A Few "newbie" Questions


9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
Laconia NH
Hello! I have a few questions, not sure if they will seem stupid so everyone, but im pretty much brand new to this, and this site seems so helpful! Ok here it goes
1 when would you expect hens to start laying?
2 It looks like i have a rooster in my mix. Im happy about it, as long as its only 1! i only have 8 birds total. Do i do anything different for him? raise him the same?
3 if he fertilizes an egg, will a hen automatically take over and stay on it? is that what a broody hen is for? How will I know she is doing that? they are probably too young this year, unless they breed in the winter too...? i live in NH, it gets pretty cold.
4 do people let their chickens roam the yard/area or should I keep them in a run?

Thank you all soooo much!
First off, welcom to the world of chickens!!

There are different opinions on many of your questions, but I'll give you my opinions...

1.) A lot depends on the breed what age they beginn to lay. Usually you'll be at 20+ weeks before they lay, tho some lay earlier, many lay later.
2.) The rooster gets similar care as the pullets. You'll want to feed something like "Flock Raiser" and offer separate calcium (oyster shell) for the pullets when they begin to lay eggs.
3.) He will fertilize eggs...more than you'll want to hatch! Fertilized eggs are edible eggs. You just collect them daily and put them in the refrigerator. This stops an embryo from growing. If you leave them in the nest boxes and the chickens set on them, then they will mature into chicks. All your eggs will likely be fertilized, but a hen will not necessarily set on an egg that is fertilized. Some hens will eventually go "broody" and want to set on eggs. (of course, I have no rooster, and one of my girls insists on setting on any egg left in the nest, or if the eggs have been collected, she'll just set on her imaginary eggs!) If allowed to set on the fertilized eggs, a broody hen will hatch and rear your chicks. You have to decide whether it is the right time to be rearing chicks in the season your girl is going broody.
4.) I have a run attached to my coop. I open it up in the morning around 7am. They are free to go in/out of the coop and run during that time. In the evenings, I allow my girls to free range. They put themselves to bed at dusk through the open coop door. (I shut the run and pop door when I free range them.) I then just lock up after a head count. I personally don't let them free range before 4-6 pm. Why? I had been getting 10-13 eggs a day when letting them out at 6pm. On the one day I let them out to free range at noon, I got 4 eggs! I don't want to go on an Easter Egg hunt every day!! They seem to be pretty much done with laying by 6pm.
i have one chicken who goes broody all the time, i think she is broody fot the tenth time right now, and she is only 14 months old!. I also had one chicken start to lay around 16 weeks, but it was more like 20 for the rest of my flock. i dont have a rooster, mainly because i think a rooster would stress out the hens, especially if you have one that pulls feathers, and i want my hens to be happy. i let my chickens free range, but last week i had one of my hens picked up by an owl or hawk so im more strict on when i let them in. i used to put them in about 30 mins before dark, now i put them in about 1 1/2 hours before dark.
Hope it helped

... By the way-

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