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Broody hens and candling eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Skip, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. Skip

    Skip Songster


    First, is there any way you can help a hen become broody?

    Second, how do you tell if an egg has been fertilized without breaking it open?

    I'm thinking about raising my own chicks.

  2. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Quote:First question: Not really. Broodiness is a hormonal state, so she either is or she isn't. Some people leave golf balls in the nest as encouragement, but that's not a guarantee by any means.
    Second question: You can't, unless you (or your broody) incubate it for several days and then you candle to check for veins.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  3. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Get a few Silkie hens and you'll have broodies coming out of your ears! Right now, I have 2 broodies co-parenting the chicks they hatched last month and I have another goofball on a nest of 6 eggs. I have a few more unidentified girls laying eggs and once I see Silkie eggs I know it's a countdown to broodiness. I have 10 pullets and someone is ALWAYS broody. [​IMG] I haven't wanted to take a chance buying hatching eggs this time of year, so they've been hatching my mutt eggs left and right.

    I actually love using a broody hen - she keeps them warm, turns them, hatches them and raises the babies outside with her! I don't have to worry about temps, humidity or power outages. And after raising 36 chicks in the house this spring, I promised my husband no more chicks in the house, so using a broody she can brood them outside even in this cold.

    As for candling the eggs, I wait until dark and rummage around under her to get the eggs and candle them. She doesn't really care.
  4. panner123

    panner123 Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    If you are using a broody hen, there is no need to candle. If the egg is no good, she will kick it out of the nest.
  5. purr

    purr Songster

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    yup mine kicked one out last night. Its so cute to see her tuck the eggs under her, and the one chick she hatched the other day rides on her back.
    Its been below 0 with the windchill though so now she's a house chicken.
  6. seriousbill

    seriousbill Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Quote:They don't always do that. I had an egg blow up under a hen once. Big mess.
  7. SoccerMomof7

    SoccerMomof7 Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    What day do you candle the eggs?

  8. jhm47

    jhm47 Songster

    Sep 7, 2008
    It's usually best to wait till the 7th day to candle them. Some do it sooner.

    Although hens will often kick out an infertile egg, they don't always. It's better to candle them, and miss out on the delightful aroma and mess that comes from a broken rotten egg.
  9. swedishfish

    swedishfish Songster

    Apr 20, 2009
    how does a hen know that the egg is bad? and I know that a general chicken egg hatches in 21 days, but how does that vary depending on the breed? I've got a broody Buff Brahma <3 who should be hatching her brood of 5 on May 11th. Last year she sat and sat and sat on a bunch of eggs that never hatched and finally I had to take the eggs away from her because they never hatched. Then after my Black Wyandottes hatched a brood of 4 she got broody again and I managed to get one little chicka. She just seems to be having a hard time with her eggs...or maybe it's my Roo. I never candled the eggs...maybe I should have.
  10. Treegirl

    Treegirl In the Brooder

    Jan 11, 2009
    Crawfordsville, IN
    Okay - bumping this post back to the top! I was trying to look at past posts and then just did a google search and found some older posts on this board. I have a Buff that has been broody for the last few weeks and has become much more determined to not be moved off of the nest box. (There are not roosters - so these eggs are not fertile.)

    QUESTION: She now has no feathers on her underside. Is this common??? It seems to me that she has perhaps plucked them herself??? It's all soft and warm and I'm wondering if she has done this herself so that it's softer on the eggs. There is no evidence that indicates otherwise. The 8 other hens seem peaceful and I do not sense any change in the chicken house. I would never has known that she had no feathers if I had not picked her up and see this huge long line where there are no feathers on her at all. If she were being picked on, feathers would be gone on the top portion of her body, not just her underside that she lays on top of the eggs. Or, have the feathers just worn off by always in the nest box on top of eggs. **Every day at least 2 times I am pulling her off the nest box to collect eggs. However, I have never had my hand on her underside before this morning.

    Has anyone ever experienced this ?? This is my first broody hen and I'm thinking I need to just get some fertile eggs. I know I would sure enjoy the experience. Thanks for any help, comments or answers on why there are no feathers on her underside.

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