee a problem putting the other broody in the hutch with Alice even if by hatching day Alice hatched them both out? Just wondering if they will live as harmoniously as they have done to hatch these eggs once the chicks arrive or whether one may view both the chicks as hers?

thank you for your reply- that is very reassuring as I was most worried about the rolling of eggs back and forth!

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I have seen flocks where the broody and her chicks are in with the others, and the broody protects them. But personally I wouldn’t take the risk. At least not at first. Not sure about having two hens with them - I know it sometimes doesn’t work out but I don’t know if it sometimes can.

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