Hens setting their own eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by valmom, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. valmom

    valmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 23, 2007
    Vermont
    Well, I was all set to buy a couple of chicks this spring to replace the ones that got hunted last year when my SO suggested just letting the hens "do their own thing" instead of having chicks being raised in the house then trying to move them out and integrating them into the herd.

    Anyone done this? Our hens don't seem to have too much of the mothering instinct going for them- I've never seen them actually sitting on any of the eggs we collect. I know they won't really set until they have a few eggs- do the early laid eggs survive without being set on?

    I think we have to wait until later in the year so the poor eggs don't freeze from not being set on by the hen :eek:

    Any tips? How do I encourage them to be broody? They are laying again (yea!) but it is still awfully cold here (still going to have single digit nights).
     
  2. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *Do chickens still do that??? How positiuely antiquated!! ([​IMG])
     
  3. valmom

    valmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 23, 2007
    Vermont
    Yeah, I tend to be old fashioned:)
     
  4. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I think where you live it might be too cold. But if you are getting more eggs than you need, let a few gather and see if any will go broody for you. If a hen decides to start sitting on them, switch them for a few new ones and remove the starter eggs. Maybe mark the ones you put under her so you wont mix eggs up. once they go broody, they tend to take every egg they see and tuck it under them. So you will want to know what eggs are the growing eggs. I had to learn that the hard way [​IMG]

    Wendy
     
  5. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Portland TN
    When marking the eggs what type of pen do you use? I know the eggs are pourous and I don't want the ink to do harm to the egg. I've got a blue cochin going broody and I'm saving some eggs for her when I know that shes ready for them.
     
  6. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Quote:I have a friend who uses a pencil and his chicks hatch fine.
     
  7. Hotwings

    Hotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    Quote:One thing is what kind of chickens do you have? There are certain breeds that are less to go broody than others and there are those who will go broody at the drop of a hat. You will find buff orpingtons and bantams are good brooders. The barred rocks tend to not go broody. Yours will probably go broody when the weather warms up. When a hen goes broody she goes into a zen like trance and will rarely leave her nest. She may be irked when you try to retrieve the eggs. You can separate a broody from the flock if she is setting on eggs-ie a dog cage or keep her with the flock. Foster broodies will set on a rock if ya let them lol. Don't be suprised if she hardly leaves the nest. Keep food and water nearby so she doesn't have to travel far. A hen knows what to do and it is my opinion that hen raised chicks are healthier. It is really neat to see the hen interact with her chicks.
     
  8. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Portland TN
    I agree w'Hotwings. I've always let mine take control, instinct proves well in mother hens. It is so cute to watch them grazing the yard with momma hen. Mine have always been good moms and very protective with an almost rooster like eye to the sky to protect her babes from preds and the rest of the flock. But mine have always integrated well into the main flock over time when left to their own devices.
     
  9. valmom

    valmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 23, 2007
    Vermont
    Well, they are descendants of an Aurucana or Americauna flock (I inherited them, so not clear which) who crossed with the Buttercup rooster that is in with them. They do still have blue eggs, except one hen lays brown ones.

    It just worries me that none of them have shown any inclination all of last year to want to stay with eggs and sit on them. But, we are getting plenty of eggs for us, so it makes sense to try and see what happens.

    When it is warmer, maybe:D
     

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