Curious - Why do we lockdown?


9 Years
Dec 13, 2010
Seffner, Florida
Curious - Why do we lockdown? What is the science? Do chickens have a natrual form of lockdown or, like many things we do, is this a step invented by humans?
It is a natural process, broodies do it too. They stop turning the eggs (how they know I have no idea) and it has been tried and tested over undreds of years of incubating eggs artificially. It helps the chick move te the correct position in the egg to first make a hole into the air sac so it takes it's first breat, and then to turn again to break the shell and eventually work it's way round to hatch. If the egg is still in the turner it loses it's way 'up' and can have more trouble hatching. Hope this helps!
I would guess that the day or 2 before a chick hatches, the hen can hear the peeping. This is probably why she also starts clucking to the eggs. They are "talking" to each other.
I was about to post a similar question, so you are not alone. The not turning them after she hears peeping is very logical. What I wondered is the humidity question. In 'human' lock down we increase humidity and are admonished to not open the incubator or it will have terrible consequences.

Does a broody sit on the eggs for 3 days without moving for her lock down to keep humidity up? That would mean she does eat/drink /poop for 2-3 days which doesn't sound good for her.

If you've had a broody can you all describe those lock down days for us so we can understand better what going on? Thanks!
My broody is very vocal as she leaves her nest, so it's easy to track her. She was off for about an hour or so yesterday afternoon, and this morning we have hatching chicks, so I'm thinking the 3-day lockdown isn't so important in the natural world. Maybe with the broody on the eggs the humidity is much better controlled than our artificial methods and hatching happens quicker. I dunno - anything I say here is just guessing, but I know she was off yesterday late afternoon and nobody was pipping then (because I looked). Today we are hatching.
Ideal natural hatching conditions are for the eggs to be under a broody. Incubator conditions are usually not as ideal, but the best way we have of mimicking how a hen does it. I'd imagine that some of the extra steps that we've added in to the process are not so much the way the hen does it, but more to try and compensate for the shortcomings of our un-natural hatching conditions.

I can't imagine that hens can actually raise their humidity at will from 40% to 70% overnight.
That would be a bad case of seriously sweaty wing-pits. LMAO!!!
We set eggs under our broody on the 10th. We had our first hatching today and yesterday I believe as one is drier and fluffier than the other. So possibly, things speed up in the "natural" environment? I have no way of knowing, lol, this is only our 2nd time hatching and we have only been chicken owners for 1 year exactly! So, ours hatched on day 20 and 21?


I have no idea why people go crazy and "lock down". I never do it and I get great hatches.
I just had 28 out of 29 eggs to hatch. Well, the last one was trying to hatch except up side down and therefore did not make it out.

I set all my eggs for the first 18 days in a big Sportsman and then put all the viable ones (no, I do not candle until day 18) in my Genesis 1588. I open and close the Genesis once or twice a day. Once they start hatching I open it every time I see empty eggs so I can get it out and write down who hatched from it.

However, it is true that a lot of hens do not get off the nest the day before hatch but then I have also found plenty of empty nests with chicks pipping and the hen off getting her food and water. The chicks do fine and have for a million years.
Nadine, thank you for your observation. I am very happy to hear you have lifted the lid and had good results.

It just seemed illogical that a hen would sit on her nest for 3 straight days. I would think it would hamper proper air-exchange.

I am wondering if some of the folks that have term chicks not hatch have poor air exchange resulting in low O2/high CO2 causing some of the mortality for lock-down.

Anyone know of any way to measure Oxygen% or CO2% ?

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