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First time Help! Lots of questions!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by NamahKatana, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. NamahKatana

    NamahKatana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Oregon
    Ok So I'v had my rooster a week now and he is breeding my hens. I'v seen it a few times. I want to my hens to hatch some eggs. I have 7 hens and 1 rooster. They "free range" in a 15 x 15 ft pen and some times a 1 acre pasture. I feed a grain mixture I get from my dad thats a mix of alot of different grains(I can't remember exactly and it changes with every batch) and free choice oyster shell. Now for my questions.

    1. Should I wait longer to make sure the eggs are fertile?

    2. How should I help them go broody? Should I leave some eggs and hope one starts setting? Or???

    3. If I leave eggs for her to set how long are they viable if she leaves them?

    4. How long should I wait before taking the eggs away if she doesn't set?(that are still edible)

    5. How long till the eggs should hatch?

    6. How do I make sure no other hens are laying eggs in the fertile nest while setting hen is gone?

    I'll add more as I think of them =) Thanks
     
  2. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. your eggs should be fertile within a couple of days with regular breeding. To be sure, crack one or two open and check to see if you have a bulls eye in the middle. You should have a white spot in there regardless. The bullseye is a large "fat tire" or "donut" that will be around the white spot. If you just have a white spot-- it's not fertile. A lot of white spots even have a faint circle around them, and that is still not fertile. The bulls eye will be very obvious.

    **. I know of no way to make a pullet/hen go broody. I have silkies, and they are very broody birds, so I spend my time trying to BREAK them of being broody. I do know that sometimes if they are in a pen by themselves, they can go broody on you. From my experience, since we show our birds, I keep them in clean small stacked pens by themselves so they stay clean, and their feathers aren't broken and they are OUT of the sun. For some reason, those factors do tend to make my birds a bit broodier. But I do think it also can depend on the breed of bird. A lot of breeds have had broodiness bred out of them over the years, so they may never go broody-- ever. This tendency was to create better layers that won't stop producing. What breed do you have?

    **. About 21 days to hatch a chicken egg. But that is not from point of lay. That is from point of incubation. Your eggs can sit in cool storage for up to 10 days, but I never go over 7 days, myself. This is for chickens, as turkeys will be a bit longer and keets shorter.

    **. There is no way to be sure that other hens aren't laying in that nest-- unless the broody is separated out from the other birds and other birds have no access to their nest. I have a broody right now-- one of my other hens will go in and practically sit right on top of her and lay their egg where she is sitting. But because she is broody, she will stand up and kick that new egg under her. Unless you've marked them with pencil or something, you won't know what is new and what is old. I mark my eggs at the big round end the date of hatch in pencil-- I make sure to write in the airsac space so that my markings won't interfere with candling later on.

    ETA-- I missed one or two, I guess.

    ** If you are leaving eggs out in cooler weather-- say around 50 degrees, the eggs should be okay for about 3-4 days, maybe up to 5 if she isn't setting. I just don't know that I would chance it. If you are having warmer weather, those eggs will likely not be any good if they are fertile since they could start developing.

    BTW-- you will KNOW when you have a broody. They have very obvious signs. First of all, they go sit in the nest and don't come out. They then pluck off all their chest feathers. (for humidity) And secondly, she will be more grouchy when she is sitting on the nest. Just having a bunch of eggs in the nest isn't going to make a hen go broody.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  3. NamahKatana

    NamahKatana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Oregon

    Thanks! That helps alot. I have 3 black australorps(i think), a barred rock, a barred rock mix, a red sex link, and a RIR.

    Here you can see one of the hens I beleive is a black Australorp
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    First I would investigate to see if you have breeds that will go broody. I notice you have a barred rock. I'm pretty sure those rarely (if ever) go broody. That is one of the breeds that have been bred out.
    Here is an excerpt from a website talking about this:
    "Note that many breeds of chicken have had the instinct to go broody bred out of them so they'll produce more eggs (as they don't lay while sitting or mothering). These includes especially the Mediterranean breeds like the Leghorns and Minorcas. Most of those birds will never go broody, so don't sit around waiting. The Sex-linked hybrids and production strains of Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock also usually won't go broody."

    If your birds don't go broody, I would really check into a good incubator. I would recommend the Brinsea Octagon 20 and the Genesis 1588--with the big view window. These would be great incubators. The Brinsea is easier to control on temperature and humidity, and the Genesis would be a bit tougher... but still a great machine.
     
  5. NamahKatana

    NamahKatana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Oregon
    it seems none of my birds are good broody breeds. Poohy. I think I may invest in a broody hen than an incubator.
     
  6. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If that is the case, I can hardly stop my silkies from going broody. But they can't handle many eggs under them. They are small birds. And of course... if I have a show in the next day or two, then my best bird WILL go broody and will have plucked herself bald and look ragged and horrible. Anyway, that's been my luck. LOL Check into other LF (large fowl) breeds that go broody if you are not willing to buy an incubator. BTW-- I have the Brinsea and LOVE it. :) The Genesis is my next purchase. My friend has one and she loves hers-- and I LOVE the large view window on it.
     
  7. NamahKatana

    NamahKatana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Oregon
    I'v always loved silkies hehe I don't want to many babies. The pullets will be adding to my flock and the boys I may keep a few. The thing with the incubator is I can't afford one >.>
     
  8. Hawkeye95

    Hawkeye95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've heard Buff Orpingtons are great at being broody. I don't know this first hand, though. Good luck finding a broody! And if you don't have too many eggs, a couple of silkie hens should do it!
     
  9. SamJacobbe

    SamJacobbe Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2012
    Wellington Florida
    1. Your eggs are probably fine and fertile by now, if you really want to be sure, then you could give them just a few more days.

    2. I actually had some buffs at one point, and it seemed that every time I left more than five eggs in a nest, they were fighting over who got to hatch them. You could just leave a few wooden ones in hope that one goes broody on them and then replace them with real eggs when you're sure she is gonna stay.

    3. If she sets and leaves them, it should only be for about thirty minutes daily to eat, drink, and poop, but they can live for probably up to forty-five minutes.

    4. If she is setting on them, they I wouldn't eat them, as the embryo is probably already started growing, but if she hasn't then don't leave them out for more than five days if you plan to eat them, you don't want them dirtied or old.

    5. It takes about 18-24 days for eggs to hatch, there are a lot of factors and no one can be perfectly sure.

    6. If you happen to have a broody hen, it would be a good idea to make a small enclosed area off for her where she can see the other chickens but lay on her own without the disruptions from the others. Or you could mark all the eggs she is setting on and take away the others as they are laid.

    Hope it helps, anymore questions just ask :D [​IMG]
     
  10. NamahKatana

    NamahKatana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Oregon
    Thanks for the info guys! I did some reading and heres my plan. I'm going to leave 6-8 eggs in a nest box and mark them (so I know which oness they are) give my hens a week to start setting and if they don't the eggs will be thrown out and I try and find a good broody hen. I did more reading and Australorps are supposed to be very good brooders so we'll see =) I'll probably either start a new thread or update this one when we see and progress.
     

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