Originally Posted by aplynn
Candled all 12 of the eggs in the bator last night and as far as I can tell they all have a nice looking air sac, some beautiful, vains, and movement lots of it. Keeping fingers crossed it keeps on this smooth. MUCH better than the last bunch. only 3 survivors.
on another note, anyone have any ideas on how to promote a hen to go broody and also what signs (other then the obvious laying on the eggs) do I look for to see if she is broody?
Mostly Importantly, you need to start with pullets/hens that tend toward going broody. Some hens will not go broody no matter what you do. Hens that have been broody in past are likely candidates but after they are older, they may not want to sit. My flock consists of a few New Hampshire hens, Icelandic hens and Icelandic roosters. I received 16 New Hampshires four years ago and only one went broody the first year. I still have her but she has not gone broody again. Most of the Icelandic pullets/hens I've had, over the last almost six years, have gone broody. I have had a few that never have so even among broody breeds, you will have those that don't want to sit. I don't usually have to promote broodiness in my flock. Usually I am trying to keep them from going broody too soon, but in the case of this hatchalong, I will encourage them so I can be an "official" participant.
Normally, I have a single golf ball or plastic egg (mine are white and contain some sand to give them weight) in each of my ten nest boxes and collect eggs each evening.
When I want to encourage a broody, I still take the fresh eggs out each evening but I replace each one with a golf ball/plastic egg.
As the days pass, the quantity of eggs in the nests (there are ten nests but the hens only use four or five of them) increases. This is how a hen without human interference would "build a clutch".
A pullet or hen that is "thinking about sitting" will spend more time on the nest during the day (this is why I collect all eggs and only leave fake eggs, so that the eggs will be closer in development) but will return to the roost at night. During morning feeding time, she may puff-up and "grumble" when eating and run from the rooster "grumbling". My 6 year rooster will not even "approach" one "grumbling", he knows what is going on. He will "coax" her to the feed and encourage her to eat. The cockerel (will be a year old this spring) will learn that lesson soon, I hope!!
When one of mine shows an interest by staying on the nest at night, then I know she is serious. After dark, I will still remove the fresh egg(s) from under her and replace with a fake one. If she is back on the nest the next night, I will put together the eggs I want her to sit on. At this point, she is "flattening down on the eggs" and refusing to let the other hens use the nest. If there are no new eggs in the nest the following evening, I will, after dark, remove the fakes and give her the eggs I want her to sit on. The eggs are marked so that if a different hen gets on the nest when she is off "doing her business" or/and eating and drinking, I can remove the unmarked, fresh egg. I check each evening for fresh eggs and if there is consistently an egg, I will consider moving the broody to her own separate place....which is another long post so I won't go into that here.
This is how I do it.....I hope others will chime in!