Natural Incubation - Info?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Theofire88, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2015
    Hello!

    So we have 12 hens so far, 4 Orpingtons, 3 Partridge Plymouth Rocks, 2 Gold Laced Wyandottes, 2 Silver Laced Wyadottes and 1 New Hampshire Red, this year we decided we might want to expand our operation and welcome in some new varieties and add to our flock. We are well read up on quarantining and adding to our flock, however we would like to hatch our own chicks, as well as make some additions of older chickens. We have been noticing some of our hens acting broody, it being springtime, and were wondering if we could possibly naturally hatch our own eggs, not being able to be out at the farm 24/7. My questions mainly regard the following sections:

    - Humidity and warmth: We will have a heat lamp in our hatching area, which will be separate from the coop. Will the mother hen keep the eggs warm all day, even after hatching, or will we need to monitor the heat as closely as if we had artificially hatched them?

    - Brooder: Our understanding is that if we artificially hatch out eggs, they will have to be moved to a brooder, floor lined with paper towels and rigourously cleaned. If we are naturally hatching out eggs, our mother hen will have the floor covered with wood shavings, do the chicks need to be kept separately on different flooring, in a box? Should we move the hen to a paper towel floored enclosure?

    - Turning/Visiting: The eggs will need to be visited a minimum of twice daily, preferably thrice, and turned. With a mother hen or hens, should we just check on the eggs once? Twice? What is the minimum standard for these eggs?

    - More than one hen?: We have a separate enclosure for if we decide to take up on this project, can more than one hen watch over one clutch of eggs? Two? if we have multiple hens in one enclosure without a second or multiple clutches of eggs, will they be OK? We can plant golf balls or non fertilized eggs, but they might kick them from the nest?

    - Importing Eggs?: If we decide to undertake this project, we do not have a rooster, so we would have to order fertilized eggs, if we place them under a hen, will she accept them? Or will she need to already have a clutch of unfertilized eggs and we do a swap?


    If you can answer ANY of these questions, I will be more than grateful! I realize it is a lot of demand in one post! I may have further questions later, and I may find the answers to these questions, this is a backup post with all the questions I may not get answered.
     
  2. Odelia

    Odelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have a broody hen you just leave the eggs to her. The less you mess with her the happier she will be. She will do all the warming and turning herself you don't need a lamp. You can give her different eggs and they normally won't blink twice and sit on them. The key isn't if she has eggs already it is that she has to be broody. If she has eggs then just swap them out.
     
  3. Odelia

    Odelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 20, 2014
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    As far as hens sharing a clutch or hatching to clutches under two hens in one enclosure it depends on your birds. Silkies are known sit on clutches together. I would be inclined to give each hen her own clutch.
     
  4. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for your help! We have an Orpington hen that is showing signs of broodiness, we do not have a rooster, so any eggs are unfertilized, does this make any difference? I am watching her very closely to see if she continues to show signs of broodiness, I have let the chickens out into their outdoor coop after they sleep in for the night and she will remain, off on her own, sitting in her nest, however she will sometimes leave and not return. What is your opinion on asking a reliable supplier for a broody hen, as we may also order some older hens, I am hoping we can order a couple more hens and some eggs from him.
     
  5. Theofire88

    Theofire88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2015
    Also, my thoughts on sharing clutches was much the same, although some people claim sharing clutches is a common occurrence in some breeds? We are hoping to get some Barnvelders to add to our flock, we could also look into getting a reputably broody silkie hen, *** they are mentioned everywhere as very broody.
     

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