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Egg and Laying questions from a newbie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 8Chicks4Ky, May 17, 2011.

  1. 8Chicks4Ky

    8Chicks4Ky Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2011
    I'm so new at all of this. I have 8 golden comet chicks that are about 8 weeks old. I have only ever had a few fresh eggs last summer and I can't wait to get my own. I have a few questions that have been floating around in my head for a while now...

    1. Is there any nutritional difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs? Someone told me a few weeks ago that an unfertilized egg is not a complete protein. I would guess that the grocery store eggs are unfertilized, right?

    2. In the fresh eggs I've had before, I've seen some red dots (blood?) - one in each egg. Is this a sign of fertilized eggs? Or doesn't it make any difference?

    3. I only purchased pullets because I didn't want to crack open an egg to eat to discover a partially formed chick in there. If I were to get a roo (which I most likely won't anytime soon), how do you keep that from happening?

    4. Since I don't have a roo, will my hens ever "go broody"? If they do go broody, do I just take out any eggs they are sitting on?

    5. Even though we've built a coop and run, we have yet to put in any nesting boxes. How many should I have for my 8 chicks? Should I put them at ground level or raised? Should they be enclosed (a 5-sided cube) or something open? About how big should they be? I thought I read about someone just purchasing some plastic dishpans... would this work? Should I put them in soon?

    Please excuse any stupid questions. I'm just trying to learn...

    Thanks.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    1. no
    2. no -- I just eat them when this happens -- if you put it in the refrigerator it will probably disappear (absorb) in a few days anyway. How to tell a fertile egg: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008 -- from a sticky in the incubating forum
    3. don't incubate them. Don't let them set on the eggs or put them in an incubator. Even if you store your eggs at room temp, that is nowhere near warm enough for them to start developing -- for this you need around 100 degrees. I've had chickens (and roosters) off and on for years and never had this happen.
    4. Yes they will, roo or not, eggs or not, if their broody hormones kick in. And yes, just take the eggs daily as usual, that's often enough. I've had a few broodies this year already, and I have roos.
    5. Two is plenty, anywhere that's lower than the roost, and made out of just about any container you have, including plastic dish pans (though they may stand on the side of them and tip them over.) I've never actually bought wood and built one; there's always something lying around I can convert or use as is, it seems. They can be open top or open front. If open front, a 3" - 4" lip across the bottom of the front is handy, to hold the nesting material in. Sometimes they use them willingly, sometimes not so much, and they have different preferences. Don't be surprised if you put two in and they only use one. My only suggestion is, don't invest much money or effort -- I change mine around all the time. They seem to favor covered kitty litter pans -- one of which would be big enough to make a community nest for 8 hens. And don't be in too big a hurry to install them; you don't want them to learn the habit of sleeping in them.

    There are no stupid questions here! Everyone was a newbie at some point! Feel free to ask anything you can't find. There is a ton of info already here, though. Stickies at the beginning of forums and the FAQ page are very good, and there's always the search feature, when you get the knack of it.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Oh, missed one, on grocery store eggs. Commercials generally only keep hens -- but sexing chickens is not an exact science, and chasing down a couple of accidental roos in a room with hundreds or thousands of chickens is hardly worth the effort. People on here have hatched chicks from ordinary, lower priced grocery store eggs. Unusual, but it happens.
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    1. Is there any nutritional difference between fertilized and unfertilized eggs? Someone told me a few weeks ago that an unfertilized egg is not a complete protein. I would guess that the grocery store eggs are unfertilized, right? There's no nutritional difference between fertile vs. infertile eggs.

    2. In the fresh eggs I've had before, I've seen some red dots (blood?) - one in each egg. Is this a sign of fertilized eggs? Or doesn't it make any difference? No, blood spots and/or meat spots can occur in any hen, fertilized or not.

    3. I only purchased pullets because I didn't want to crack open an egg to eat to discover a partially formed chick in there. If I were to get a roo (which I most likely won't anytime soon), how do you keep that from happening? The eggs will not develop into anything unless you have a broody sit on them continuously or you put them in an incubator. Just be diligent in collecting eggs and you will avoid this.

    4. Since I don't have a roo, will my hens ever "go broody"? If they do go broody, do I just take out any eggs they are sitting on? Going broody is a hormonal change, and has nothing to do whatsoever with a rooster being present or not. If your hen goes broody, you will need to supply fertile eggs if you want her to hatch. (or you can slip day old chicks under some broodies)

    5. Even though we've built a coop and run, we have yet to put in any nesting boxes. How many should I have for my 8 chicks? Should I put them at ground level or raised? Should they be enclosed (a 5-sided cube) or something open? About how big should they be? I thought I read about someone just purchasing some plastic dishpans... would this work? Should I put them in soon? One nesting box for every 5 birds, so you would need 2 - you could put 3 if you want to leave room for additions later on. 12x12 is a good size for large fowl chickens. Put them in around 13-16 weeks as they are approaching point of lay.
     

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