How old should a hen be before it hatches babies?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by nova022, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. nova022

    nova022 Songster

    Aug 3, 2012
    I was wondering if hens can hatch their eggs as soon as they are old enough to start laying or should they wait a few months until they are more mature. Do they pretty much decide this on their own?

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    They pretty much decide this on their own when ready they will brood. For some that is early and frequently. For others it is never.
  3. nova022

    nova022 Songster

    Aug 3, 2012
    I see. How do breeding programs work then? Do they just collect the fertile eggs and put them an incubator? I remember my grandmother and aunts always seemed to have a momma hen with a bunch of babies running around. It was so nice.
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Yes, in most cases the eggs are incubated. There are some breeds that are more likely to go broody than others so its possible your grandmother had some of those. And, sometimes you just get a hen that goes broody frequently even if she is not a particularly broody breed. I have a friend with BCM's who can't get them to lay an egg because they are perpetually broody, while my BCM never showed any inclination towards broodiness at all.

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