Natural Reproduction?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by DaveMcLaren, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. DaveMcLaren

    DaveMcLaren Out Of The Brooder

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    I got my hens last spring, and added a rooster a few weeks ago. I was thinking about some baby chicks this coming spring, but I don't know how to go about it. I understand how the incubator process works (for the most part), but I would like to let my birds do their thing-the natural way. I havn't noticed anyone else talking about doing it this way... Why not? How do I facilitate them reproducing on their own? Are they capable? Thanks

    Dave
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Since the vast majority of "modern" strains of layers, most popular with small holders are hatchery stock, the tendency to actually go broody has been mostly bred out of them. Lots of people want chickens for eggs, eggs and more eggs. Since the hatcheries make money off chicks, not a hen setting in a nest for 21 days, this "anti" brooding selection has gone on for quite some time. Broody hens skip a month or more of egg laying. Being broody is hormone induced and an inherited trait so there's no way to convince a hen to do it if she isn't predisposed.

    There are many good threads here about hatching and brooding chicks via the natural method. There are some notoriously broody breeds and strains and if you prefer to hatch your own chicks, it would be great to get some of them.
     
  4. Bill 101

    Bill 101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most birds are capable of reproducing on their own. Some breeds never get broody, so it would depend on the breed (s) you have if you want them to set & hatch their own eggs. With some breeds (Cochins are one) have a hard time breeding successfully because of heavy feathering around the vent area & special things need to be done in order to assure fertilization (feather trimming) People who have heavy feathered birds (like show quality Cochins) Artificially inseminate their birds to increase fertilization rates. With some breeds fertile eggs come later in the spring/summer than others & some, mainly some breeds of Bantams only produce eggs in the Spring/summer & then may lay again in the fall. Large fowl seem to lay most all year & fertility rates seem to be good all year as well, but there may be some breeds where fertility rates are best later in the spring. The longer daylight hours improves fertility in most birds, but doesn't seem to affect others
     
  5. DaveMcLaren

    DaveMcLaren Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm. I have 3 Rhode Islands and one big yellow one (affectionatley known as Big Mamma). I think I have seen this "broody" behavior in one or more of my red hens before. Next time I suspect that I'll leave her alone. Any idea where RI hens fall on that broody frquency? Like I said, I'd like to hatch some chicks in the spring if they are willing.
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Reds aren't particularly high on the broody notoriety list. But... one never knows when one, even a hatchery bird, will grab hold of the instinct. It's just not common or reliable, that's all. The chicken has been domesticated for thousands of years. There's an old saying. God made the wild fowl, but man made the chicken.

    I just cannot predict or plan around broody hens. I've got an incubator. No doubt about it. Now, if a hen does go broody? Oh, sure, if it fits my life schedule well enough? You bet, I'll let her do it. Sometimes? No. I'd break her. It just depends.
     
  7. DaveMcLaren

    DaveMcLaren Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2013
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    Well, I guess I'll hope for the best, and buy a incubator just in case. Maybe even look into a more broody breed. Thanks for the great tips. I'm sure I'll have many more questions when it comes time to hatch the chicks : )
     
  8. Bill 101

    Bill 101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You want some birds that are known for going broody, get some Cochins (BTMs) or Silkies. Silkies will try to hatch a rock.
     
  9. sundayafternoon

    sundayafternoon Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 23, 2012
    I have two Rhode Island Red bantams who are very broody- one it seems like at the drop of a hat.
     

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