Hen just started laying, how long to wait before incubating her eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Wimberleytexaschick, Aug 12, 2011.

  1. Wimberleytexaschick

    Wimberleytexaschick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2011
    Wimberley, Texas
    How long do you usually wait after a hen starts laying before starting to incubate eggs? Her rooster has been doing his job for weeks now, but she just started to lay the past few days. Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That kind of depends on your goals. Those first pullet eggs are usually fairly small. The shell might (or might not) be a little thick which could make it difficult for a chick to pip and zip. That is usually not a big deal, but I have seen it mentioned by a few different sources.

    Since the pullet eggs are fairly small, they do not have as many nutrients in them as the regular sized eggs. That means the chicks will not be as large when they hatch as chicks from regular eggs. Will they ever catch up on size with chicks from regular eggs? I honestly don't know. I hatched some from pullets that were 23 weeks old. Those chicks were small and did not get as large as the chicks from regular eggs normally do, but there could have been some different factors involved. They were hatched by a broody a little late in the year and forage was not really great. The genetics should be the same. It's just whether they ever catch up in size that I'm questioning.

    The eggs I set hatched pretty well. I'll take 8 out of 10 that start to develop. But four of the eight were dead within 24 hours. I hardly ever lose any like that. The ones that made it past the first 24 hours did great. I don't know for an absolute fact that them being smaller than normal contributed to that mortality rate or if it was something else. That was not the best or smartest broody I have ever had. And one sample is pretty irrelevent when it comes to a statistically relevent number. If I had hatched eggs from pullets that age 20 or 30 more times, I could maybe give you a better answer.

    Something else to consider. Sometimes when a pullet is just starting to lay, her eggs are not perfect. They may be soft shelled, no shelled, double yolked, without a yolk, wrinkled, misshapen, or even other things wrong with them. Those problems, when you have them, usually sort themselves out pretty quickly, but that can be a problem with hatching eggs.

    I'm not going to say you have to wait. You may do great if you try. Nobody can say for sure. But if you do try it, remember that small eggs will often hatch a little earlier than regular sized eggs. Just be prepared for that.

    More in line with your question maybe. I have hatched eggs from pullets that were about 29 to 30 weeks old and those chicks did great.

    Good luck!
     
  3. crazypetlady

    crazypetlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    I recently hatched 2 1 bantam 1 full size chick from pullet eggs the pullets being 18 weeks old. Both chicks are great just a little smaller than normal.
     
  4. Wimberleytexaschick

    Wimberleytexaschick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 25, 2011
    Wimberley, Texas
    Thank you both for the information! My roosters time is limited as he is not getting along with my kids, handsome, but not trustworthy. I would like a few EE babies for more pretty blue eggs, so I will wait a few weeks and try hatching. Her first eggs look very nice, just a little small. She does free range all the time, that should help boost her nutrition for the eggs. Thanks again!

    ETA, she is about 27 weeks old.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

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