Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - Five out of Nine - could have been better

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 29, 2020 10:26 pm
Posts: 8
Location: South West WA
Hi, everyone.

My very first clutch of chicken eggs started hatching last week. Sadly, out of the nine which hatched, four were dead before they could even dry out. Three of them appeared to have herniated at whatever the chicken equivalent of the umbilicus is and the fourth one was lying dead and untouched in two-thirds of a shell.

The brooding was done by Red Chook (a Mystery Hybrid) and Blue Chook (a Blue Australorp). Both of them are large soft-feathered birds. They went on the cluck within days of each other and decided to share one next box for the duration. They're pretty much inseparable.

While Red and Blue were sitting they had premium poultry mix, soluble multivitamins, Anitone, fruit and veg scraps and the occasional handful of live mealworms. Their nest box is a modified covered cat toilet (the ones you get from the Reject Shop or Red Dot) with jarrah sawdust and shavings as substrate so it was kept nice and cosy during the unseasonal cold rainy nights we were having for a while.

Could the herniated chicks have been injured by an inexperienced hen getting a bit too hasty about helping them out of their shell? Do hens even do that? Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I should set the nursery up next time one of the girls goes broody, please? (I'm hoping my two Light Sussex will be the next to feel the call of the hormones.)

The five surviving chicks are active, cheeky little buggers and I've already had to surround the nursery pen with plastic gutterguard to keep them from going on adventures. (I only just finished persuading Mrs Goshawk to go and look elsewhere for her dinner.) They are such time-wasters. I spent five minutes the other morning just watching one of them figure out how to eat a mealworm.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:17 pm 
Golden Brush Turkey
Golden Brush Turkey
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:07 am
Posts: 23519
Location: toodyay, WA
it is better to have just one hen sitting in a nest, as the eggs can get cold as the chickens squabble over the eggs.
were they posted eggs, 5 out of 9 is a good result if so.

if not, maybe boost the parent nutrition with the vitamins, anitone etc BEFORE they go broody. your broody diet is good.

this is a good result. its a learning curve. keep at it it is also very addictive. :)

Anconas, Silkies and Pekins :) Caladenia Cottage
Wonderful Silkies

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