New chicken owner in need of advice

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pamela in MD, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. Pamela in MD

    Pamela in MD Hatching

    Feb 1, 2012
    Freeland, MD
    Help! I got my nine little hens last May and all are thriving- getting 7-9 eggs a day regardless of weather here in Maryland- a beautiful Australorp Rooster showed up on our farm and he is now the king of the pen so lots of love going on! I would love to hatch some eggs this spring but don't know whether or not to leave it up to nature to happen or is it better to pull some eggs and buy an incubator- my girls all lay in the same box every day- do I keep pulling eggs out so there aren't so many? How do I encourage someone to set on them? If I don't collect every day I have egges overflowing in that single box and if it gets crowded I find an egg laid on the floor right outside that box- I have 12 boxes but they all use just that one- some advie, please!

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Sounds like you'll be better off with an incubator.
    If they all lay in the same nest and there is a broody it causes problems.
    The only way to encourage a broody is to leave some eggs in the nest but it only helps slightly.
    They have to want to be broody. If one does go broody you can separate her and let her do her thing, it is the easiest and most effective way to hatch eggs.
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    A hen won't set on eggs unless she becomes "broody". It's kind of a hormonal thing that is out of their control.....It's something you can't encourage. Some breeds rarely go broody, while other breeds, like silkies and cochins, are extremely broody. (At least mine are.)

    If I really wanted chicks, I would probably buy an incubator. I've had chickens for 4 years, and this past year I bought cochins and a silkie, so it's my first year ever to let a mama hatch chicks. It is really neat!

    But if you incubate, then you can hatch eggs when you want to. It's more predictable. And it is fun! If you've got the money, I'd recommend using the R-com incubators. They are fool proof, but very expensive.

    Take care and good luck!
  4. Karen Phelps

    Karen Phelps Hatching

    Feb 6, 2012
    Need advice for an injured chicken that was attacked by something.
  5. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    X2 Go get in incubator. not only are they cheap but they have all kinds of incubators. good luck
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    ahhh, check your breed of chickens, if you have one that tends to go broody, you might get one that will go.

    Try some round rocks or golf balls in a few of the other nests, that might encourage them to lay in a different nest, or try blocking off the favorite nest. That way, they will get a little more flexible about where they all lay, and then if you get a broody, you can leave her be.

    If you do, when the days get longer is when mine go, or sooner if you add light (I don't) but during that time, keep your eggs in a bowl on the counter instead of in the fridge, they won't start to grow and they won't go bad. Then if you get one, you can slip how many you want under her all at once, after marking them.

    I don't have real big nests, and mine have always been willing to take your arm off at your elbow, they get a little crabby. So I just left them and after about 40 years, jk 20 days, here she comes with chicks, which is priceless, and then she takes care of them which is just fun to watch, and none of the work.

    I am for the broody hen way! no ick incubators for me!

  7. steelersfan43

    steelersfan43 Songster

    Nov 28, 2009
    NE IN
    I prefer an incubator. Another problem with a broody if they all only lay in the same box, is she wont be able to keep them all warm and they won't hatch. We had this happen once. the other hens saw her sitting and when she would get up to eat, they would lay in her nest so then she couldnt hatch them because there were too many. If you do still decide to go with the broody hen, I would recommend using a pencil and making an x on the eggs you are letting her brood. Then you can check for too many eggs and know that the ones without the x are fresh and remove those so that she can keep the ones she is incubating nice and warm. Good luck!

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