Help Me With Eggs!!!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mossy_oak23, Nov 10, 2009.

  1. mossy_oak23

    mossy_oak23 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2009
    Im getting more and more confused with the whole egg laying process. I have several questions that I really need answered if you guys wouldn't mind.

    1. Do your chickens NEED a nesting box to lay eggs? Or will they simply find a cozy spot in your coop in order to lay? Will a nesting box increase egg laying numbers?

    2. What in the heck does broody mean?

    3. Will a chicken sit on a non fertile egg?

    4. Will a chicken always sit and raise a fertile egg? Once the fertile egg hatches do you need to bring the chick into a brooder or will nature take its course?

    5. How do you make sure that the chick is eating the chick starter and not layer and the hens are eating layer not chick starter??

    I know it sounds like i don't know alot but those are the main gaps in my poultry knowledge that I would like to find out about.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ANYONE THAT TAKES THE TIME TO ANSWER THESE!!!!!
     
  2. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    I will do my best.

    1 - chickens will lay anywhere but we have nesting boxes because it keeps the eggs clean, safe and they're much easier to collect.

    2 - Broody is when a hen sits on her nest (and anything in it) in order to hatch the eggs. She will try to hatch eggs, golf balls, ice cubes (in my case) and anything else in the nest. Most people who want eggs but not chicks break their hens of being broody since they won't lay as they're trying to hatch.

    3 - A chicken will definitely sit on a non-fertile egg

    4 - No a hen will not always sit on and hatch a fertile egg. Some hens are better suited to being mothers than others and they'll sit on and hatch eggs and then watch the babies while others lay an egg and walk away. Some mothers abandon their babies after a week, two weeks etc and some make great moms. You just need to watch and make sure she's treating her babies right, if not bring them inside.

    5 - Very little way to be certain unless you have them separated. My hens love chick starter and will eat it over their pellets. The pellets are too big for chicks though.
     
  3. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    1. No they will lay them anywhere they want. A nesting box just increases your chances of finding them.
    2. Broody means just the way it sounds. Once you've run into a broody hen you'll never forget. She gets very "touvhy" as in Leave me alone I'm busy sitting on eggs. That's when they will set for weeks until chix pop out.
    3. A broody hen will sit on golf balls. They are crazy during this psychotic period of hormones.
    4. Just try to get those babies from a broody hen . You'll be lucky to have 5 fingers left.
    5. Just provide chick starter. Momma has been denying herself a lot of food and she can uase the extra vitamin and protein to recover.
    Good Luck.
     
  4. mossy_oak23

    mossy_oak23 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2009
    Quote:thank you for your help. One question based on what you have told me. How do you break a hen from her broody habits so they keep laying daily?
     
  5. alicefelldown

    alicefelldown Looking for a broody

    Aug 18, 2008
    1. nesting box Nesting boxes will not improve production. That is a breed/diet/nature thing. You do not need to have them but it makes collecting eggs easier. Some people put fake eggs in their boxes to convince their hens to use them.

    2. broody means a hen whose body has turned on the IM A MOTHER NOW hormones.

    3. Will a chicken sit on a non fertile egg? If your hen is broody, she will sit on golf balls. If you are not planning on hatching, you will need to break her of this habit, there are TONS of threads on how if you use the search feature at the top.

    4. fertile egg / brooder It depends on your hen. Some breeds are better at being broody than others. In the course of hatching she might decide she's done after 15 days and leave the eggs to die. She could also stay the full 21 days and then teach her babies how to find food and water. Up to the bird. Always be ready with an incubator and a brooder when you have a hen sitting. (brooders are warm boxes with heat lamps that you keep baby chicks in. Incubators are temp and humidity controlled environments for hatching eggs.

    5. chick starter / layer Short answer? You can't. Those birds will eat whatever they can get into. (Other than grit, they seem to know when they need to eat that) If you have a momma hen who hatched them, she should be a in separate enclosure from your other hens for the whole setting process. (Hens like to lay where other eggs are and can muck up your hatching nest.) The momma hen can eat the chick starter to no ill effects, and she typically wont be laying eggs while the babies are very young. You will see a decrease in egg production if you keep all your hens on the chick starter, but again, they shouldn't have access to it if you kept your broody separate.
     
  6. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    to break a broody hen, I keep taking her off the nest and keep removing any eggs. sometimes this works sometimes it doesn't or rather I'm sure eventually it would, I just usually give up and get the broody a few chicks to raise.

    I don't always remove either the broody hen or the momma and chicks. I just watch and see what happens. I am prepared though to remove the hen and chicks from the flock if it is neccessary. If the other hens are too mean to the momma or the chicks, I remove them. I have had roosters that became very protective of the momma and the chicks.

    The concern over laying hens eating chick starter is when the starter is medicated. In my area it is recommended that you do not eat the eggs from hens that eat medicated starter.
     
  7. CheerfulHeart2

    CheerfulHeart2 Creative Problem Solver

    Apr 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
  8. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    Quote:thank you for your help. One question based on what you have told me. How do you break a hen from her broody habits so they keep laying daily?

    There's no sure fire way to do it. One of my girls went broody last year and I tried many different things, ice cubes, separating her, etc but what seemed to work best was locking her out of the coop (I closed the door) and distracting her with free ranging (they only get to do that when I'm home). It took a couple of weeks but then she was back to normal.
     
  9. The Zoo

    The Zoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hayward, CA
    Also my neighbor had one she couldn't break of being broody so she bought her 4 chicks, tucked them under her and she was the BEST momma to those babies. Raised them perfectly. Was one of the sweetest things I've seen.
     
  10. HBuehler

    HBuehler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    Think about a broody hen as an incubator that never needs adjusting(other than her attitude) never needs her humidity checked and power outages are one eye closed..one open watching for you to try and touch those eggs [​IMG]
    My favorite broody is a leghorn(yeah we know they don't go broody..she doesn't) she's strictly here for those services because that darn hen has never I mean never laid an egg.When she's not sitting she's thinking about it I swear. She has also had all 100% hatches that she keeps..the bad one's they boot out without the help of a candling device I may add.. and somehow she hatches a very high % pullets..maybe she kicks out the roos as well [​IMG]
    So the short answer is buy extra chickens so some can raise chicks for you [​IMG]
    There are Never enough chickens..got to get more chickens
     

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