natural chicken birth

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by greenhorn101, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. greenhorn101

    greenhorn101 Hatching

    Jun 6, 2010
    Is there a reason I need an incubator? Won't they lay, incubate, hatch and raise their young all on their own? If I leave half the eggs in the nest, won't they hatch on their own? What is the common, if any, procedure for non-incubator births? When should I separate the young from the flock?
  2. UGAchick

    UGAchick Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Athens, GA
    Yes. If you have a roo of fertile age, and a hen of laying age, and they mate, and the hen lays fertile eggs, and the hen decides that she would like to sit on the eggs. Twenty-one days later you should have chicks. When a hen "decides" to sit on her eggs, it is called being broody. Some breeds are more broody than others. In fact, some people on here buy hens of certain breeds (like silkies) just so that they will have a broody hen to sit on eggs. They sometimes put eggs of other breeds under the broody hens.

    Needless to say, a hen will not lay eggs while sitting on them, so some people look at broodiness as a nuisance. I am waiting and hoping for my laying hen to go broody because it would be much easier than my incubator!
  3. hallerlake

    hallerlake Songster

    May 30, 2010
    Quote:Some breeds, like leghorns, have had the broodiness bred out of them. They pretty much have to be hatched in an incubator. What kind of hens do you have?
  4. wishful

    wishful In the Brooder

    Jan 2, 2010
    Tacoma, WA
    As UGAchick said, you don't need to take the eggs away - the hens can do it themselves if you have a broody hen. Taking them away could let you incubate bigger batches than a hen could handle at one time, it keeps the hen laying, and you don't have to wait for a hen to go broody - you can just hatch whenever you feel like it. If you'd prefer to leave it to her, though, you can do so, assuming she's broody.

    If you leave the eggs with the mama hen, it might be a good idea to separate the hen and her nest, like put them in a dog crate with some food and water or some such thing. That will keep other hens from laying in her nest, and keep any bullying from happening. Once they have hatched, the hen should be able to reintegrate them with the flock (I'd keep them apart for a day or two, but I don't know what the official thinking is on that) so you don't need to brood the chicks separately or take them out of the flock and worry about reintegration later on.
  5. greenhorn101

    greenhorn101 Hatching

    Jun 6, 2010
    Sadly, I have no birds. I,m very interested in some. I know squat, but am a quick study. I need a breed that is Wisconsin cold hearty, and broody, if that exists. How many is a good number of birds to start with so I dont become overwhelmed? Thanks for the replies I'm soaking up the info.
  6. Dar

    Dar Crowing

    Jul 31, 2008
    I love my Silkie for that exact reason... she is the best bator 95% hatch rate with her but unfortunately her timing and mine dont meet up most of the times
  7. Quote:Nothing like buying a few to make the study go quicker! [​IMG]

    I live in a fairly cold area and all my birds did very well. I think my favorite is the barred rocks, but mine don't get the urge to go broody. I have two silkies and they love to sit on eggs.

    I started chickens by saying I was going to get 6. Then 6 became 27 day olds that arrived in the mail. NOW I have 40. If you read my page at Backyard Farm, you will see how I do chicken Math.

    Just get some, and you will love it.
  8. Mxmediamom

    Mxmediamom In the Brooder

    May 23, 2010
    I have a Sumatra that has hatched out Muscovy ducks and a peafowl. Talk about good mamas! Other than the fact that Sumatras are flighty and hard to tame, they make fabulous moms! I've had the best luck with devoted Cochins and bantam Cochins, but had good luck with my Silkie, too. Remember, though, the moms don't lay eggs while hatching eggs and for some time after, so if you are "about eggs", you may want to compose your flock of chickens with those that rarely go broody and just keep a few broodier types for the motherhood jobs.

    Never had an incubator. Friends have not had as good luck with incubators as I've had with my girls.
  9. Dora'smom

    Dora'smom Songster

    Dec 14, 2009
    I started off with six birds, and I think that's a good starting point. If you get sexed birds, you may still have a rooster in there as the error rate can be as high as 10%. I chose three different breeds to start with after consulting as many sources as I could find. I looked for cold hardiness to some extent, dual purpose birds, good egg layers, not flighty, at least somewhat docile, occasionally broody, egg color and appearance, and ability to forage for some of their food. There were still a number of breeds to choose from, but what I decided on was Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, and Rhode Island Reds. I had one rooster out of the six, and the other five are great layers, and very pretty in my yard. I'm prone to chicken math, too, so I now have a total of 19 chickens. Sadly, my adorable black Silkie is crowing at the age of 13 weeks, so maybe I will have 18 birds. I'm still trying to convince myself that (s)he is a dominent pullet, as there are no "streamers" and "Sissy" had previously been trying to hide under other birds. I just hate to give him away.[​IMG]
  10. hallerlake

    hallerlake Songster

    May 30, 2010
    Quote:Click on Breeds at the top of the page. Click on Breed Selection Tool. Answer the questions. It will give you a list of suitable birds.

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