Do I stop collecting and let her brood?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jenjan8998, Mar 9, 2014.

  1. jenjan8998

    jenjan8998 Chirping

    Mar 6, 2014
    So, my question is kind of crazy. I am just starting my back yard flock, and recently got 4 little ones. Three are hens and one rooster. We are going to be eating the eggs, that was the main reason that we got them. We did not plan on getting a rooster, but since I saved them and one just happened to be one, we are thinking about going ahead and getting some chicks out of it. We only live on a little more than an acre, so I dont want more than the few that we have, plus I dont think our neighbors would want us to either. My question though, is how soon after they start laying, they are only about 12 weeks now, so I still got a little while before that starts, but how soon after they do, can the eggs be fertile. How old are roosters before they start doing their thing? Not only that, but I have Cochins, and I have read that they dont lay on a daily basis, do I just need to stop collecting until one has started brooding and hope she is sitting on a couple of fertilized eggs? How long do I wait to see if any will hatch, and do I throw out the ones that dont? Sorry for all the questions and long post, I am just so curious and anxious and kind of nervous. Like I said, we werent planning on having a rooster, but since we do, I want the full experience. I dont want to incubate, I would rather have the hens sit and do what they do best, but if need be, I would incubate as a last resort. I would really like nature to take its natural course with that. Any info would be great! Thank you!

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You need to check out Cochins a little; they may be one of the breeds that have trouble fertilizing eggs,naturally, because of all the fluff. Maybe you can learn on the Cochin thread in Breeds. You can crack soe eggs to learn whether they are fertile before you set any eggs, by finding a "bullseye" on the yolk. Pics of that are in a ticky in the Incubating and Hatching forum. Also, it's really best to let them lay for a while vefore trying to hatch. The first, smaller, "ullet" eggs don't always hatch out as well as the larger ones that they should start laying in a couple of months or so. tinfally, you need to have a hen go broody, if indeed one of yours does. Probably the best way to be sure this has happened is that she stays on the nest 24/7 and does not roost. They will go broody with or without eggs (real or fake) underneath them, if their hormonal system decides it's time. There are other signs, like flattening on the ground when removed from the nest, objecting (pecking, growling) if disturbed when on the nest, etc., but if the leave the nest to roost at night, they are not broody. Once yoy know for sure you have both a broody and a history of fetile eggs, just collect them for a few days, mark them and put them under her. I prefer to separate the broody for the setting period and put her in with the flock when the chicks hatch, but different people use diferent approaches.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2014
  3. jenjan8998

    jenjan8998 Chirping

    Mar 6, 2014
    I have been doing a little research. What you said about waiting for them to lay for a while, I didnt even think about! That makes sense though! I have read somewhere that it is a little harder for Cochins because of all their feathers, so we will see. I definitely do not want to hatch a bunch of chicks, but some every now and then would be wonderful! Thanks for the advice!
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    All chickens are different but mine don't go broody until they have accumulated about a dozen eggs in the nest, then the sight of that many eggs triggers the broody instinct.
    I don't hatch pulley eggs. I wait about 2 months till the egg production has stablized because if the egg doesn't meet my approval I don't want to hatch chickens that will lay substandard eggs, and that hen is removed from the gene pool.
    Pulley eggs often have problems because the reproduction system isn't stablized so I wouldn't save a hens first week or 2 of eggs even if I were hatching just for hobby or pets.
    If you see the roosters doing the deed the eggs are probably fertile but crack a few and look for the bullseye on the yolk just to make sure.
    I candle my clutches between 10-15 days and toss the clears.
    If they don't hatch after 21 days, then they probably won't. If you're using a hen it really doesn't matter because the hen and whatever chicks did hatch will abandon the nest after a day or 2 regardless.
    Hope that helped some.

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