Eggs In Waiting - What's Nature's Way?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jmurcks, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First off... serious newbie here!
    Ok, so the way I understand it is you can have fertile eggs for as long as 10-12 days and they will not start developing until you put them in the incubator.
    Then they all hatch on the same day...
    What do hens do? I mean, do they lay for several days and then start sitting on them or do they have chicks hatching at different times? How's that work?
    Thanks! Jenn
     
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    A hen will lay a clutch of eggs over a week or two and then when her hormones tell her that's enough eggs in her nest she'll go broody and start setting on them. All hens do not go broody and some will just keep laying and never get the urge to start incubating them. Depends on the breed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  3. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is so what I thought but thank you so much for confirming that for me!
    So that is why it is so crucial to own an incubator!?
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  4. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Hens don't care about hatch rates so much and they don't sit on only their own eggs. When they go broody they collect every single egg they can find irregardless of how old it is, who laid it, or if it's even capable of hatching and if they are a good broody toss out the ones that go bad. Most will continue to collect eggs after they start sitting if they have the opportunity. When chicks hatch at different days though the broody will not end up saving all the chicks. Either they will get off the nest to take care of the ones that hatched already or they will starve those in order to keep sitting until the later ones hatch. That's one reason broody hens are usually seperated from the flock or their eggs are marked and new ones removed. They also incubate eggs better than our incubators so they'll get more chicks from older eggs than we would. People incubating try to maximize each hatch so only set the freshest eggs most likely to hatch. There really is no harm to setting eggs 2 or 3 weeks old if your incubator wasn't going to be busy anyway and you have to be able to candle and remove the duds before they go bad or they could ruin the rest. When I had some hens killed that I really wanted chicks from I pulled some eggs from my fridge that were around 2 weeks old since I'd just given the freshest dozen to someone. I still hatched chicks. It just wasn't as many chicks as I would have gotten from fresh eggs.
     
  5. Jmurcks

    Jmurcks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh man, that is so cool!
    I have always wondered how that worked and thank you so much for all the info!
    You have for sure helped me out!!
    Jenn [​IMG]
     
  6. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Quote:Sometimes you want to hatch eggs, but none of your hens are broody. Alot of people get hatching fever in the winter, LOL
     

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