how long do my hens need to be laying before i attempt to hatch their eggs?

imamamato3

In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 27, 2012
16
0
22
My girls have been laying for about 3 months...
I threw some of their eggs in my incubator with some I purchased from another person....

2 of mine hatched... but the chicks are sooo small and one has MAJOR foot and leg issues to the point I HAVE to put it down... ( all of does is chirp constantly like its crying or stressed,
Which makes all the other chicks run over and pick..)

My point is... the chicks that hatched from my girls eggs ended up not being healthy..

I didn't get a good hatch this round anyways.. even from the eggs I bought local ( have gotten eggs from this person before with no prob)

I'm just wondering if this was an incubation issue or egg quality issue...

So... how long should my hens be laying before I attempt to artificially incubate my eggs again?
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
At 3 months, you layers should be fine for hatching their eggs. Lots of thing influence the vigor of the chicks. It may very well be an incubator issue, but since the other chicks originally, from off site, did not show a lot of these issues, I also would suspect this:

The old pros, those who are really in the breeding circles will tell you that the number ONE thing for chick vigor is the feed of the parent stock. Not the precise temp or humidity of the incubator/hatcher. High quality, 20-22% protein and balance feed, with animal protein being the 3rd or 4th ingredient listed on the tag.

Also, it is often reported that high calcium Layer isn't ideal for the cock bird. There seems to be some science behind the idea that high calcium can effect the cock's fertility.

For this reason, Layer feed is sometimes shunned in favor of a GameBird type feed and calcium being offered on the side.

Hope that helps.
 
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imamamato3

In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 27, 2012
16
0
22
I feed my layers 22% pellets... they get some scratch.. boss ... grit and oyster shells...
They get fresh veggies and fruit often also.

Is there something I am missing?
Out of 40 eggs (6 were mine.. 2 of mine hatched) only 9-10 of the other persons eggs hatched.

From what it sounds like, I am feeding them good... but then again I don't recall doing anything different during incubation either :(
 

imamamato3

In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 27, 2012
16
0
22
Sorry its not pellets... its crumbles.. and the protein source is listed 3rd... the first 2 ingredients being grains. 22% crude protein... there are occasions where I've thrown out a little 28% crumbles with their scratch... could it be that its too much protein?

I also give them home raised mealworms as treats... spoiled:)
 

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