How old should a hen be before hatching out some eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PatS, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    We have 9 beautiful BO hens who were born in mid-June. The first one started laying the first week of November, when she was 21 weeks old. Now we are getting 4 or 5 eggs a day.

    One of our hens shows signs of going broody. But since she has been laying less than a month, I would think she might be too young to hatch out healthy chicks. After all, the eggs are still on the small side and I've read that chicks from small eggs laid by young chickens are like "preemies." Since she is young and we are headed in to cold weather (it is flirting with freezing at night now, and December and January see temps in the 20s and sometimes teens at night), I am trying to discourage her by taking her off the nest box.

    But what is a good age to raise a first "batch" (what is the correct term? clutch?) of eggs.

    I'm also worried about the logistics of keeping a hen separate from everyone else while she is setting on the eggs and when the little ones hatch. The roo and the girls free range in the day unless we are out of town on errands, then they have access to the run. DO I need to set up a completely separate house and run for the Mama and babies, or can they live in a big dog carrier place in the regular run when they aren't free ranging? WIll Mama be able to protect her babies from the others chickens when everyone free-ranges? (I have seen the chickens chase quail and I believe they would have killed them if they caught them.)

    Thanks for any answers you can share.
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    All of your ideas will work an yes she an the eggs are good to go. You may not get as high of hatch rates as you would if she was older but if you want baby's then I say go for it.
  3. melody123

    melody123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2009
    Can you give her other eggs, other than her own, to hatch? If you don't have older hens, then I'm sure someone in your town has fertile chicken eggs. She won't know the difference, and she can have some success at her first bout of mommyhood.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by