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Basic questions about broody hens and eggs

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
OK I'm new to this chicken keeping stuff. I've raised 9 chickens from day olds and now would like to experience hens hatching their own babies. How does this work? Do you leave eggs in the nest for a while and encourage hens to go broody? My silkie always hangs out in the nest box but not all day just a few hours. So once my hen goes broody can I then order eggs from my pet chicken or do I need to already have the eggs on hand? I have a rooster but I wanted to add some more silkies to the flock. He is a copper Maran mix. What else do I need to know? Will hens in a nest box overheat in the hot Alabama temps?
post #2 of 11

Your silkie should go broody very soon if she's been laying for a little while, the increasing day light hours and spring weather should trigger her hormones to lay/find a clutch and brood them. I suggest adding golf balls, fake eggs or anything egg like that won't spoil in her favorite nest box every day or two add another and she'll think she has done a wonderful job of egg collecting. I live in Mississippi and as long as your coop is well build and has a proper roof the heat shouldn't be too much of a issue inside your coop (assuming the nest boxes are in a coop). You make want to check our your local Facebook groups for chickens and find fellow silkie owners who are willing to sell you some fertile eggs when she goes broody for you. Or you can create a ISO ad when she does and you're bound to find someone with some silkies eggs... especially if you aren't wanting a full dozen like most people who use incubators you could easily find a nice sized clutch for her.

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Braxton Brigade View Post
 

Your silkie should go broody very soon if she's been laying for a little while, the increasing day light hours and spring weather should trigger her hormones to lay/find a clutch and brood them. I suggest adding golf balls, fake eggs or anything egg like that won't spoil in her favorite nest box every day or two add another and she'll think she has done a wonderful job of egg collecting. I live in Mississippi and as long as your coop is well build and has a proper roof the heat shouldn't be too much of a issue inside your coop (assuming the nest boxes are in a coop). You make want to check our your local Facebook groups for chickens and find fellow silkie owners who are willing to sell you some fertile eggs when she goes broody for you. Or you can create a ISO ad when she does and you're bound to find someone with some silkies eggs... especially if you aren't wanting a full dozen like most people who use incubators you could easily find a nice sized clutch for her.

X2

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the information! Our coop is made from a metal shed with a run attached. We did pull a part of one wall off (replaced it with wire) and added a small fan to move the air around. My hubby builds robotic equipment so our coop has automatic doors that open every am and a fan that comes on automatically when a certain temp is reached. With that said they were panting the other day when it got up to 89 degrees. I figure they will have to take some time to adapt to the hotter temps. My hen has only laid about a dozen or two eggs. Is that too early?
post #5 of 11
With silkies you never know how early they may feel the need to brood haha, however the general opinion is that it's usually after they've been laying for a few months. You're right about the birds having to adjust to temperatures that are different than they are used to, the fan should help them acclimate a little easier though. Most of all about chickens is that they only do things when you aren't expecting it/hoping for it lol I saw someone sum that up in a phrase the other day when they said "a watched egg never hatches" and it seems all too true for me.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ok. One more question. My silkie sat all day yesterday on her eggs and overnight. Then this morning she gave up and rejoined the flock. Should I just discard the eggs or does this indicate she will be back. I know they are suppose to take breaks but she has been on a break all day. Sure would be helpful if she would just do what I tell her to do. Lol
post #7 of 11

Fake eggs of some sort will be the easiest way to encourage sitting, her sleeping in the box could be a bad habit of a sign that she's getting ready to be serious about going broody. I would discard the eggs or mark them and replace every few days. Usually when a bird goes broody they take their break in the early morning when you let the other girls out, mine is so serious about being broody that I don't even see her leave really. When my hen was going to go broody she would stay a bit puffed up in the yard and would sit a little one day and then not even the next, maybe 3 days of this before she decided to actually commit and set on a clutch. I candled the eggs last night and the poor girl was setting on infertile eggs :idunno so I have to try to get her some eggs.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickentvforme View Post

Ok. One more question. My silkie sat all day yesterday on her eggs and overnight. Then this morning she gave up and rejoined the flock. Should I just discard the eggs or does this indicate she will be back. I know they are suppose to take breaks but she has been on a break all day. Sure would be helpful if she would just do what I tell her to do.

In the beginning they can start and stop for a bit. It can go either way at that point.

It depends on what you want. Do you want her to hatch some babies for you? If you do give her fake eggs to encourage her to sit. After a few days you will know if she is serious. Once she is sitting and only getting off for brief times to poo and eat then you can give her the hatching eggs. When my broodys are serious they will sit on nothing and brood away......

Now on the other hand if you dont want chicks you will have to break her....

Good luck either way....

Marie

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ooh all really good information. Thank you so much. I do want babies. I was hoping I could get some more silks or white sultans. But considering my rooster is a bit of a mutt (a pretty one) I'm concerned about what these babies will become. I'll attach a pic of Taco the rooster for you. Stella (my white silkie) is sitting on a EE egg, two silkie eggs and buff orp. Egg. All crossed with this roo. What a crazy bunch of chick's this will be. When do you actually start counting the days to hatch? When she actually stays 100% on the eggs?
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickentvforme View Post

Ooh all really good information. Thank you so much. I do want babies. I was hoping I could get some more silks or white sultans. But considering my rooster is a bit of a mutt (a pretty one) I'm concerned about what these babies will become. I'll attach a pic of Taco the rooster for you. Stella (my white silkie) is sitting on a EE egg, two silkie eggs and buff orp. Egg. All crossed with this roo. What a crazy bunch of chick's this will be. When do you actually start counting the days to hatch? When she actually stays 100% on the eggs?

Beautiful rooster by the way.

Yes, when she only takes small breaks.  Are these the eggs she left all day?


Edited by 16 paws - 3/22/16 at 5:53pm
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