Broody hen & fertilized eggs.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Justhatched, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to add more but need to know the best way. I am thinking when one of my girls goes broody I would get some fertile eggs to put under her. Is there an average age when a hen goes broody? Mine are 23 weeks tomorrow. Is there a season when it usually happens? I'm thinking this would happen next spring or so. Since I always see so many advertisements for chicks then. Or does it just happen when it happens? How many could a standard broody hen sit on? Is it best to keep them separate from our other girls? If so when they are introduced back into the flock what are the chances of the chicks getting pecked by the other girls? What age is the best age to introduce them back in? We have a smaller coop attached to the main coop. They would see each other but would be separated by hardware cloth. Would that help with the reintroduction?

    I was thinking I would get fertilized eggs from a hatchery. Is there pro's or con's to this? Is there a hatchery that you really like?
    I want to add more chickens but not sure about having a rooster. I currently have 4 Silkie roosters that I am trying to sell. We never got any girls so the boys have to go. I personally don't want to have Silkie mix chickens.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Wow! You've asked a lot of good questions. I'll try a few.

    Is there an average age when a hen goes broody?

    Not really. Some go broody very shortly after they start to lay. Some never go broody. Most of mine that have gone broody at all have first gone broody when they are around a year old, but I really hate to call that an average.

    Is there a season when it usually happens? I'm thinking this would happen next spring or so. Since I always see so many advertisements for chicks then. Or does it just happen when it happens?

    It happens when it happens, but it seems ot happen more often for me late spring or in the summer.

    How many could a standard broody hen sit on?

    Both chickens and eggs come in different sizes. I've seen some hens sit on and hatch 18 eggs. Some bantams cannot cover 4 standard sized eggs. In general, I think a dozen eggs the size the hen normally lays is a good number, but in reality they can usually handle a few more.

    Is it best to keep them separate from our other girls? If so when they are introduced back into the flock what are the chances of the chicks getting pecked by the other girls? What age is the best age to introduce them back in? We have a smaller coop attached to the main coop. They would see each other but would be separated by hardware cloth. Would that help with the reintroduction?

    This one is worth a book. So many people do so many different things both during the incubation then after the eggs hatch. A lot of this depends on how much room they have and the set-up and on the personality of the individual hens. I have a lot of room and I usually let the hen incubate the eggs in the coop after marking them so I can check every day to remove any others that show up. When they hatch, I let the hen decide when to bring them off the nest, then isolate the hen and chicks for a coupld of days so the chicks can get used to eating without the other adults interfering. But after a couple of days I turn the broody and chicks loose to mix with the rest of the flock. To me, there are different benefits to this, th ebig one being that the hen takes care of integration. She does not take care of pecking order so after they are weaned they have a bit of a rough life until they are mature enough to carve out their own place in the flock. As I said, a book. Others successfully do it other ways. There is no one right answer to cover all of us.

    I was thinking I would get fertilized eggs from a hatchery. Is there pro's or con's to this? Is there a hatchery that you really like?

    You can do that, but I suggest you try your state thread first. If you do a search on your state in the Where am I? Where are you? forum, you can probably find someone close by that has hatching eggs on short notice in the breeds you like. Driving to pick them up is better on them than shipping them.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  4. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for answering all my questions. I know it is a lot.[​IMG]
     
  5. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yes you have helped a lot!! I went right over to the Where am I? Where are you? forum. Thank you! I hadn't been there before. I hope I could get some eggs from them.[​IMG]
     
  6. ki4got

    ki4got Hatch-a-Holic

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    one thing to consider, some breeds go broody a whole lot more than others do. some quite frequently, some hardly ever.

    if you have a hen that does go broody, like the other responses noted, she could do it at pretty much any age after starting to lay eggs.

    many recommend keeping her separated from the others, but personally I only have the 1 coop right now so that wasn't an option for me. it works out though, even tho she's the least dominant hen. when the others go into the box to lay (and sit on the eggs while they're there) she gets to take a break and go eat / drink and get a bit of exercise. then when they leave she's right back on the nest... I'm going to have to do something as my nest is fairly high up off the ground and i don't want the chicks falling. I'm thinking i'll try to relocate her into a cat carrier, and just put that in the bottom of the coop for her to get the chicks in/out until they're a bit larger...

    as for food you can build a 'creep feeder' for the chicks, that allows them access to the food while the larger birds can't get into it... i made mine fairly simply with some old milk crates, inverted over the feeder. the chicks can walk thru the handle holes easily enough while the adults can stick their heads in a bit but not reach the food.

    and as for fertile (hatching) eggs, there are auctions all over the place. 8) you can check the auction pages here at byc, and also on ebay, but i might suggest for her first time brooding, look for someone nearby that has hens and roos, and try her on some local eggs first, before you spend any money on shipping eggs. some broodies aren't 100% reliable their first time out... that's why my girl "Owl" is on wooden eggs right now, and her eggs are in the incubator. if she's consistent then she'll get the chicks once they hatch. if not, then they stay with the other chicks that are scheduled to hatch a week earlier... I don't want to take a chance on my shipped eggs/chicks if she decides to be a bad momma or something, while an assortment of mutt bantams aren't as high on my priority list.

    good luck tho. 8) but be warned, chicks are addictive.
     
  7. Justhatched

    Justhatched Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I was happy with the chickens I had until they started laying eggs. I wanted more!! I've had all our chickens since they were about a week old. Yes, chicks are addictive!!! Thanks for all the information.[​IMG]
     

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