Author Topic: How did this happen?  (Read 5665 times)

mustangsaguaro

  • Guest
How did this happen?
« on: April 12, 2012, 06:27:46 PM »
As some of you know I had a hen that was originally sitting on 20 eggs 3 weeks ago. I eventually took all but 10 eggs away. She was sitting outside very well hidden. About 5 days ago I moved her into the coop as bad weather was coming and I knew chicks were going to hatch and didn\'t want the hen being rained on while chicks were hatching. Well, last night when I closed the doors on everyone else to put in for the night I checked on her. One chick had pipped and I could hear 3 others chirping and trying to pip. This morning when I went out to check the one chick that had pipped had died, it was also shrink wrapped too. I am thinking could the hen have smothered this chick? Also, I didn\'t hear anyone else chirping so decided to open all the eggs. She had a total of 10 left under her. 3 had piped thru the membrane but never got the shell pipped. When I opened these ones up they were literally shrink wrapped too. There were 2 eggs that had chicks that must have died early on. And the remainder it appears they drowned as they never even pipped. All were fully formed chicks w/ the exception of 2 of them.

So, my question is why did this happen? Why the shrink wrap-age as well as the drowned chicks. I could understand if these chicks were in an incubator and an incubator being open and closed possible shrink wrapage, as well as the ones that never pipped thinking to high of humidity. But under a hen I would think humidity would be a huge issue.

Has anyone ever had this happen to them before? I am so frustrated this is the 2nd batch (1st ones were hatched in incubator) where every chick has died. At least my first batch I had some hatch, albeit they died. And I think I know why that happened. But to have everything not hatch why. These were not shipped eggs. These were eggs from my birds I have.


greeneggsandham

  • ABC Members
  • Colleague
  • *
  • Posts: 277
    • View Profile
How did this happen?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2012, 09:58:20 PM »
It could be anything from disease to genetics to poor nutrition.  My hatches are not always great either.  I had several chicks die last year within a day or two that were under the hen.  Their bellies looked black in spots so I am assuming a navel infection.  I\'ve had many that never made it out of the shell (drowning, sticky chicks) and a few that die within a few days.  I brought in new blood and concentrated on extra vitamins and minerals for the hens and roosters prior to collecting the eggs.  It helped somewhat, except for those that just refuse to eat their rations.  I guess they are spoiled to free ranging.  That\'s the only thing I can think of as to why it\'s so hard to get a chick from them.  They won\'t eat.  
Sharon
Hubby rues the day he brought the chicks home...

mustangsaguaro

  • Guest
How did this happen?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 10:24:33 PM »
I\'m not sure about disease. All my birds from the outside look pretty healthy. Genetics wise I think I have pretty good stock.

As for the nutrition of my birds. I was feeding a layer feed up until Nov. of last year and then I switched to whole grains. As I have read that whole grains are better than commercial feeds. And the way I do things I like to keep it as close to natural as possible. My thinking is way back before there were commercial feeds I\'m sure our grandmothers as well as great grandmothers most likely feed whole grains. There are many reasons why I switched to whole grains. This is the first year for these birds breeding as they were hatched out last spring/summer.

I switched to whole grains because it was costing me over $60/month to feed my birds and I\'m not a big fan of the ingredients that are put in the commercial feeds. Especially soy. I have been feeding whole oats, whole barley, wheat, and milo. When I can afford BOSS I will add that as well but BOSS costs $30/bag where I live. As for the protein I was feeding cooked peas and then grinding them up and putting them in w/ the grains. But cooking the peas has become a pain. I have since found alfalfa pellets that are 16% protein to put in w/ the grains. I just added alfalfa pellets  about a week ago. My birds seem to be very picky eaters as they eat all the grains first and leave the pellets for very last. They do free range during the day so I am sure they are getting other bugs and whatnot too. What am I missing? Do they need salt or anything else added to this feed regime? They do receive free choice oyster shell, but wonder if I should free choice it as well as add it in there ration.

I\'m trying to be as cost effective in feeding as possible since my husband and I are on a budget. I know many of you may not agree to feeding strictly whole grains as a diet. I just want to figure out what is going on.

I do have another batch of eggs in the incubator to see what happens. I do also have other breeds of eggs that were shipped to me so I can see a comparision of what hatches from mine vs. the shipped.

OldChurchEggery

  • Guest
How did this happen?
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2012, 08:25:03 AM »
Well, I can think of two things that happened in your recounting of the broody hen story that may have contributed to the low hatch.
1. Initially, there were too many eggs under her. You did take some away to whittle down the amount, but the damage could have already been done at that point. Maybe you ended up taking away the freshest eggs without realizing it, leaving older potentially more deteriorated eggs under her.
2. You moved her and her nest just a few days before hatching. It might have jostled things around or left her unsettled. I would think that any abrupt change that close to hatching wouldn\'t be good.

I had a broody Australorp hen setting eggs that were due to hatch at Easter. It was the first time she\'d ever set eggs, and she hatched 3 of the 7 put under her. She crushed one that pipped and a fifth pipped but seemed to be dried in the shell. I\'d say she did okay. If it was the first time she\'s set eggs, just chalk up the mistakes to inexperience and the disruptions during incubation.

If the problems had something to do with the location of the nest (too damp or dirty, something like that) I don\'t think you would have had so many make it as far as almost hatching. I\'m trying to figure out the best set-up for broody hens because I\'d like to get away from having to keep heat lamps running over flammable material like bedding. My husband and I built three 3x4 units that are half plywood, half wire so that a broody hen could be enclosed in the plywood side \'til she\'s ready to take her chicks out of the nest to explore. Unfortunately they\'re all three filled with chicks I hatched in the incubator! Maybe a designated broody spot where she can be quietly alone would help. At least that would control for interruptions from other hens trying to lay in her nest and you wouldn\'t have to move her.

What kind of water do you have, well water or town water? When I lived outside of DC there were days where the water reeked of chlorine and we had to set it out overnight to let the chlorine evaporate before it was suitable for baking bread because it would kill the yeast. Maybe there\'s something in your water. Do you have copper or lead pipes if you have a well? If you use rainwater caught in a barrel, is your roofing so new that maybe it\'s leaching something? Just trying to think of anything unusual that might lead to low hatches.

mustangsaguaro

  • Guest
How did this happen?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2012, 11:05:59 AM »
Quote from: OldChurchEggery
Well, I can think of two things that happened in your recounting of the broody hen story that may have contributed to the low hatch.
1. Initially, there were too many eggs under her. You did take some away to whittle down the amount, but the damage could have already been done at that point. Maybe you ended up taking away the freshest eggs without realizing it, leaving older potentially more deteriorated eggs under her.
2. You moved her and her nest just a few days before hatching. It might have jostled things around or left her unsettled. I would think that any abrupt change that close to hatching wouldn\'t be good.


I have actually moved broodies before and have not had a problem w/ hatches.  Other times I move broodies and they quit being broody. I have one like that right now. I moved her yesterday into the coop and now she won\'t sit. But she laid her eggs in a machine that does chopping. I could see our landscaper turning it on, to chop/shred stuff and he not know she\'s in there and then she be a goner. Well, since I\'ve moved this one she no longer wants to sit. I\'m hoping she\'ll change her mind. And yes, this is the other ones  first time being broody. Only reason I moved her was because we were going to be getting some bad rains. If it weren\'t for the rains I would not have moved her at all. I don\'t think I took the freshest eggs away from her because when I candled I could tell nothing formed in them. She did end up having to set an extra week for these chicks. I know it could be a lot of different factors, and hoping it was just she had to many eggs under her in the beginning.


Quote from: OldChurchEggery
What kind of water do you have, well water or town water? When I lived outside of DC there were days where the water reeked of chlorine and we had to set it out overnight to let the chlorine evaporate before it was suitable for baking bread because it would kill the yeast. Maybe there\'s something in your water. Do you have copper or lead pipes if you have a well? If you use rainwater caught in a barrel, is your roofing so new that maybe it\'s leaching something? Just trying to think of anything unusual that might lead to low hatches.


The animals drink well water. My husband and I drink bottled water. I know our water has a lot of calcium in it. I don\'t know what kind of pipes we\'ve got here on the property. The house is a very old house. Build in 1935. I don\'t catch rainwater off the roof. I really don\'t feel it could be the water as in the past I have hatched out chicks fine. Both Ameraucana\'s as well as mixes. Maybe this year is just destined to be a bad year for me.

You didn\'t mention if you thought it was the diet I have them on. Could that be the problem too? I have more eggs in the incubator and they are due to hatch in about 2 weeks. Will have to see how these ones do.

Thanks

OldChurchEggery

  • Guest
How did this happen?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 11:39:26 AM »
Hmm. Since I\'ve never tried an all-grain diet for my chickens (I use commercial crumbles and let them range in turns), I don\'t know what effect the diet might have. Maybe they\'re missing some trace element like selenium or something. When I\'ve read \"recipes\" for formulating one\'s own feed, there\'s always ground-up fish meal or crab shells with the note that they provide selenium. Some parts of the country are naturally deficient in it and my area is one of those. When my Jersey cow suddenly lost a lot of weight even though we were feeding lots of locally-cut hay and maintenance pellets, I got worried. I talked to some folks down at the feed store and they said it was a common problem because our area is low in selenium, so hay cut here is low in it as well. I got a mineral block and voila: she started putting on weight again. Coincidence or causality, I\'m not sure. Either way, I was relieved! I hope you can figure out what\'s causing the low hatch results. I\'ve had a frustrating year with the other breeds I raise. So far I\'ve got just 1 pullet out of about thirty Jersey Giant Chicks! Maybe someone else will come along and know just what\'s happening with your eggs.

vanalpaca

  • Guest
How did this happen?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 05:54:31 PM »
Please be aware that an all grain diet is deficient in some of the necessary amino acids. If they are free ranging and able to find bugs/worms, then they are getting complete proteins (amino acids) from that.

There are nutrition calculators that you could input your grain ration and you would see where the deficiency is.

If you feed any kind of meat scraps, dairy, eggs, or cooked legumes with the grains to balance the amino acids, you would be ok.

sprouting the grains does change the nutritional content, but you can\'t create something that isn\'t there.

All the commercial feeds are balanced for amino acid content.

good luck figuring out their nutrition.