Natural hatching (experiment)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by harley96cube, May 13, 2011.

  1. harley96cube

    harley96cube Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    32
    Sep 3, 2010
    We have Easter Eggers. 3 Hens and 2 Roosters.
    The girls have been laying eggs well since last fall...even through the winter.
    I decided to try and hatch some eggs.
    I haven't gotten an incubator set up, so I decided to see what happens if I just let nature take it's course.
    I am feeding the chickens layer crumbles and quite a bit of people food scraps and they get out in the yard to scratch and eat whatever they care to.

    As of May 1, I just stopped collecting eggs.
    I have 8 nesting boxes, and the girls have laid eggs in 3. The eggs are blue and brown and are mixed in each box.
    I counted 20 last night...my young daughter counted 18 on Wednesday...but she just recently learned to count, so I am not sure if she counted correctly.
    Someone told me that once a hen had "enough" eggs to lay on, she would stop laying more eggs and just set on them.
    I will keep counting each day to see if they keep laying.

    I have 2" x 4" wire mesh for their outside run, so I am going to add a row of chicken wire with small holes on the bottom of the fence so that if/when we get chicks, they don't escape.

    Currently I don't have a ramp up to the nest boxes. They are about 20" off of the floor and the girls have no problem hopping up into them, but I would imagine a chick falling out could be a problem.
    I think I'll build a ramp so little ones could walk up/down.

    I have a radiant heater in the coop and will turn it on or keep it on so that it stays warm in the coop at night (currently down to about 40 F at night).

    Will I have any luck in my experiment of just letting nature take it's course?
    ...I'm hoping for even a 25% hatch rate...

    If it doesn't work out well, I'll get an incubator setup and try that way.
     
  2. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,286
    29
    193
    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    If you don't already have a broody hen, there is no 'magic number' of eggs that will persuade her to stop laying and start sitting. If you do have a broody hen, she doesn't actually even need any eggs, she'll sit on any old vaguely spherical objects she can - plums, golf balls etc - or even nothing at all. But good luck, I hope you manage to persuade one of your ladies to try out some hatching duties! [​IMG]
     
  3. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    also you will need to mark all of those eggs and remove all new eggs,

    the other hens will keep laying on the used nest and the new eggs and the old eggs

    1) won't hatch at the same time
    2) might be too much for the hen to cover, and therefore make development stop or go strangely as some eggs get heat almost all the time, some get only a little some die w/o heat.
    (because chickens rotate the eggs and move them in the nest some would be exposed all the time possibly killing them)

    =

    Good Luck.

    [​IMG]

    Have fun.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  4. harley96cube

    harley96cube Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    32
    Sep 3, 2010
    Would a Sharpie permanent marker be ok to mark the eggs with?

    Any hints on how to persuade hens to be broody?
    Is that possible?
     
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Quote:Broody condition is hormonal, cased by the body- some hens have had that response 'bred' out of them so it almost never happens.

    I mark mine with a soft lead pencil, no chemicals to get into the egg, i put bid 'X" on both sides so I can see it quick.
     
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,286
    29
    193
    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Quote:Yeah, I've got 30+ hens, some of them a few years old now and none of them have EVER shown even the slightest signs of going broody. Silkies and Cochins are quite reliable breeds for going broody, but high production egg champions like the modern hybrid layers and Leghorns almost never go broody. I'm not sure about EasterEggers, as we don't have them here in the UK. I don't think there are any ways to induce broodiness, but maybe somebody else here knows more than me about that...

    I prefer a dark lead pencil for marking my own eggs, but loads of people here use Sharpies with no ill effects so I'm sure that'll be fine.
     
  7. harley96cube

    harley96cube Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    32
    Sep 3, 2010
    Well, not seeing hens sitting much. My quess is experiment will fail.
    I marked 22 eggs with pencil on Friday. 2 more eggs since then and I pulled them out to eat.
    If I don't get any hatchers, I'll start over with an incubator setup and try to hatch some that way.
     
  8. Jocasta

    Jocasta Chillin' With My Peeps

    330
    6
    111
    Apr 8, 2011
    TBH, your best bet would be to leave about five eggs in each nest box. If you leave too many, some make crack and this can help teach chickens (especially roos) how to break eggs open - they absolutely LOVE raw egg. Also, if/when you do finally get a broody hen, she'll likely not manage more than ten eggs. For the best hatch rates, you'll want the freshest of eggs so you'd be best off to remove the older ones when you see broody behaviour, leaving her with the freshest eggs possible.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by