Hatching eggs with a broody hen....

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Selena, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Selena

    Selena Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    Port Orchard, WA
    When hatching eggs with a broody hen, how many max. eggs (as I assume the min to be one egg [​IMG] ) can be placed under her, and also, do you have to do anything for extra humidity? If so, what? Our outdoor humidity is currently 44% and I believe will continue to be in that range for a while. The nesting material is White Shavings. [​IMG]
  2. steffpeck

    steffpeck Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Erda, UT
    You don't need to mess with the humidity or anything. The momma hen does it all. Mine sat on 8 eggs. I think the amount of eggs depends on how big your hen is. You want her to cover them all, none sticking out from under her. Good Luck!! It is a lot of fun!!
  3. Alabama_boy

    Alabama_boy In the Brooder

    Jun 24, 2008
    Lancaster County, SC
    A broody hen can take care of the hatching and humidity.Give here as many as she can cover.
    I put 7 under a bantom,12 under a game hen.[​IMG]
  4. knippk

    knippk Songster

    May 15, 2008
    Grayson KY
    I agree.....nothing is better than mother nature... [​IMG]
    Good luck.....hope you have a great hatch!!!!!!!!
  5. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I never give a hen more than 12 eggs, but it really depends on the size of the hen and the eggs. You just want to make sure she can cover the eggs to keep them hot. I limit to 12 because that is the limit on how many chicks I will put with a hen. The momma has to be able to keep them warm for several weeks and the chicks will double in size every 6-10 days.

    All you have to do is keep other hens away from her and give her a safe place to set. She doesn't need extra humidity. Mother nature has taught her how to hatch eggs alot better then we can do with an incubator.

    I use hay for my nesting material. My hens seem to prefer it to shavings.

    She will come off every day or 2 to eat drink, eat, and stretch. Just make sure she has access to the food and water. My broodies always enjoy a dust bath before heading back to their nest.

    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  6. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    What kind of hen is she ?? I put 7 eggs under my silkie 5 of hers and 2 barred rock but they are small birds and thats all she could fit under her (she still wanted to steal more) as far as the humidity goes she will take car of all that, that brings a question up do all hens lose there feather under there belly when they are sitting on eggs ?
  7. Love my Critters!

    Love my Critters! Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Carlsbad, NM
    I agree, it's all up to the size of the hen, you do not want any sticking out. I almost always have a 100 % hatch with my broodies. It is also way easier, because the mom does everything from hatching to raising, you just get to sit back and enjoy. Have fun!

    To answer swtangel's question, I have never had a hen loose any feathers from setting and hatching.
  8. Selena

    Selena Songster

    Jun 24, 2008
    Port Orchard, WA
    Wow, lot's of folks are online! LOL

    I was told that these girls are Blue Cochins... but I wonder if they are Orpingtons. They're big, fluffy, and have a few feathers on their feet... but not as much as the cochins in photos do. Only a few.

    Either way, they're the biggest of my hens. I have NHR, Welsummer, and guinea eggs under them (about 10 eggs under each hen). Rarely, when I look in on them, I can see a bit of egg under the feathers. The boxes are enclosed on all but the opening, and on 2 sides they're double layered. They've been on the chick eggs since last Thursday, and the guinea eggs since last Wednesday. I'll admit that I've seen some feathers of theirs about, but not a lot. I've seen feathers from my non-broodies, so I think it may just be the warmer weather.

    I'm loving broody hens. I think it's hilarious how dazed the girls get. To get the eggs under, I tried to get the hens out (I had them started on golf balls first, and the guinea eggs under one hen already) and finally just started delicately shoving eggs under their bums! At which point, they woke up, and started pecking. Being a nursing assistant, I've gotten my "Dodge-the-patient-attack" skills down (Y'know, biting, hitting, kicking... I even know a nurse that wasn't quick enough and got a fork in his hand. Ever since, he cringes when you say, "Aww, stick a fork in it!" [​IMG] )

    This is my first time trying to raise chicks... I've read many chicken books, but I have learned through keeping Bearded Dragons that most of the books don't have quite the tips that you'd find online in the forums and talking to keepers themselves... so here I am! Besides, I don't recall them saying just how many, and though I hear a lot about humidity, I didn't know if that was an issue in the Pac NW. I thought, maybe in drier climates.

    I got an incubator, but after looking at it, I want to take it back. $50 for a styrofoam and plastic thing that you still have to manually turn?! Don't get me started on the non-sterility of styrofoam! I may as well take the items I already have and build my own! (Old snake tank, ceramic heat emitter...) However, I'd just assume hatch them the natural way.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008

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