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Raising Chickens 101

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I've actually done searches and can't find what I'm looking for.  I guess nobody has ever asked before.

Well, I've mustered my courage and I'm going to do it.  I'm going to ask those dumb questions I've been afraid to ask for fear of all you xperts tsk tsk tsking me.  tongue2

#1  Do you need a rooster for a chicken to lay an egg, or do they just fertilize the eggs a chicken lays anyway?

#2  We have one rooster and twenty hens.  How many will he fertilize (he can't get them all can he?)

#3  If the rooster is a barred rock, and he fertilizes a slw egg, what kind of chicken do you get?

#4  Do all fertilized eggs hatch? ...and how does the hen know when to sit on them?

#5  Do chickens have a memory that lasts more than 48 hours?

#6  If a chicken can only lay an egg a day, how does she end up with 9 underneath her, all fertilized and hatching together?

post #2 of 12

1)   roosters aren't needed for eggs.    Someone here said "an egg is the chicken's period"  smile

2)  yes, one young rooster should handle 20 hens with no problems

3)   a mixed breed

4)  hens will sit when their body tells them to go broody.    No, not all eggs will hatch.

5)   I don't know how long their memory is.  Sometimes it seems like they remember forever.  Others, they forget things 20 seconds after it happens

6)   She will move eggs into her nest.  Also, hens like to lay in nests that already have eggs in them.  Thats why you should mark the eggs she is sitting on - the other hens will jump in her nest when she gets up to eat/drink

post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by dainerra 

1)   roosters aren't needed for eggs.    Someone here said "an egg is the chicken's period"  smile

2)  yes, one young rooster should handle 20 hens with no problems

3)   a mixed breed

4)  hens will sit when their body tells them to go broody.    No, not all eggs will hatch.

5)   I don't know how long their memory is.  Sometimes it seems like they remember forever.  Others, they forget things 20 seconds after it happens

6)   She will move eggs into her nest.  Also, hens like to lay in nests that already have eggs in them.  Thats why you should mark the eggs she is sitting on - the other hens will jump in her nest when she gets up to eat/drink


Yeah.  What they said.  big_smile

What's the two things they tell you are healthiest to eat? Chicken and fish. You know what you should do? Combine them, eat a penguin.

 

Primary breeds I raise/sell eggs and chicks from:  EE, dark Cornish bantams, silkies of mixed color, bantam cochins of mixed color, Naked Neck/showgirls, BLRW bantams, Khaki Campbell ducks, and Coturnix quail.

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What's the two things they tell you are healthiest to eat? Chicken and fish. You know what you should do? Combine them, eat a penguin.

 

Primary breeds I raise/sell eggs and chicks from:  EE, dark Cornish bantams, silkies of mixed color, bantam cochins of mixed color, Naked Neck/showgirls, BLRW bantams, Khaki Campbell ducks, and Coturnix quail.

Reply
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

4)  hens will sit when their body tells them to go broody.    No, not all eggs will hatch.

Ok, so it's not whether or not the egg is ready... it's when the chicken is ready?


6)   She will move eggs into her nest.  Also, hens like to lay in nests that already have eggs in them.  Thats why you should mark the eggs she is sitting on - the other hens will jump in her nest when she gets up to eat/drink

So hens sit on other hen's eggs?  Not just her own?  And you don't know which ones will hatch and which ones won't???

post #5 of 12

OK, here is the entire scenario:
Virgin hen lays eggs, about one per day if you are lucky. No Roo around means her eggs won't hatch, no matter what you or she do. Period.
But now Roo enters picture.
Roo mounts hen and impregnates her.  The sperm can live in the hen for almost 3 weeks, fertilizing eggs before the shell is applied.
In nature, hen finds a hidden nest spot, returns to the spot and lays an egg per day ( or so) and after 10 to 15 days if the moons align and her hormones kick in at the right season, she goes broody and sets ( not sits) on the hidden nest of 10 or so eggs. 21 days later chicks hatch IF all the eggs were fertilized, all were kept equally warm, none had chromosomal damage and none got cracked in the entire process of turning by mama numerous times a day. Oh.. and if the nest wasn't raided by predators.

When humans enter the process, lots of things can happen.
They can artificially inseminate the hens. ( That's another thread. Google it.)
They can remove eggs so the hen will never accumulate a nest full.
They can replace a hen's eggs with other eggs.  Hens really aren't that intelligent and cannot tell the difference. However, hens CAN tell the difference between eggs with developing embryos and sterile eggs. ( No I cannot explain that.)
Sometimes a hen gets frustrated and decides to set on nothing at all. ( Hormones do strange things-- ask any woman!)
More often, nothing on earth can make that hen set on a bunch of roundish lumps for three weeks no matter what incentives are offered. Some are just not made to be mothers.
Sometimes one hen decides to give setting a try, and the next hen likes the idea and before you know it, the entire coop decides to go broody. ( Misery loves company.)
Sometimes it all works as God intended and you end up with cute lil chicks following mamahen.
Or, you buy a couple chicks and slip them under a broody mom at night and she wakes up  happily clucking " I'm a mama!!"  Or she kills the intruders.
Any or all of the above MAY happen at any given time. Humans have limited input into the situations mentioned.

No question is too dumb to ask:)

If I had known a few chickens would make the man THAT happy....
mom & dad,teaching our rescue BRT Bess all about chickens, EE, Orps and now marans!  The man says we are switching to orps and marans, and they'reHISchickens!
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If I had known a few chickens would make the man THAT happy....
mom & dad,teaching our rescue BRT Bess all about chickens, EE, Orps and now marans!  The man says we are switching to orps and marans, and they'reHISchickens!
Reply
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

they'reHISchickens :

OK, here is the entire scenario:
Virgin hen lays eggs, about one per day if you are lucky. No Roo around means her eggs won't hatch, no matter what you or she do. Period.
But now Roo enters picture.
Roo mounts hen and impregnates her.  The sperm can live in the hen for almost 3 weeks, fertilizing eggs before the shell is applied.
In nature, hen finds a hidden nest spot, returns to the spot and lays an egg per day ( or so) and after 10 to 15 days if the moons align and her hormones kick in at the right season, she goes broody and sets ( not sits) on the hidden nest of 10 or so eggs. 21 days later chicks hatch IF all the eggs were fertilized, all were kept equally warm, none had chromosomal damage and none got cracked in the entire process of turning by mama numerous times a day. Oh.. and if the nest wasn't raided by predators.

When humans enter the process, lots of things can happen.
They can artificially inseminate the hens. ( That's another thread. Google it.)
They can remove eggs so the hen will never accumulate a nest full.
They can replace a hen's eggs with other eggs.  Hens really aren't that intelligent and cannot tell the difference. However, hens CAN tell the difference between eggs with developing embryos and sterile eggs. ( No I cannot explain that.)
Sometimes a hen gets frustrated and decides to set on nothing at all. ( Hormones do strange things-- ask any woman!)
More often, nothing on earth can make that hen set on a bunch of roundish lumps for three weeks no matter what incentives are offered. Some are just not made to be mothers.
Sometimes one hen decides to give setting a try, and the next hen likes the idea and before you know it, the entire coop decides to go broody. ( Misery loves company.)
Sometimes it all works as God intended and you end up with cute lil chicks following mamahen.
Or, you buy a couple chicks and slip them under a broody mom at night and she wakes up  happily clucking " I'm a mama!!"  Or she kills the intruders.
Any or all of the above MAY happen at any given time. Humans have limited input into the situations mentioned.

No question is too dumb to ask:)


Wow!  Somebody finally gets through!  I could kiss you on both cheeks!  Could we ask just one more question?

How do we know when to collect the eggs and when to leave them for mama to set on?  There is 0 chance of her hiding any eggs in our coop.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

And one more:  do you isolate a hen with little chicks so the others won't attack them?

post #8 of 12

Answer to final question: You DON'T know when/if she will brood. See paragraphs on when human enters equation.
There are numerous threads on trying to create broodies. General consensus is that it can't be done/ can't be predicted/hormones are like that.
Tendency to brood depends on breed/season/almanac predictions ( just kidding on that last one.)
Rumor has it that silkies go broody when you say BOO!
Rumor has it that hatchery egglaying breeds like leghorns and sexlinks never go broody. I just had a hatchery RIR do it... She never heard that rumor.
If you are desperate, try putting a dozen golf balls in a nest for a few weeks. Disclaimer: don't say I told you to do it if it doesn't work.

AS to leaving the hen & chicks in the coop:
A mamahen usually is the most ferocious critter in the yard. They bite and defend- viciously if necessary.
I have luck with keeping them in with the flock (sometimes), my daughter has disaster with it. Depends on hens, coop, you, stars in conjunction,the mailman's junk mail, and your spouse's cousin's brotherinlaw's mother. Your mileage will definitely vary.  I love it when it works and cope when it doesn't.

If I had known a few chickens would make the man THAT happy....
mom & dad,teaching our rescue BRT Bess all about chickens, EE, Orps and now marans!  The man says we are switching to orps and marans, and they'reHISchickens!
Reply
If I had known a few chickens would make the man THAT happy....
mom & dad,teaching our rescue BRT Bess all about chickens, EE, Orps and now marans!  The man says we are switching to orps and marans, and they'reHISchickens!
Reply
post #9 of 12

they'reHISchickens :

Answer to final question: You DON'T know when/if she will brood. See paragraphs on when human enters equation.
There are numerous threads on trying to create broodies. General consensus is that it can't be done/ can't be predicted/hormones are like that.
Tendency to brood depends on breed/season/almanac predictions ( just kidding on that last one.)
Rumor has it that silkies go broody when you say BOO!
Rumor has it that hatchery egglaying breeds like leghorns and sexlinks never go broody. I just had a hatchery RIR do it... She never heard that rumor.
If you are desperate, try putting a dozen golf balls in a nest for a few weeks. Disclaimer: don't say I told you to do it if it doesn't work.

AS to leaving the hen & chicks in the coop:
A mamahen usually is the most ferocious critter in the yard. They bite and defend- viciously if necessary.
I have luck with keeping them in with the flock (sometimes), my daughter has disaster with it. Depends on hens, coop, you, stars in conjunction,the mailman's junk mail, and your spouse's cousin's brotherinlaw's mother. Your mileage will definitely vary.  I love it when it works and cope when it doesn't.


Hilarious!!

post #10 of 12

I knew when mine were broody because she wouldn't come out of her box. She pecked my hand when I would reach in. Others would disappear. I let them out during the day and I would think something ate them, until they showed up with chicks! That was years ago. I also agree that the only dumb question is the one left unasked.
Now I am just waiting and hoping some will go broody for me next spring  jumpyyippiechickie

Living on a 250,000 acre ranch with our milk cow, horses, sheep,Maremma Livestock Guardians, a passle of chickens, some ducks and an aging Golden Retriever who doesn't know he's adopted. (we are just ranch hands) Trusting in Him and loving the life He's blessed us with
http://forpeteysake.blogspot.com/

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Living on a 250,000 acre ranch with our milk cow, horses, sheep,Maremma Livestock Guardians, a passle of chickens, some ducks and an aging Golden Retriever who doesn't know he's adopted. (we are just ranch hands) Trusting in Him and loving the life He's blessed us with
http://forpeteysake.blogspot.com/

Reply
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