hatching pullet eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by novanod1966, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. novanod1966

    novanod1966 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2012
    western North Carolina
    hey everyone,

    hope all is going well. my young pullets (silver sebrights and mille fleur d'uccles) have 1 rooster per pen (both breeds are in separate pens). they have started laying eggs (snow today). i was wondering about the hatchability of pullet eggs. the egg shells are regular hardened chicken eggs. some pullets lay softshelled. should i wait for a while before trying to incubate their eggs or try to hatch their 1st ones?

    thanks,
    don
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    First realize that because something can happen does not mean it absolutely will. Bear that in mind when I get further down in this.

    It’s certainly possible that pullet eggs will hatch. It’s possible you will get a good hatch rate and the chicks will do fine. I’ve hatched pullet eggs and got a decent hatch rate. There were other problems though but I really don’t know how much of that was related to them being pullet eggs or the broody being a not so great broody.

    The hen has to get a lot of things right when she puts that egg together in her internal egg laying factory for an egg to hatch. You are obviously familiar with the differences you can have in the shells. There are a lot of other internal things that have to be right too. For example, the yolk needs to be proportional to the white. If the yolk is a bit big in comparison to the white, the chick may be too big to hatch. If the yolk is too small, the chick may be too weak to do well. It’s amazing to me how often they actually get it right from the start.

    Sometimes pullets readily submit to a rooster. Sometimes they are not mature enough to do their part properly. Its possible fertility could be an issue.

    If an egg is set up correctly to hatch, the chick will be small. There are just not enough nutrients in that egg for the chick to develop to a normal size. It would not be able to hatch if it did. So the chick starts out small. Will it ever reach its full potential as far as catching up in size? I don’t know. The ones I hatched had not by 18 weeks and that’s when I ate them.

    With my one try at hatching pullet eggs, 8 out of 12 hatched. Not great but not unrealistically bad. These were eggs from pullets that had been laying at least two weeks. Of the 8, four were dead within 24 hours. I’ve never lost chicks like that, either with a broody or in an incubator/brooder. They hatched a couple of days earlier than expected, which is something else that might happen with the smaller pullet eggs, and I was away on vacation when hey hatched. I have no idea if that mortality was due to then being small or just a lousy broody. I’m pretty sure the broody played a part. That was the dumbest broody I‘ve ever had. The dominant rooster had to work overtime helping her raise those chicks.

    Can you hatch pullet eggs? Yes it is possible. But I suggest you wait a few weeks to give the pullets some time to work out any possible kinks in their internal egg laying factory.
     

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