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? Eggs are fertile within a few days.
2. How should I help them go broody? Should I leave some eggs and hope one starts setting? Or??? Each breed is different. Some go broody a lot on one hand, to those that almost never go broody. What breeds do you have?
3. If I leave eggs for her to set how long are they viable if she leaves them? Do not leave eggs out for her, if she goes broody, she will sit on nothing and remain broody. Trust me , I have a girl that has been sitting for weeks. Leave out wooden eggs and see who sits on them. If she starts incubating the eggs, you will need a back up source immediately, as in within an hour. Make a home made incubator perhaps.
4. How long should I wait before taking the eggs away if she doesn't set?(that are still edible) See answer to 3
5. How long till the eggs should hatch? 21 days give or take.
6. How do I make sure no other hens are laying eggs in the fertile nest while setting hen is gone?I had this happen. Started with 15 eggs, finished with 30-40 eggs. MARK the original eggs and remove the extras. Be sure you can see the writing well and permanent. Other hens will squeeze in even with the hen on the nest and she says " Thank you" and tucks them under!
I'll add more as I think of them =) Thanks
Find the thread on broodies; it has a list of breeds and the likely hood of going broody; actually, if you scan page 1 or 2, it should be there.