could be a silly question..

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MissAbbyStreet, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. MissAbbyStreet

    MissAbbyStreet Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, so I've decided to let my hens become mothers this coming Spring; I've got a rooster lined up for them and all.
    Now, what I'm wondering... is do I need an incubator and all that fancy stuff? I mean, chickens had to have naturally laid and hatched eggs on their own before incubators came along.. right?
    What are the pros/cons with this "natural" method?
     
  2. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

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    some chickens will go broody all the time like silkies and some never go like my black sex link
     
  3. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Depending on what type of chickens you have, they may not have the instinct to brood and won't try to hatch out any eggs. Leghorns are an example of this. They are known for not going broody. That does not mean that they never will go brooody, it just means you should not expect them to. If you want to hatch eggs and the hens won't do it for you, then an incubtor is the only way to go.
     
  4. MissAbbyStreet

    MissAbbyStreet Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I believe I've witnessed them goin broody here recently.. do you know anything about Golden Comets as far as their hatchin behavior goes??
     
  5. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know about Golden Comets, but hopefully some other folks on the forum can tell you.
    When you say that you think you have witnessed your girls going broody, what are you seeing? A broody will take eggs from any nest, gather them, hord them and not let anyone near them. A chicken sitting on one egg for a a good part of the day is not the same as a broody hen.
     
  6. MissAbbyStreet

    MissAbbyStreet Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Well I've had an egg hiatus.. they just stopped laying for a week or so on end & walk around the coop squawking. From what I've read this is apparently a broody hen? During this time they also hang out on the nest quite a bit, but never lay eggs..
     
  7. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The drop on egg production could be caused by many things, such as less daylight hours, as one example.
    Yes, a broody hen will stop laying eggs because she is brooding the ones she is going to hatch. Squawking or clucking is something they do while they are on the nest to "talk" to their eggs. But if you listen to your chickens, they have very different sounds for different conversations. One sound is "I just laid an egg." An other is "get out of my nest, I need to lay my egg next." Yet an other sound is "Hi, how's it going today?" Each sound has different meaning and for different reasons. So a broody hen will have yet an other sound for when she is talking to her eggs.

    The reason why I am giving you all of this info is to help you understand that just because a hen lays an egg, that does not mean that she will want to hatch it. That is just one of the disadvantages to the natural method of hatching.
    Some hens will sit on eggs for 2 weeks and then quit, killing all of the undeveloped eggs. Some hens will take eggs from other nests and hatch out every one's eggs. Some hens will knock eggs out of the nest accidentally and sometimes purposely. But if you let a broody hatch eggs for you, you will never have to worry about power outages or temp spikes or humidty. Things that you do need to worry about with an incubator.

    I was hoping more folks on the forum would join in and offer their advice as well, but until they do join in I hope that this info is somewhat helpful to you.
     
  8. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    In my experience, a hen that goes broody will refuse to leave the nest box and puff up like a porcupine (growling) when disturbed. If they are walking around squawking I would guess that there is a different reason.

    Out of my 6 girls (4 EEs and 2 Golden Comets) only 1 went broody this year (an EE). They were all a year old this past June. Now, my silkies are only around 8 months old, and out of 4 pullets I have 2 broody and sitting on eggs, and 1 seriously contemplating it. She is staying in the coop quite a bit, crammed in a nest box with one of the broodies, but will still come out if there is a treat involved.

    You will know a broody hen when you see it.

    There are pluses and minuses to both methods. The nice thing about an incubator is that it is available to use at your convenience, versus a hen deciding when or if they want to go broody. The nice thing about using a broody hen versus an incubator is that mama does all the work and in my very limited experience gets better results.
     
  9. MissAbbyStreet

    MissAbbyStreet Out Of The Brooder

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    There's so little information on Golden Comets out there [​IMG]
    I'm keepin' my eyes open for a cheap incubator.. at least until I'm more sure of their specific brooding habits/motherly abilities [​IMG]
    I'm so ridiculously excited to have baby chicks around again..
     
  10. silkydragon

    silkydragon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    commets are also known as gold/buff sexlinks so like black sex links rarly brood or so ive read sexlinks are bread for egg prouction and broodyness bred out
     

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