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Incubate or wait?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by whudson, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. whudson

    whudson In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2009
    I'm brand new to chickens and have 3 hens & a rooster.

    Right now I'm getting 3 to 4 eggs a week.

    #1 - Should I leave the eggs and see if somebody decides to sit, or should I try incubating them?

    I have orpingtons, and would like to have more, but I'm in no hurry. I just didn't know how likely it is for one to go broody, and if they do, how long will these eggs have been sitting there when she starts. How long can they sit in the nest before they are no good for hatching?

    I built an incubator based on what I learned on this site, and would like to use it at some point, but don't know if this would be a good time (for whatever reason).

    #2 - Is there anything that may increase egg production?
    I'm currently feeding crumbles, I've heard that sometimes they lay better with crumbles, and sometimes better with pellets (does it really matter)?
    I do have a light that I turn on at dusk, and leave it on until 8pm.

    Other than that, I don't know of anything that might increase production. Suggestions are welcome. I realize there isn't much you CAN do, but if there is anything that might help that would be great.

  2. birdlover

    birdlover Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Well, you can't make a hen go broody but you do have a good breed for that so you will probably have some broody hens when the weather warms up. I don't know about crumbles being better than pellets. I don't think it makes a difference. I know I like pellets because there's less wasted. You could incubate the eggs if you wanted to try but you would have to raise them yourself. If you decide to, put all the eggs in at the same time so that they all hatch at the same time. Eggs can sit in a cool room for a couple of weeks and still hatch. Hope this helps.

    Oh, and [​IMG]
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I think an actual heat light may increase egg production, but it could possibly make the birds sick also.

    The eggs start to loose their viability after 7 days, so the longer they sit in the nest, the less likely they are to hatch. The hens probably won't go broody till it warms up some, but you never can tell. I would say go ahead and stick the eggs in the bator, so you'll hopefully have more pullets for this summer! It can't hurt! Just keep them in an egg carton in your basement, laundry room, some place that is not too warm, tilt the carton once daily, then when the oldest egg in the carton is 7 days, set all the eggs in the carton. If you have a second bator, it may take a while, but you should have a few chicks a week doing it like that. And if you do happen to have a hen go broody, you can always pull some eggs from the bator to set under her! My hens always seem to go broody the day after I set the eggs in the bator!

    Oh, and it doesn't matter which type of feed you give them, it is just a personal preference. Sometimes it is a matter of the hens preference, but still a preference!

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