Originally Posted by Phill98
I don't have the broody right now, but I plan on doing it, I know that they sometimes lay one or two eggs when they start to sit.
And do you know how much eggs should go under a broody? I can put under most of my hens tops 19 eggs, but I don't think that they could take care of that many. Especially if they all hatch
If your hens are heavy, that is far too many eggs. That's asking for broken eggs and lower hatch rate under such a broody.
10-12 is a good average number. I do like to give them the maximum number they can cover with direct skin contact, then candle at 2 or 3 days to remove any infertiles(which is also a good way to reduce the egg number to a better one for maximum hatchability).
Also the eggs are properly warmed if they have direct contact with the naked skin on her breast... if they are simply covered by feathers or wing with no direct skin contact, they are got getting properly warmed. So if only 10 eggs at a time are getting direct breast contact, the other 9 eggs are going to get cooled down a lot, to the point some are going to be killed.. The hen rotates the eggs around some, which can lead to the killed eggs rolling directly under her and the live eggs rolled out to the too-cool areas and then get killed. It's not so rare for hens trying to sit on 20+ eggs to end up hatching less than 5 chicks for this reason.
Also all hens are able to take care of many more chicks than eggs. This is because the chicks are more mobile than eggs, they can and will snuggle and stand up against her breast and sides, and here the chicks can get warmed under the wing, unlike with the eggs.
Peahens(female peacocks/peafowl) look like such big birds but they are actually mostly tail and huge wings.. their actual body is rather small. Their broody patch on breast is surprisingly small for such a big bird. They can only really sit on 4, maybe 6 eggs with good success. But, they can easily take care of 10-15 chicks very well. I used to set eggs under several broody peahens and chicken eggs to hatch on the same day and give all of them to a single peahen.
Very much agree chicks raised under hens can be stronger than brooder chicks. They can tolerate temperatures that would kill brooder chicks of the same age...