How do you breed and hatch chickens the natural way? (without incubators)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by charliewhite, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. charliewhite

    charliewhite New Egg

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    Aug 16, 2013
    I apologize for how vague this question is. I've been doing research, but haven't been finding answers. What I know so far is that roosters mount hens and make them fertile, then hens lay eggs, and then sometimes go broody on the eggs. But how does that work? The whole process seems pretty confusing... do hens go broody, then lay several eggs while on top of them? But that doesn't make much sense because then the eggs would all hatch at different times... Or do they find several eggs then sit on them? But that doesn't make sense because A, the eggs would die because they were left unattended, and B, the eggs would all hatch at different times. Also, you wouldn't want to breed just any chicken, you would want to breed the best chickens in your flock. But how do you know which eggs belong to which hen? I'm extremely confused, and would be very grateful if some one explained to me how the whole thing works.

    Thanks,

    Charlie
     
  2. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    The chickens will lay an egg and leave it and next day lay another one this goes on until the hen feels she has enough eggs. then she sits on them. they only start to develop when sat on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  3. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    sometimes you want to hatch out eggs of your favorite hen, but she is not broody. then try and separate her if you can to a separate pen and collect her eggs each day put them in a cool room when you are ready put them under a broody. she will not care if they are her eggs or not. if you don't have a broody get a silky.
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The rooster mounts the hen and she stores the sperm inside her body. She will lay fertile eggs for several days after a single mating. When an egg is fertile cell division starts but as soon as it is laid and it leaves her body, the temp drops and cell division stops. You will have a an egg that really is like an infertile egg except for a small white bullseye in the yolk. This egg has the POTENTIAL to become a chick but will not continue with cell division unless it is kept at the correct, consistent temp - otherwise it will just be an egg.

    In theory, a hen would lay an egg each day. When she has enough she would go broody (hormones telling her to make babies) and decide to sit. At this point she would stop laying and then sit on all of her eggs she previously laid. The eggs, even though they were laid on different days will all re-start cell division and chick develop when she sits and the correct temp is met. NOT when they are laid. So, they will all hatch at the same time even they were laid on different days.

    The problem is that due to domestication and breeding of certain traits broody behavior is a little tricky. Some breeds like silkies and cochins will go broody often (even on an empty nest) and others like leghorns are unlikely to ever go broody.

    edited: If you want to hatch naturally I would buy a few hens from a more broody breed. Collect fertile eggs and when you see a hen go broody put any fertile eggs you want to hatch under her and she will likely hatch them for you. I would need to look it up again but I believe about 2 weeks is as long as you want to keep the eggs waiting around for a good hatch rate. Although, some people have even had success with grocery store fertile eggs under a broody so there is a little leeway.

    A lot of people will set up separate breeding pens with just the stock they want to breed and mate. You can keep these eggs and have a different broody hen hatch them. It just takes both planning and luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
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  5. Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Charlie!
    The hen and rooster would both have to be fertile for fertilized eggs. If you have a pullet that's still too young it won't matter if you have a rooster or not. And if you have fertile hens laying eggs but the rooster is too young or has problems then she would lay unfertilized eggs!
    If you want eggs from a certain hen you can put her into a pen by herself or use trap nests. The trap nests will catch whichever hen is in the nest box so none of your other girls can get in there with her to lay eggs!
    You can breed any hen to any rooster if you don't care about mutts or are just wanting chickens!
    My husband would collect the eggs and put them in a cool place until he had enough. He would put wooden eggs back into the nest so the hen would start thinking she had enough to brood! When she was ready he would trade the wooden eggs for the ones he had in storage!
    We don't have any grown up roosters right now and our girls still lay eggs. The eggs aren't fertile so we won't have any new chicks for a while!
     
  6. redstar14

    redstar14 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hens have up to a 12 day laying period before sitting on eggs
     
  7. charliewhite

    charliewhite New Egg

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    Aug 16, 2013
    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHH. Now I understand. Thanks so much, it all makes sense now.
     
  8. charliewhite

    charliewhite New Egg

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    Aug 16, 2013
    Are New Hampshire Reds a good breed to raise little one's with?
     
  9. Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you asking if they are good with children or good broody moms?

    A friend of mine has a few; they were very nice with my two girls when we visited! She mentioned that hers do go broody some; but not as much as her cochins. I think her's are heritage chickens and not hatchery bred.

    I want to add that her Reds would follow us around the yard looking for treats!
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  10. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    I had a NHR (Rhoda) and she was on the bottom of the pecking list. but we didn't have very many hens at the time. top hen was Lucy an Australorp. her hench hen, was Freda. If Freda sensed any other hen offended Lucy, Freda would mead out the punishment. One day Freda died of old age. Then Rhoda went into action. While Lucy was still grieving for her friend, Rhoda cozied up to Lucy and started to groom her face as if to say aren't you glad I am your hench hen now? Where I feel bad is when Lucy got too old to be top hen anymore Rhoda completely abandoned her. Lucy lived to a ripe old age of 8.
     

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