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At what age of the laying hen can you let fertilized eggs hatch

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Wjeffgriggs, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Wjeffgriggs

    Wjeffgriggs Songster

    Aug 29, 2011
    Sorry for the newbi question but I cannot find solid answer. I would like to let a couple of my hens go broody this coming spring. They are 2 months old now and should be laying in the spring. Is that to early or to young of a egg to let them hatch?
    Liz7 likes this.

  2. ladyomaha

    ladyomaha Chirping

    Nov 26, 2011
    LMAO I am NO PRO at this but I would think that is to young, until they start laying Eggs them selves, Thats just my guess.
  3. Jay262

    Jay262 Songster

    Apr 21, 2009
    Usually after a few weeks of when they first start laying the eggs should be fertilized you can crack them as you go and look for a bullseye to check. I didnt understand the question i think thats what you meant as for them going broody thats another story thats kinda up to them you can try leaving a fake egg in the nest to stimulate them into going broody once they start laying.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There is no clearcut answer. You can hatch pullet eggs. You can often get decent hatch rates. There are some possible issues though.

    Sometimes it takes pullets a while to get the kinks out of their internal egg laying factory. We often notice that in the shape or size of the eggs, but that can also involve unseen parts, such as nutrition. Digits posted a link about that in another thread today. I was not aware of that before I saw that thread. So it is best to wait a couple of weeks at least to give the pullets time to straighten out all parts their internal egg laying factory.

    Another possible issue. When they start laying, the eggs are smaller than they will be later. They gradually get larger. But the pullets shell gland can make enough shell material for a larger egg. The result is that the egg shell can be pretty thick. Remember I said you can get decent hatch rates, so this is not always a problem, or not even usually a problem. But occasionally some shells are so thick the chick cannot pip and zip. Minor issue.

    The real issue with me is that the pullet eggs are usually pretty small. There is just not enough nutrients inside that egg for the chick to get to a large full size like it would if the egg were a more normal size. The good thing about that is that there is not enough room in the shell for it to fit if it got big anyway. But that means the chick starts out small. I've hatched pullet eggs before and my survival rate in the first 24 hours was not as good as it normally is with regular sized eggs. Other people have not experienced that, so I can't say that happems every time. It is just something that happened with mine. It is certainly possible the small size of the chicks had nothing to do with the mortality rate I saw. All those of mine that made it past the first 24 hours did great. It was just that first day that was rough.

    The ones that made started out small never seemed to totally catch up in size with others. If you are raising them for meat, that might be an issue. If you are raising them for pets or eggs, it probably does not matter.

    With all I've said, unless you are raisng them for meat, I'd wait about two weeks after they start to lay before I tried to hatch any just to let them get the kinks out of their internal egg laying factory, then go for it.

    Your real issue is that you cannot control when your hens will go broody. It is pretty unlikely any of your pullets will go broody until long after they start laying. They may not even go broody at all. You just can't control that.
    Liz7 likes this.
  5. TheHalfWayCoop

    TheHalfWayCoop Chirping

    May 6, 2011
    Campbellville Ontario
    I agree with everything PP said. We've had our silkie pullets go broody and we definitely found that with the smaller sized eggs chicks were either not making it to term to hatch, or came out looking small and under developed and often didn't make it past 24 hours. When our they were a little older and their eggs were a more 'normal' size for their breed their hatch rate definitely improved and we ended up with 6 our of 8 hatching, and the other two quit part way through incubation, so no issues with trying to pip and zip or chick size abnormalities. We definitely didn't think our chickens would go broody so soon, but being silkies I guess that's just how it is for them. I would *think* waiting a little longer rather than sooner can't hurt if it's at all possible [​IMG]
  6. thekid

    thekid Songster

    Quote:After about a month of laying in the spring leave the eggs there for a week, dont even touch the eggs if they feel like it they will go broody. If that does not work after 1 week collect the eggs and the next day leave the eggs in there are any eggs and repeat process until it works.
    Liz7 likes this.
  7. karlamaria

    karlamaria Songster

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    my chicken went broody about a month after she started laying, but buffs are known brooders lol, what have you got?

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