Need help understanding brooding and details about incubating

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kelly77, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. kelly77

    kelly77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2012
    We want to add to our flock and watch the process BUT here is our current situation and our level of experience is none. Our flock consists of 3 Silkie hens and 1 rooster. They are all 6 months old. We have had them since 4 weeks of age. The rooster started mating with them before they were laying and 1 hen layed an egg the other day! She did not stay on the egg however and I am guessing its because she is so young. Someone told me they have to go "broody" I googled that and have been trying to learn everything I can. So, we took the egg away and ate it :( I found an egg that is fake and same in size and replaced it in her nesting box. She then started making her nest the next day (after being away from it for a whole night) she was making clucking noises and pushing it under her, sitting on it and pulling materials close to her but she is not staying on it. Today she layed another! We left it alone, but she is still not staying on it. She roosts with the other chickens and goes out to play then she wants to do her nesting thing. So my main question it ok for the egg to be cold until she lays on it full time? Is there a rule to this in the beginning? We are in New Hampshire and winter is upon is 35 degrees outside, in the coop its about 50 degrees. They have a heater, hay and shavings ...and her nesting box is an old cat carrier with hay n shavings. We are going to purchase an incubator and heat lamp...if funds allow us by next week. Will any eggs in the mean time go bad? I am going to leave them there to encourage her to lay more. I have heard stories of people finding eggs their chickens lay in the woods and place them under a broody hen and they live. Please any information will be helpful. I know the gestation period is 21 days
  2. hunypowell

    hunypowell New Egg

    Nov 28, 2012
    Anyone? I also want to know more.
  3. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

    Jul 29, 2012
    Oregon City, OR
    My Coop
    Placing eggs or leaving eggs will not necessarily get her broody. It is a hormonal change that triggers it. I have a BR that went broody at 6.5 months old. I got that breed because they seldom go broody and I did not expect her to do so so young. I expected my BO's to be broody first. You will know she has gone broody when she is staying on the nest overnight, and when you take her off the nest, she goes back(do this several times in a day to make sure she is committed to her broodiness). I waited for a week of this behavior with my broody before I placed eggs under her. She is due to hatch this weekend. Yay
    2 people like this.
  4. Becci

    Becci Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2012
    Yep, what you're seeing is normal egg laying behavior. All my hens do this before laying an egg. It's likely to be a while before your hen goes broody. Although leaving eggs in the nest may encourage it, there's no way to make a hen broody, as it is a hormonal thing. What I'd recommend is that you take the eggs out of the nest (If you leave them, there's also a chance that they'll get stepped on, broken and eaten) replace them with either fake plastic eggs or golf balls. She won't know the difference, and if she DID decide to go broody, she'll set on the fake eggs. Then, you have time to be sure she's committed, and there's no lives on the line if she decides she's not actually up for it.

    In the meantime you can be collecting the real eggs and reading up on incubation. If you get an incubator next week, by then you'll have an entire batch to shove in there. Store them in room temperature, pointy side down inside of an egg carton, turn three times a day (I put a brick underneath one side of the carton so that the entire thing is leaning. Just swap what side the brick is on a couple times a day) You can keep them like this for up to two weeks while waiting on your incubator.

    Good luck

    Edited: There IS a learning center here, it's very helpful for learning the basics! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  5. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Hens typically do not sit on individual eggs. Their normal behavior is to lay several eggs over the course of a week or two until they have a clutch. Since the eggs remain "cold" the pre-embryos in these eggs do not begin to grow--they are in suspended development.

    Once the hen has a clutch of eggs, she is more inclined to begin sitting on them. The hen's body heat raises the temperature of the egg so that the pre-embryos inside them begin to develop. At this point the hen is committed to staying on them until they hatch, leaving the nest only for a few minutes each day to eat, drink, whatever.

    Now, this is, in brief, normal inbred behavior. However, since man has tinkered extensively with poultry genetics certain breeds and/or individuals follow this behavior to varying degrees, and many not at all. Thus the popularity of artificial incubation.

    Hope that helps a bit [​IMG]
  6. kelly77

    kelly77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2012
    Thank you...this information was very helpful. Thank you Becci for the website too

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