June 22, 2017

Setting Hens and Baby Chicks

We've got both! Although I have to say that the setting hen business has gotten a little out of hand.

Chickens seem to be bad about wanting to lay their eggs in a setting hens nest, so that I can't keep track of which have been there for awhile and which are freshly laid. Then the other day our first chick hatched.

And then another so that this mama hen has two.

Yesterday I found a second 'Lorp mama with two more chicks. That still left three hens on the nests! I've not been allowed to get close enough to take many pictures, but hopefully the setting and hatching business will be done soon so I can get a chick count.


  1. I finally got chickens.... they died

    1. OH NO! What a heartbreak. Discouraging too. :(

  2. I use a marker to draw a line around each egg once they are setting. Then I know which eggs to remove each day and leave the marked eggs.

  3. Mama always used a crayon to mark a big X on each egg when the hen started setting. Like Weavinfool, that made it easy to know which eggs belonged in the nest and which ones could be removed.

  4. Me too. always marked them with an x and a date such as X6/6 with a sharpie. that way I could limit what was in the nest so that the chicks would hatch out with in a few days of each other. If not mama often would "jump ship" after the one she deemed last was out. It also helped greatly in knowing what eggs were laid that day so I won't end up with an opps in the house. Did that one not fun.

  5. We've got to get a better system for marking our eggs, too. And it will great when we finally get a real poultry house set up with divisions -- you know, a partition for ducks, partition for chickens, partition for geese -- so we don't have this intermingling that has resulted in ducks hatching out chicks and chickens hatching out ducklings!

  6. At first we had just one hen go broody, but she kept changing the nest box. In the past I have marked eggs with a penciled X, but since we really didn't want chicks this year, I just took the eggs away from her every time she did that. Then there was a period where Dan (who handles the chicken chores) would tell me that every time he went to collect eggs the boxes were full. At first I could just go back another time to collect the eggs, but after awhile we lost track of who was who and what was what. Not a very organized approach to chicken keeping, is it!

    Mama Pea, we really need separate poultry housing as well. We talk about it often and discuss where we might put the ducks, but it just hasn't made it to the top of the list yet. Too much to do!

  7. We have two hens who have gone broody in the nesting boxes. Again. Nevermind that the eggs were unfertilized. I tried moving them to a brooder coop with fertilized eggs, but they refused to cooperate. So I let them return to the nesting boxes, and marked the fertilized eggs. Now every day hens insist on laying eggs in "their" nests. And in the shuffling around, two have broken, making a nasty mess.

    But, if we have new chicks in a couple of weeks I suppose it will all be worth it. :)

  8. Bill, chickens definitely have minds of their own! That shuffling around is a real problem for us too, and we've had a number of broken eggs (with dead chicks). In some ways it seems that brooding cages would be the best way to go, for both giving a hen privacy or breaking broodiness. That's been on my to-do list for awhile, but it's usually crowded out by more pressing issues. So we just play the inconvenience game instead!

  9. What can I say! Those baby chicks are so cute! Nancy


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