Originally Posted by NamahKatana
Ok So I'v had my rooster a week now and he is breeding my hens. I'v seen it a few times. I want to my hens to hatch some eggs. I have 7 hens and 1 rooster. They "free range" in a 15 x 15 ft pen and some times a 1 acre pasture. I feed a grain mixture I get from my dad thats a mix of alot of different grains(I can't remember exactly and it changes with every batch) and free choice oyster shell. Now for my questions.
1. Should I wait longer to make sure the eggs are fertile?
2. How should I help them go broody? Should I leave some eggs and hope one starts setting? Or???
3. If I leave eggs for her to set how long are they viable if she leaves them?
4. How long should I wait before taking the eggs away if she doesn't set?(that are still edible)
5. How long till the eggs should hatch?
6. How do I make sure no other hens are laying eggs in the fertile nest while setting hen is gone?
I'll add more as I think of them =) Thanks
1. your eggs should be fertile within a couple of days with regular breeding. To be sure, crack one or two open and check to see if you have a bulls eye in the middle. You should have a white spot in there regardless. The bullseye is a large "fat tire" or "donut" that will be around the white spot. If you just have a white spot-- it's not fertile. A lot of white spots even have a faint circle around them, and that is still not fertile. The bulls eye will be very obvious.
**. I know of no way to make a pullet/hen go broody. I have silkies, and they are very broody birds, so I spend my time trying to BREAK them of being broody. I do know that sometimes if they are in a pen by themselves, they can go broody on you. From my experience, since we show our birds, I keep them in clean small stacked pens by themselves so they stay clean, and their feathers aren't broken and they are OUT of the sun. For some reason, those factors do tend to make my birds a bit broodier. But I do think it also can depend on the breed of bird. A lot of breeds have had broodiness bred out of them over the years, so they may never go broody-- ever. This tendency was to create better layers that won't stop producing. What breed do you have?
**. About 21 days to hatch a chicken egg. But that is not from point of lay. That is from point of incubation. Your eggs can sit in cool storage for up to 10 days, but I never go over 7 days, myself. This is for chickens, as turkeys will be a bit longer and keets shorter.
**. There is no way to be sure that other hens aren't laying in that nest-- unless the broody is separated out from the other birds and other birds have no access to their nest. I have a broody right now-- one of my other hens will go in and practically sit right on top of her and lay their egg where she is sitting. But because she is broody, she will stand up and kick that new egg under her. Unless you've marked them with pencil or something, you won't know what is new and what is old. I mark my eggs at the big round end the date of hatch in pencil-- I make sure to write in the airsac space so that my markings won't interfere with candling later on.
ETA-- I missed one or two, I guess.
** If you are leaving eggs out in cooler weather-- say around 50 degrees, the eggs should be okay for about 3-4 days, maybe up to 5 if she isn't setting. I just don't know that I would chance it. If you are having warmer weather, those eggs will likely not be any good if they are fertile since they could start developing.
BTW-- you will KNOW when you have a broody. They have very obvious signs. First of all, they go sit in the nest and don't come out. They then pluck off all their chest feathers. (for humidity) And secondly, she will be more grouchy when she is sitting on the nest. Just having a bunch of eggs in the nest isn't going to make a hen go broody.
Edited by Hawkeye95 - 4/16/12 at 10:25am