How old does a chicken have to be to be able to hatch her eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by hollieben, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. hollieben

    hollieben Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2014
    My mom's chickens have only been laying about a week. Her roosters are always on top of them.
    My chicken just went broody. I want to take some of my moms fertilized eggs and place them under my broody hen. My mom doesn't think that her newly laying chickens have big enough eggs to hatch yet. Neither of us can find much info online. All I can find is that if they are laying then they are sexually mature. Anyone know if there is a "waiting period" so to speak? Should the chickens have already been laying weeks, months, etc before trying to hatch those? I don't want to miss the broody period, but if it's too early I'll just break her broodiness.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It all depends upon the size of the eggs. If they are not extremely small, I would give it a try.
  3. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2014
    Buffalo Wyoming
    I have hatched first eggs from new layers but the chicks will be small. And not every egg will hatch. I have had new layers go broody and they usually do a pretty good job if the weather isn't too cold. If the weather is still really cold in your area you might want to break her from being broody and just wait.

    You mentioned the roosters always being on top of them. You need to make sure that she really is broody and not just hiding from the roosters. [​IMG]
  4. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

    Dec 16, 2011
    I agree with sourland and red horse ranch. I'd also wait a couple days to put the eggs you want to hatch under her just to see if the hen is determined and going to "stick with" hatching eggs, and won't abandon her nest after a couple days.
  5. hollieben

    hollieben Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2014
    Thank you!
    I guess I forgot to mention, we live in different states. Lol. I don't have roosters so mine aren't hiding from them :)
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You can hatch those pullet eggs. I have some in the incubator right now. My pullets have been laying about a month. I have hatched pullet eggs in the past and gotten decent hatches and raised some nice chicks. What normally happens though is that you don’t get a great hatch rate. You often see posts on here where people get their first pullet eggs and they are just weird: soft-shelled, no shells, double yolked, no yolks, no whites, tiny, very hard shelled, many different thing can noticeably be wrong. Those things plus other things you cannot see have to be right for a pullet’s eggs to hatch. A lot of pullets get it right from the start, maybe a surprising number of pullets, but some don’t. Sometimes it takes them a while to work the kinks out of their egg making factory. If you get a good hatch rate you are lucky.

    As others mentioned the chicks will be small. There are not enough nutrients in those small eggs for them to be big robust chicks. If they were big robust chicks they would fill up the egg too tightly to be able to hatch. I hardly ever lose a chick that hatches, but when I do it’s often a chick that hatched from a pullet egg. If I can get them past two weeks they normally do fine but I find them to be at risk more than chicks from regular eggs.

    I know I’m repeating a lot of what Red Horse Ranch said. It’s better to wait until the eggs get bigger but that doesn’t mean you can’t hatch some, just don’t be surprised if you are not wildly successful. If you can handle that, you can certainly give it a try. Once you do it, you become an expert and can speak from experience.

    Do you know how to look for the bull’s eye? The bull’s eye means they were fertile. If you open an egg to look for the bull’s eye you can’t hatch it, but if the ones you open are fertile, then the ones you don’t open probably are. This thread can help.

    Fertile Egg Photos
  7. hollieben

    hollieben Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2014
    Thanks for all this great info!!!

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