A dozen eggs too many?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PatS, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    I have some hatchery Buff Orpingtons hens who are probably 4 or 5 lbs. They are not the big, fluffy girls that BOs bred to meet the standards of perfection are. (Although they are pretty fluffy compared to hatchery chickens of other breeds.) I AM looking to get some nice, big hatching eggs from Orpington breeders to put under my girls as they go broody. My question is, how many can I slip under them? I've had 7 or 8 hatch with no problem in the past, but never tried more than that. Is a dozen too many? Fifteen?

  2. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    go for the happy medium and try 10.
  3. wsmoak

    wsmoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would not do 15 or even 12. I had a broody Barred Plymouth Rock last year and gave her too many eggs. She couldn't really keep all of them under her, and she'd accidentally push them out of the nest as she turned and arranged them. She's also not a very big girl. I think 8-10 is a good number.

  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    As you obviously know, chickens come in different sizes and eggs come in different sizes. A bantam may struggle to cover just a few regular sized eggs where a larger hen can cover a lot more. And it is not just covering the eggs that is important. The hen has to be able to cover the chicks for a while and they grow pretty fast. In the summer when it is warm covering the chciks is a lot less important than covering them in the winter.

    I've seen a hen cover 18 eggs she laid herself in a hidden nest. That was decades ago and I can't remember how many she actually hatched, but it was most of them. Last year I had a hen raise 15 chicks in the summer and not lose any. In winter, I'd cut back on those numbers.

    As a rule, I'd be comfortable giving a hen at least 12 eggs of the size she would normally lay herself, regardless of the weather. I would expect a hatchery Buff Orp to be able to handle a dozen Buff Orp eggs, whether those eggs come from hatchery Buff Orps or a breeder's Buff Orps. I really don't think you are going to see any significant difference in the size of those eggs unless the breeder has really been working on increasing egg size.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by