couple questions on hatching eggs...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rookie Raiser, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Rookie Raiser

    Rookie Raiser Chirping

    Mar 16, 2013
    i have 19 chickens (3 barred rock hens, 1 austrolorp, 14 RIR hens, 1 RIR roo) the RIRs are separate from the BR and Aussie. a couple weeks ago one of my RIR hens, Jasmine, became broody (she sits on the eggs EVERY day and when i try to get the eggs she sqwaks at me and sometimes tries to peck). i have decided to let her hatch some eggs, but i have 2 question and one sorta problem/question.

    my first question is how do i know she is broody enough to hatch the eggs. i have read that some hens may abandon the eggs through the incubation. is there a way to see if she is broody enough? how and how long?

    my second question is i have heard people say they test them with golf balls but would i have to separate her from the rest of the flock or see if she does it with the flock (this is in case the golf balls IS the best way to "test" them) i DO have a way to separate her if that is the best option.

    now for my problem/question- it is October 2nd and fall started September 21st when december 21st being the first of winter and march 21st is first of spring. i did some calculating and since it takes about 21 days for the eggs to hatch and then they wouldnt usually go fully outside until ~8 weeks ANYWAY, that would put me almost right at the first of winter when they would go in the coop. my chicken coop is right beside my garage and the garage is where we had the 19 chicks until they were old enought to go in the coop,
    now 2 question regarding the above:

    1)when it says have the hens hatch in a draft free environment, would the garage be ok? (the garage has a separate work shop room and electricity for heat lamp if needed)

    2)would it be ok to let Jasmine go ahead and hatch or should i wait? if i wait, will i have to worry about her losing broodiness?

    i am sorry if this is a bit confusing [​IMG] any help/advise would be SO helpfull.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    My test to see if a hen is broody enough to give eggs is that she has to spend two consecutive nights on the nest and not roosting in her normal place. Two consecutive nights on the nest and she is good to go.

    I think I follow what you mean with the golf balls. You have two basic options, let her hatch with the flock or isolate her while she hatches. There is no right or wrong, just whichever way you choose. We do it both ways. In either case gather all the eggs you want to give her and start them at the same time. Very important. Start them all at the same time.

    If you let her hatch with the flock, mark all the eggs you want her to hatch. I use a black Sharpie and make two circles around the egg, one the short way and one the long way so I can tell at a glance that they belong. Then check under the hen once a day after all the other hens have laid for the day and remove any that don’t belong. As long as you gather these eggs every day, they are still good to eat.

    If you isolate her there is a risk of her breaking form being broody. To test if she has accepted the move and the new nest, use fake eggs or sacrificial eggs. If she accepts the move, you can give her the good eggs. Or if you are willing to risk the eggs you want her to hatch, you can start her off on them, but realize she may not accept the move and the eggs will have to be tossed. This test is more about protecting expensive eggs or special eggs. You don't have to do it.

    I haven’t heard about the hens hatching in a draft free environment. I think I figured out the golf ball thing but I don’t have a clue where that hatch in a draft free comment came from. The hen will be covering the eggs when they hatch. She will protect them from any draft.

    You are dealing with living animals so no one can give you any guarantees, but normally a hen will stay broody and setting on the nest for a couple of months. Chicken can’t count. Some stay broody a lot longer, some break from being broody earlier. I would not worry about that at all. You can’t control that. I would give her the eggs and I would fully expect her to hatch them.

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