IN­CU­BA­TION IN­TER­RUPTED

Country Smallholding - - Vet's Forum -

QIhad two broody hens and there was about 10 days be­tween the two hatches. When the first clutch hatched, the sec­ond broody hen left her eggs. I know I should have sep­a­rated them, but I didn’t. She’s ac­tu­ally gone back on, hav­ing been off for about 12 hours. The eggs are about 10 days into the in­cu­ba­tion. Will they be all right?

VR SAYS: There is a learn­ing curve with brood­ies! Ob­tain­ing match­ing-time hatch­ing eggs may be dif­fi­cult if not im­pos­si­ble. If she had not gone back on, you could have tried bor­row­ing an in­cu­ba­tor - 12 hours’ cool­ing in warmer weather should not be a prob­lem. The eggs may take an ex­tra day to hatch, that’s all. Keep her quiet and iso­lated in the mean­time. If the eggs turn out to be dud, you could still keep hatch­ing since your flock is rather more in­tended for meat than for show­ing. Build up some egg num­bers and then bor­row an in­cu­ba­tor. Eggs less than 14 days old will give you the best hatch­ing rate. The heavy pure breeds are best hatched early in the year so that they have time to grow eco­nom­i­cally to their best po­ten­tial. Ban­tams or cross-breeds can be hatched all year round, but you would need to give late hatches some light and pos­si­bly heat in the darker days to keep them grow­ing. They will no doubt catch up in the spring but will have cost you a lot more to rear.

Check­ing the eggs un­der a broody hen

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