letting hen hatch eggs by herself

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jane A, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Jane A

    Jane A In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2008
    Acworth, Georgia
    I'm a rookie at chicken farming as well as "computering", so please bear with me while I learn. I have 10 hens of various breeds and one rooster. We've been learning "seat of our pants" how to care for them for about 8 months now and all has gone well so far. Previously when hens got broody, we segregated them for 4-5 days and that did the trick, but about 5 days ago, I discovered one setting on perhaps 3 eggs at most - don't know for sure because I collect the eggs at the same time daily and that days batch was shy about 3 eggs. Because of the cold temperature I didn't want to isolate her ( I don't have an extra hen house) for fear she'd freeze. I wasn't really ready for chicks yet and don't have an incubator or plans to get one. Is it ok to just let nature take it's course and let her hatch them herself. I do already have a warming box set up just in case I need it. Do I take the chicks away from her once they're born? If so, when do I reintroduce them? My local library doesn't have much info and I don't know where to go for answers. Thank you!
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD


    There are a lot of ways to do the hen and chick thing.

    This is what I do and it has worked for me, might not be the same for everyone.

    I took a pencil and marked the eggs my hen was sitting on with the date they were put in there. I then made sure that no new eggs showed up though hatch. She hatched them and I let her stay with the chicks and she took care of them all. She was in a nest on the ground in with the other chickens and protected her chicks from the rest. Nobody wanted to mess with "broody". Now her chicks are grown and she's done it twice.

    Mark the eggs.

    Remove new additions to the nest.

    You can candle and remove ones not developing, but it is not necessary

    Wait 21 days, and when they hatch, she should take care of them.

    Some hens will get off the nest early, and if this is the case, a make shift incubator can be made.

    With just three eggs, she should be able to care for the chicks no problem.

    Some may choose to separate the hen from the flock, but I didn't. However, I free range so nobody has to be in anyone's face during the day.

    Good luck!

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