newbie wanting to raise chicks

cheedmonds

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
4
0
7
Hiya,

I have had chickens now for about 10 months (3 Hyline browns) and they are doing very well, I'm really pleased with them.
I bought them as POL but I would now like to raise chickens from eggs. I do not have a cockerel but I know someone who does who is willing to lend it to me to do 'the business'.
I do have a few questions though:

1) Is it possible to breed the Hyline browns? (I've read some breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them)
2) If I was to put the cockerel with my hens for a week would this be long enough?
3) If I leave the eggs in the nesting box will the hens turn broody?
4) Can I leave the chicks with the mother now that the weather is started to warm up?

I'd really appreciate any advice or information people can give me.
Thanks
Che
 

lghrnlvr

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 7, 2013
69
4
33
orangeburg sc
I don't know much but i can try and help you out.
If you borrow a rooster from someone, it should be quarantined for 2 weeks to prevent the spread of diseases.
You can't make a hen go broody. they do it when they want to.
If you do have a hen that hatches chicks she will keep the babies warm.
I hope that helps some. maybe somebody else will be able to come along and give you better answers.
 

JanO

Songster
7 Years
Jul 25, 2012
325
13
103
Western Washington
Hiya,

I have had chickens now for about 10 months (3 Hyline browns) and they are doing very well, I'm really pleased with them.
I bought them as POL but I would now like to raise chickens from eggs. I do not have a cockerel but I know someone who does who is willing to lend it to me to do 'the business'.
I do have a few questions though:

1) Is it possible to breed the Hyline browns? (I've read some breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them)
2) If I was to put the cockerel with my hens for a week would this be long enough?
3) If I leave the eggs in the nesting box will the hens turn broody?
4) Can I leave the chicks with the mother now that the weather is started to warm up?

I'd really appreciate any advice or information people can give me.
Thanks
Che
I'll help where I can.

1. Yes you can breed the Hyline to anything you want. Chickens don't really care. However it is possible that Hylines don't go broody very often. I'm not an expert in that particular breed, so I hope someone else coms on with more knowledge about them than I have.
2. I would keep the rooster around for at least a couple of months, but that's just me. Even then, there's not guarantee that the hens will go broody while he's around, so you might want to get an incubator if you really want to hatch eggs from your hens. 3. No, leaving the eggs in the nesting box will not make them go broody. It's a hormonal function that only happens when the hen says it will happen, There's no way to force it. 4. Yes, hens will raise their chicks quite well.
 

cheedmonds

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
4
0
7
I'll help where I can.

1. Yes you can breed the Hyline to anything you want. Chickens don't really care. However it is possible that Hylines don't go broody very often. I'm not an expert in that particular breed, so I hope someone else coms on with more knowledge about them than I have.
2. I would keep the rooster around for at least a couple of months, but that's just me. Even then, there's not guarantee that the hens will go broody while he's around, so you might want to get an incubator if you really want to hatch eggs from your hens. 3. No, leaving the eggs in the nesting box will not make them go broody. It's a hormonal function that only happens when the hen says it will happen, There's no way to force it. 4. Yes, hens will raise their chicks quite well.

Thankyou for your help, some further questions then if you don't mind,

1) How much is a reasonable incubator, and what does it entail using one.
2) Is it possible to put the chicks in with a hen or would they have to go into a brooder, etc.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,101
19,563
857
Southeast Louisiana
If you put a mature rooster in with your hens you will get fertile eggs. That has nothing to do with them going broody. Hyland Browns are commercial egg laying hybrid chickens. When one goes broody she keeps eating, stops laying eggs, disrupts the laying flock, and requires special handling. All this costs the commercial operation money, cuts into their profit. This includes the parents that lay the eggs these chickens hatch from. They have incubators to hatch the eggs. They don’t want broodies. After a few generations of making going broody a capital offense, you are left with hens that very seldom go broody.

It takes about 25 hours for an egg to go through the hen’s internal egg laying factory. It can only be fertilized in the first few minutes of this journey. This means if a mating took place on a Sunday, Sunday’s egg is not fertile for sure. Monday’s egg might be, depending in when the mating took place and the egg started its journey. I would not count on it. Tuesday’s egg is fertile.

This is after a mating, not just throwing then together. A rooster does not necessarily mate with each and every hen every day. With only three hens, that should not be a problem for you.

After a mating, the hen stores the sperm. It remains good for a while, anywhere form maybe 9 days to over three weeks. Most people use two weeks after a mating as how long you can expect fertile eggs.

Your hens have had most of the broodiness bred out of them. They are not likely to go broody at all. Some people say this works. I’ve tried it and it did not work. I’ve had hens go broody with no eggs in the nest. With your breed, I’d totally give up on one of them going broody and get an incubator, which sounds like what you plan to do.

If a hen hatches the chicks, she will raise them even in cold weather. If a hen is broody, you can usually give her chicks and she will adopt them and raise them. If a hen is not broody and has not bonded with the chicks, she will probably kill them. If you don’t have a broody hen, you need to raise them in a brooder.

There are all kinds of incubators at all kinds of prices. You can buy one that holds three eggs. Commercial operations can buy incubators that hold 120,000 eggs. You can get still air, sometimes called thermal air. Or you can get a forced air, which has a fan to distribute the heat better. You can get one with a turner or turn them by hand. You can get Styrofoam or hard plastic. Different ones control humidity different ways. Some are a lot easier to adjust and control temperature than others. It’s hard to be too general about incubators. They vary a fair amount.

The cheapest are the small Styrofoam still air without a turner. A lot of chicks get hatched in them, but people have more problems with them. You generally have to work harder with them and you commit to being around a few times every day to turn the eggs.

There are several incubators out there. The three that are most common are the Little Giant, Genesis Hovabator, and Brinsea. The Little Giants are probably the cheapest. You can probably get one at your feed store. As I said a lot of chicks get hatched in these cheap Little Giants (LG).

The next up are the Genesis Hovabator. They make some competitive in price and quality to LG, but they also make some more expensive ones with more options. That’s what I got, a Genesis Hovabator 1588. It’s a Styrofoam which makes it a bit harder to clean and it’s less durable than the hard plastic ones, but I only use it two to three times a year. It works for me.

The best of these three is the Brinsea. They are hard plastic and generally have pretty convenient controls. You basically just set it up and get it adjusted, keep the water reservoir filled, and leave it alone. They are more durable and require less work for you, but they are priced accordingly. If I were hatching more often it’s what I’d get.

What does it entail using an incubator? You need to keep the humidity at the right levels. That generally means figuring out how to do that, then keeping the right water reservoirs from running out of water. You need to get the temperatures right. You need to run it a few days before you use it to see if you need to adjust the controls to stabilize the temperatures. You should have a decent thermometer and hygrometer so you can measure these.

You need to turn the eggs a few times a day, especially during the first two weeks of incubation. Bad things can happen if you don’t turn them.

After about 18 days you go into what is called lockdown. You stop turning the eggs and remove the automatic turner if you have one. You raise the humidity because they need a higher humidity during hatch and leave the lid closed until the hatch is over.

That’s the basics. There are lots of little details that can go along with this. You should get instructions with your incubator on how to do these things with your specific make and model. It may sound complicated but lots of people hatch a lot of chicks in all kinds of different incubators in their very first try. You can do it.

Something else. When they hatch some will be male and some female. It will probably be at least a month and probably more after they hatch before you are sure which is which. You need a plan on what you are going to do with them, especially the males.

I suspect you want to hatch chicks from your girls specifically. But if you just want to hatch chicks, you could get fertile eggs from your friend.

Hope you get some help out of this long post. Good luck!
 

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