Can I not do it the old fashioned way?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tatiana916, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. tatiana916

    tatiana916 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2011
    I'm very new to chicken keeping and in the spring I would like my hens to produce offspring. After looking into it I found a whole new world of buying in fertile eggs and incubators etc.
    I kind of had a romantic idea of seeing my hens sitting on their eggs patiently waiting for them to hatch. Is this still a viable way of producing chicks or does it not produce many offspring? I'm not against the idea of using technology such as incubators I was just wondering whether the old fashioned way is still plausible.
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Of course it is!

    If you have a broody-type hen that is.. What kind of chickens do you have? I know polish rarely go broody..

    You can try for sure. Nothing wrong with trying!
  3. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I love watching my hens with their babies! Whenever I have a broody I will give her eggs to hatch.
  4. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets

    Aug 17, 2008
    Not only is it plausible, it's cheaper & just as, if not more effective than an incubator. However, for this you need a few things like a rooster with your girls or buying fertile eggs. You also need a broody hen & unfortunately, they don't go broody on command & will only hatch eggs when they are broody. People incubate eggs for many reasons such as: wanting a different breed to what they have, hatching large numbers etc.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Silkies and OEGB are really good broody hens from what I've read. So are cochins, and they cover a large amount of eggs! Something to think about [​IMG]

    Wouldn't want to have my hen hatching a clutch of chicks during the winter though.. Especially here in the harsh winters.. Need my hens to use their energy to keep themselves warm!
  6. tatiana916

    tatiana916 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2011
    Not sure what breed she is, I brought her as a hybrid point of lay hen. She does like sitting on her eggs (and her sisters!) Does that mean she's broody? I'm reluctant to get a cockrel until the spring once it starts getting a bit warmer.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It is plausible, but it does depend in a few things. As mentioned, hens do not go broody on command. Whenever the hormones kick in, they will go broody. But the hormones do not kick in for every hen. Some will never go broody. Some breeds are more likely to go broody than others, but it is still a very individual thing. So first of all, you need a hen to go broody.

    How many chicks do you want to hatch? Hens and eggs come in different sizes. A bantam may only be able to cover 4 full sized eggs, but a larger hen can cover many more. I find that a hen can easily hatch and raise about 12 eggs and chicks if the eggs are the size she normally lays. Not all eggs always hatch, so you can maybe count on 10 chicks for each time a hen goes broody. But this number can vary. I have had one hen cover 18 eggs and I've had a broody raise 15 chicks, so they can handle more, but 12 is generally a comfortable number.

    How much control over the process do you want? With an incubator, you can plan on when and how many. If you depend on a broody, you really don't know when, or even if.

    I raise chickens for meat even more than for the eggs, so I need to hatch out a certain number each year. I use an incubator because I can't get my broodies to hatch as many chicks as I want. But when one does go broody, she gets a dozen eggs. I just adjust how many and when I put eggs in the incubator based on what my broodies may have done. I don't really know what your goals are, but maybe you could use a version of this.

    Good Luck!
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:You posted while I was typing. A broody has certain actions that indicates she might be broody. A broody will often spend a lot of time on the nest, fluff up and growl if you come near the nest, and may peck to defend her nest. She normally leaves the nest once or twice daily to eat, drink, and go poo. When she is off the nest like that, she is fluffed up and clucks a particular cluck a lot. But none of these or even a combination are clear indications that a hen is truly broody and ready for eggs. And not all broodies do all these things.

    My test to see if a broody is worthy of eggs is where she spends the nights. If a hen with broody symptoms spends two nights straight on the nest instead of in her favorite roosting spot, she gets eggs. Otherwise, I figure she is just teasing me.
  9. artsy1

    artsy1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2011
    I was wondering how you know for sure, what makes a hen broody.
    See when you are new to this, all you can go by is what people tell you, or what you read.

    Why will only 2 of my hens run to me everytime they see me, and the other 5 younger ones, run away and hide.
    Is it the breed? the 2 that run to me are both RIR BANTAMS............they are older and top hens.

    The younger ones are only 2 months old and are regular size breeds. They are not as friendly and are very skiddish?

    I do the same exact things with all of them, like feeding them scratch by hand as a treat. The young hens won't come to me??????????[​IMG]
  10. upcdayz

    upcdayz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2010
    Quote:As the youngest ones get a little older they may start eating out of your hands. They generally do what the others do, so if they see the older chickens eating from your hand, chances are the younger ones will eventually, too.

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