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First time incubating eggs

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm going to be breeding three of my hens soon and incubating their eggs to grow my flock and start some for a few of my friends and I would just like some help. I've done a lot of research but I'd like tips from people who have done this before and I have a few questions. My first question is if a hen is bred and goes broody when would she stop laying eggs? I know that when a hen goes broody she stops laying but that doesn't seem right if she stops laying after one egg and sits on it. Does she lay a clutch then stops?

 

Another question I have is more just some confusion from something I read, it said something like 'the eggs need to be set in the incubator at least ten days after being laid, does that mean the eggs can survive without warmth after being laid? This would be very useful to know because it could solve my broody hen problem.

 

I can't be around to get the eggs the second they are laid, so I was going to have my one of my hens go broody. Last fall my ornamental bantam went broody by herself but the eggs weren't alive so nothing happened. She seemed happy doing it so  just let her for awhile and she seemed like a very good mother. She wasn't closed in because she's only around three other hens so when the other hens had to lay they would push her off and do their thing then she would just sit on the eggs they had laid. I was going to see if I can get her to do that again and have her sit on them when they were laid. I want to breed her too but I was going to wait until after I get all the eggs from the other hens but if she's not laying then I can't.

 

She stopped laying after she went broody last fall and just started again the other day, I'm assuming she only lays seasonally but I don't know. I'd be grateful for any help giving!

post #2 of 4

Honestly Ive never had a broody hen so I cant really answer those questions.  What I can answer is collect your eggs at least once if not twice a day.  Set them on the counter in an egg turner that you would use in your incubator pointy end down.  Or alternatively you can place them in an egg carton and prop one of the long sides up with a book or something of the like as long as they are sitting at 45 degree angle.  If you do the second method, the need to be turned 3 times a day.  Eggs start to lose their fertility rate between 7 to 10 days.  Id stick them in the incubator at 7 days or before if you get enough eggs.  Store the eggs in a cool spot.  You dont want them to get hot or else they will go bad but you dont want them cold either.   Im thinking like 65ish degrees if Im remembering correctly. Someone else may have the answer to that.  Hope this helps you.  Good luck with your hatch.

Crazy zoo lady.  Cats, dogs, parrots, lizards, chickens and geese lol
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Crazy zoo lady.  Cats, dogs, parrots, lizards, chickens and geese lol
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post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virus View Post
 

I'm going to be breeding three of my hens soon and incubating their eggs to grow my flock and start some for a few of my friends and I would just like some help. I've done a lot of research but I'd like tips from people who have done this before and I have a few questions. My first question is if a hen is bred and goes broody when would she stop laying eggs? I know that when a hen goes broody she stops laying but that doesn't seem right if she stops laying after one egg and sits on it. Does she lay a clutch then stops?

 

Another question I have is more just some confusion from something I read, it said something like 'the eggs need to be set in the incubator at least ten days after being laid, does that mean the eggs can survive without warmth after being laid? This would be very useful to know because it could solve my broody hen problem.

 

I can't be around to get the eggs the second they are laid, so I was going to have my one of my hens go broody. Last fall my ornamental bantam went broody by herself but the eggs weren't alive so nothing happened. She seemed happy doing it so  just let her for awhile and she seemed like a very good mother. She wasn't closed in because she's only around three other hens so when the other hens had to lay they would push her off and do their thing then she would just sit on the eggs they had laid. I was going to see if I can get her to do that again and have her sit on them when they were laid. I want to breed her too but I was going to wait until after I get all the eggs from the other hens but if she's not laying then I can't.

 

She stopped laying after she went broody last fall and just started again the other day, I'm assuming she only lays seasonally but I don't know. I'd be grateful for any help giving!

Well, Bantams are good for being broody, but you can't make a hen go broody.  When you are collecting eggs for storing to incubate, whether it's in an incubator or under a hen, you collect the eggs, most store them upright in cartons and tilt the cartons a couple times a day. (Whether tilting/turning is necessary during storing is an ongoing disagreement, like a lot of hatching philosophies. ;) ) It's recommended to keep them in a controlled temp of 50-60F but in reality if you keep it under 70F you should be good. Higher than 80 and you can get sporadic development. A lot of hatcher will only set eggs that are a week or less, the recommendation is 10 days or less an most hatchers agree that after 2 weeks it significantly lowers hatchability.

 

Chickens need a certain amount of day light (I believe it's somewhere around 12) to be productive layers. During the winter the daylight hours are short and many hens stop laying.

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

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Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

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post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for clearing things up for me, it will make this much easier for me! It's really helpful to know I can store the eggs for a few days before putting them in the incubator so I won't worry to much about making my hen go broody, though I'm going to see if she wants to hatch her own eggs and if not I can. I'm still waiting for my incubator so it's good to know all this before I put the eggs in and just end up losing all of them. Thanks again!

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