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Cave canem
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. If anyone has not yet incubated eggs or raised chicks using a broody hen I recently created a video with a step by step guide. It also goes into how you can purchase chicks at the feed store and give them to a broody hen thereby avoiding the whole brooder/heat lamp hassle.

Just an FYI, forget letting "nature take its course" inside your hen house, a couple of simple tweaks greatly increases the chance of you hatching out chicks (and prevents wasting eggs) in a grid down situation.

There is a table of contents if you want to jump to specific sections, just see the youtube description section.

Please let me know if you find it useful!

 

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Cave canem
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your link doesn't seem to work.
Hmmm...it works for me. Here is the direct youtube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH8NU-NsupY


Also one thing I forgot to include in the video was what to feed the babies, mine eat out of the main feeders after 2-3 days. I feed the whole flock game bird pellets with oyster shell on the side for layers. Any "all flock" feed will work. Standard layer pellets have too much calcium for chicks.

They also need chick sized water dishes in the run, the broody usually keeps the chicks in the run from dawn until dusk so have a convenient water source available for them.
 

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GrowingFromScratch.com
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Look forward to watching this. Discussing and learning how to do things from scratch like incubating your own eggs is what I come here for. Also, your post says "grid down". Do you discuss how you would provide feed? If the grid is down, buying pellets and oyster shells won't be an option.
 

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Two broody hens this spring. One hatched out nine and has eight left. The other hatched out three and has two left.

The niner was under the tool shed and we finally moved her and her brood into a separate house.

The three cum two was pretty much as you stated in your write-up. She was in the hen house and started collecting eggs. Pretty soon she had thirty four under her and about her. So I took six away to incubate with some others I had and put her in a cat carrier with fourteen eggs. The rest of the eggs went to the pigs. She rejected the idea of the cat carrier and started all over out in the hen house again so we made a separate "nest" that kept the other hens away. She hatched out three. Not sure why.

I had twenty nine in the incubator and hatched 23, but have twenty one left.

In partial reply to how to feed them if the grid were to go down. I am growing a small plot of corn and another of barley. I'll give them that but I'm pretty sure that I'd have to triple the corn plot. Same with the barley. My corn is about 30 by 140 feet. I know they eat winter squash and watermelon so that would be on the menu also. They also like cabbage. It would be a lot of work, I'd have to do some culling in the fall.

I've had one white leghorn go broody once.
 

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I came to the conclusion I needed to maintain my chicken flock "nature's way" a few months ago. I read that buff orpington hens are good broody hens. We couldn't find any buff orpingtons but found a white one in a feed store. She is about half grown now. THANK YOU FOR THE TUTORIAL the timing couldn't have been better.
 

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Got 9 chicks a few days ago.
We noticed that a hen kept lying in the nest for the whole day, and the day after.
So, we moved her alongside the nest to an old coop, where she wouldn't come into contact with the flock. We moved her in the night, so that she doesn't get too jumpy and stressed.

Also, I added a couple of fresh eggs underneath near.

She had her space, and was able to freely leave the nest when needed.
This is very important, for several reasons.

First of all, if she is unable to leave the nest, and is bothered by other chicken, she will cover the eggs with her...poop... Which actually makes it harder for the chicks to break through the egg shell.
Also, if she can't get out of her nest, she will not eat properly. Hens that do this for the first time may even start eating those eggs underneath her.
One my broody hens actually died a few years. She simply didn't want to leave the nest. I tried giving her food and water. At one point, she jumped out of her nest for the first time, walked around the coop normally, and then frantically ran to the nest. As she laid on the eggs, she rolled her head on the side and died.
Can't say if the problem was actually because of food and water. But there were other hens in the coop, so it perhaps made her stressed. Perhaps my presence made her stressed. This was her first time.

One of those nine chicks I mentioned above died yesterday. Can't really say what's the cause. I simply found it lying dead. For some reason, one or two chicks in the batch always die. Last five years, out of seven batches of chicks, there were dead ones in the six of them. Not on the day they are hatched, but actually a week or so later. Only time every single one survived was when I actually bought the eggs.
I take it I'm doing something wrong, but good thing is that 9/10 of them survives.
 

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Enjoyed the video. I have used a very similar system with broody hens many times.

I agree with you on the game hens. Every homestead or prepper with chickens needs a few good game hens. I once released 3 game hens and a rooster on my homestead in April, and by September I had over a hundred, that they had laid, sat and hatched on their own. One hen hatched a hidden clutch that had 23 eggs, and she hatched 19 of them. I wouldn't ever put that many under a hen, but she pulled it off on her own. I normally put 9-11 under a hen, depending on her size. One of my Dad's things was to always put an odd number of eggs under the hen. I'm sure it's an old wive's tale, but I always do it that way anyway. :D:
 

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Wind
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I cross breed some of my Game hens with a buff orphington rooster back about 5 years ago. This was my solution to chicken/egg production. I have a yard full of chicks 40 plus now.

Nature dose quite well if you just put the rite pieces together.
 

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When chicks hatch out of an incubator they have to keep warm. I use a cardboard box for a couple of weeks as a brooder with a cut-out in the side (top) for access that I keep them in. I make a see through plastic cover to help keep in the heat. Size varies for the number of chick that I hatched. I have a piece of plastic to keep the inside cardboard bottom dry and put in wood shaving so the chicks have traction.

To keep them warm I use a combination of two methods, I don't use a heat lamp. I have a digital indoor outdoor thermometer to monitor the temperature.

I have a heating pad left over from a sore back from years ago. The back is fine now but the pad remained so I place it under the box and let it warm up the inside.

I also use gallon milk jugs with hot tap water if the pad can't do the trick. In a grid down I would use warm/hot water from the wood stove or whatever you use to cook with. Change out the water a couple or three times a night.

Moisture is a problem as the chicks are messy, drinking and otherwise. So I clean out the brooder every other day after a week and every day after two weeks A bit of work.

After two weeks they are a bit bigger and I move them into a larger container - a water trough that I can cover over. After five weeks they are ok without the extra heat if summer is approaching. I put them out in a temporary pen in the grass on warm sunny days. I use some wire fencing to make a play-pen, part in the shade. I move them into and out of the pen in a box.

You want to do this while entering into the warmer months. If going into the fall then they have to be kept warm longer.
 
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