Found a broody stashing eggs... How many can she raise?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by suliah, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. suliah

    suliah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2014
    Muskegon, MI
    So one of my hens has been able to hop the fence from my chicken run for a while. She will wander, then come back at night. I've clipped her wings, etc. Anyway, I knew she'd been hiding her eggs but didn't know where. Well, FOUND HER! and the 21 eggs she was clearly hunkered down on!

    I wasn't worried, I didn't think she was covered by either of my roosters anyway, so I put some eggs in the incubator figuring I'd switch out her infertile eggs with a reasonable number after I could verify that she was really going to set...

    6 days later I candled to find that the 21 eggs (small eggs, but I'm pretty sure they're all hers) are ALL DEVELOPING!

    So I'm hoping that some of them will be clear quitters early on, but my real question is this: how many eggs can she reasonably hatch? And how many chicks can she reasonably raise? It's October in Michigan, it's getting cold, I just want to be realistic about giving her chicks that she can keep alive!

    HELP!
     
  2. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    With it getting fairly cold outside, she can reasonable incubate about 10 eggs. However, if all 10 hatch, she may have trouble keeping them all adequately warm, especially as they grow to 3 to 4 weeks old. I'd be inclined to give her 7 or 8 developing eggs (that you've checked via candling), hoping that 6 or 7 hatch.
     
  3. suliah

    suliah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 8, 2014
    Muskegon, MI
    So if she hatches more than that, should I be pulling them away and putting them somewhere else? And just leave her with 7 chicks?
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    That is one option if you can them before they get sick or harmed from exposure...
     

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