New to raising chicks - sooo many ?????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dmcj66, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. dmcj66

    dmcj66 New Egg

    Jul 17, 2010
    We just took in 3 hens, 2 chicks & 1 RIR roo. We initially were not going to raise chicks, just buy them. But now that we have the roo, kind of excited about future babies. I have a total of 12 hens, plus the 2 chicks & 1 roo. Most of my hens are not of laying age yet, but the 3 new ones are. Probably a really dumb ? but when we get ready to leave eggs to hatch, how can you tell if they are fertilized???? And I've heard about using incubators....can't mom just hatch her own??? Do they need to be removed from coop after hatching?? [​IMG]
  2. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome to BYC. You are in the right place to get your questions answered. Let's see if I can help.
    If you want the hen to hatch eggs then you will have to wait for her to go broody. That is not something that can be forced. And some hens will never go broody. When she decides to go broody, she will stick pretty close to the nest while she lays her clutch of eggs. She could lay between 1 and 12 eggs or more. If other hens lay eggs in her nest then she will also keep those. When she decides it is time to set then she will stop laying eggs and set tight onto the nest. She will get defensive and growl and fluff up when anything comes around. She will then set for about 21 days until hatch. During this time she will generally only leave the nest once a day to eat, drink and poo. After the eggs hatch then she will bring the chicks out to meet the world. At this time it will be crucial to watch the actions of the other birds. The mama hen will be fiercely defendant of the chicks but if the hens gang up on her then there is the chance that they could kill the chicks. This is usually not the norm though. We seperate our broody hens from the rest of the flock after they hatch their chicks just to make life easier but we also have about 60 birds all in the main common area. We have smaller side pens built just for this purpose. That way they still get interaction with the other birds but are seperated by wire.
    Yes you can also incubate. Incubation can be fun and it can also be very frustrating. Mama hen will always do a better job if she is a good broody.
    As for fertility, watch your rooster. Is he mating regularly with each of the girls? Is he connecting when he mates? Do the girls like him? These are just things to watch for. After your roo starts mating regularly with your hens you can check the fertility of the eggs by cracking them open and looking at the contents. There are some great threads on checking for fertility. When a roo is mating regularly with a hen, if you were to take the roo away, the eggs she lays would continue to be fertilized for up to about 3 weeks.
    I hope that helps answer a few of your questions.
  3. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    You can also build a candler with a standard light bulb and a coffee can this allows you to see threw the shell to the membrain, YOu are looking for a small patch of white inside the egg this is the Sperm of the roo. Try searching for candling.
  4. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    Quote:i didnt know you could do that way of candling!! cool!!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
  5. dmcj66

    dmcj66 New Egg

    Jul 17, 2010
    Quote:Thanks, I have been reading a lot of posts and wasn't quite sure what "broody" meant, but now I know what to look for!

    I have hens in 3 different age groups, 6 are 2mths, 3 are 4mths, and 3 are about a yr, one is mama w/2 chicks about 3wks. The 2 & 4mth olds are the chicks I bought. The older hens, chicks, & roo we took in 2 weeks ago. My original hens pretty much hide in the coop, while the new arrivals pretty much have taken over the coop & run. For the most part everyone seems to be getting along. Everyone but mama & chicks all roost together every night.

    I did catch roo on top of one of my 4mth hens, but don't think he got very Kind of hard I work 40hrs a week, plus raising 2 of my grand daughters we adopted in Dec. So as much as I enjoy having the chickens, don't have the time to see how roo is getting to.

    I was told all 3 of the yr old hens are laying. So far only 1 is, mama is not, and the 3rd was sitting on a bunch of eggs when we got her, but none since I brought her home. The guy I got them from was not interested in eggs or raising chicks.....don't really know why he had them.

    I appreciate all the help!
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Just a really quick little note: the act of mating, for chickens, lasts just a few seconds. Literally, not figuratively. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!

    Roosters have no "parts" for insertion - they just touch vents with the hen. Mission accomplished.

    So you may have seen your rooster in action, but not recognized it as successful.
  7. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG]

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