newbies for hatching - basic questions for broody hens and hatching?

Discussion in 'Hatch-A-Longs' started by OhDear, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. OhDear

    OhDear Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2014
    Hello,

    I am new for hatching, I plan to have my silkies hatch if possible. Now I have 2 silkie hens and 1 silkie rooster, along with a couple of bigger laying hens like RIR etc. I checked the egg according to one of the thread, it seems to be fertilized. I can see the bull eye dot after open the egg, so assume the other eggs are good for hatching. But correct me if I am wrong.

    So my questions are:

    1. How should I preserve the hatching eggs? Right now, after collect them, I just put them in the plate located in the counter top. Room temperature.

    2. How long the fertilized eggs can be good for hatching?

    3. How would the silkie behaves when she goes brood? When I identify she goes broody, shall I just put the eggs under her? -- Sorry, really first time thing for me, so some silly questions.

    4. Do I need to provide her a hatching box v.s regular laying box? Is it practically good to move her to the garage or somewhere inside to avoid interruption from other chickens.

    5. I can in CA > San Francisco area, is it good to have hatching during winter time?

    6. BTW, any idea how many eggs the silkie hen give for how long they period they give eggs? and how many time she goes for broody per year roughly? Right now, my silkie hens gives 2 eggs every 3 days...

    More detailed explanation are very helpful, like how the hens behaves, the process do I expect, what should I do etc?

    Many Thanks,
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    That's the way many people store them, at least if your "room temp" isn't awfully hot. If it's the heat of summer, for example, and you don't air condition, I would probably refrigerate them, or find a place that was around 50F. They are at their highest hatchabillity for about a week, but at least some should hatch for a few weeks after. You should also turn them twice a day. An easy way to do this is keep them in an egg carton, and slightly prop one side of the carton up, then the other. This helps prevent the contents from sticking to the inside.

    Yes, when you decide she is broody, just put them under her. I would do this after dark just because chickens seem to accept change best this way. Mama will let you know by growling and puffing up at you when you approach her, and pecking at you if you try to move her. She will also stay on the nest 24/7, except for a brief outing once a day.

    People leave the mama in the coop with the flock all the time, and certainly this is how chickens did it many times when left to their own devices -- although many mamas will also go make a hidden nest, collect a clutch of eggs, then stay hiddden til the chicks hatch; then she can bring them back home. But you are right, the eggs can get distured a lot, and other things can go wrong, like mama returning to the wrong nest, or other hens adding to the eggs, creating a staggered hatch, some of which probably won't survive. I like to move the mama to her own space, which needs to be big enough to let her walk aorund a little each day and poop away from the nest. A good sized dog crate is often used. I have a corner of my oversize coop partitioned off with chicken wire.

    Once the chicks hatch, you can turn them loose in the flock with mama, or keep them separate. If you turn them loose, then when mama stops mothering in a few weeks, the chicks will already be an accepted part of the flock. They may tend to stay off by themselves but they shouldn't be attacked. If you keep mama and chicks separate, you will probably need a "grow out pen" for the chicks when mama returns to the flock, to get the chicks up to adult size before integration.

    The chicks should do fine in cold weather. They will appreciate something to nest in like extra hay to help them stay warm and dry. Mama will cover the chicks for warmth, and the cbicks will instinctively run under her for warmth when needed.

    I'[m not sure I understand your #6 question. The mama won't lay eggs while she is setting or raising chicks. You will know she is through being a mama when she pecks at the chicks to run them off; she should start laying within a few days at that point.

    Here are a couple of articles on broodies:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/guide-to-letting-broody-hens-hatch-and-raise-chicks

    http://www.themodernhomestead.us/article/broody-hens-1.html
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1. How should I preserve the hatching eggs? Right now, after collect them, I just put them in the plate located in the counter top. Room temperature.

    This link goes way overboard but it has good general information. Read it for basic information but don’t get too carried away with the details. Basically wait until a hen goes broody, then collect the eggs you want her to hatch. Store them pointy side down in a relatively cool place but try to keep the temperature from swinging warm to cool. Keep then out of drafts from vents or direct sunlight for example. I don’t know how you handle room temperature but that is probably good. If you keep them more than a week you need to turn them. It won’t hurt to turn them from the start but it’s not really necessary.

    Texas A&M Incubation site
    http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/...e-Cartwright-Incubating-and-hatching-eggs.pdf

    2. How long the fertilized eggs can be good for hatching?

    It depends on how you store them. In reasonable conditions, a week. In good conditions probably two weeks.

    3. How would the silkie behaves when she goes brood? When I identify she goes broody, shall I just put the eggs under her? -- Sorry, really first time thing for me, so some silly questions.

    What’s silly is not asking a question if you don’t understand. There are a lot of different signs a hen might be broody. She might spend a lot of time on the nest, fluff up and growl at you if you approach her nest, walk around fluffed up and making a constant pucking sound when she is off the nest, and other things. She will stop laying. I’ve had hens do all these things and not be broody. My sign that a hen is broody enough to trust with eggs is that she does some of these things and spends two consecutive nights on the nest instead of in her favorite overnight spot. Silkies often don’t roost so come to know where they spend the night.

    4. Do I need to provide her a hatching box v.s regular laying box? Is it practically good to move her to the garage or somewhere inside to avoid interruption from other chickens.

    This is pure personal preference. Different people do it different ways, usually successfully. Bad things can happen with either approach. One thing I’ll caution. It is fairly normal for the first chicks that hatch to climb up on Mama’s back. If the nest is fairly small the hen may be sitting close to the edge of the nest. When the chicks falls off, it might fall out of the nest. So try not to use small nests for a hen to hatch in. As long as she is not near an edge you are OK.

    If you decide to let her hatch with the flock, mark all the eggs you want her to hatch and start them at the same time. Then once a day after the other hens have laid for the day, check under her and remove any eggs that don’t belong. That’s basically all you have to do with that method.

    If you elect to separate her, fix her a place that has a nest, room for food and water, and a little room to go poop. A broody knows not to poop in the nest but she does not know to not poop in food or water. You may be cleaning it out on a regular basis so you need to have good access to it. This area could be anywhere. It needs to be predator-proof and it needs to stay dry. That’s basically the requirements.

    When a hen goes broody she spends practically all her time on the nest in a trance. She will come off the nest once or twice a day to eat, drink, poop, and maybe take a dust bath. They may spend 15 minutes off the nest once a day. They may come off twice a day for an hour or more each time. Some of that depends on the broody, some depends on the weather. A hen builds up excess fat before she goes broody. That’s mostly what she lives off of while broody so she will lose weight, but that is just excess fat there for that purpose.

    5. I can in CA > San Francisco area, is it good to have hatching during winter time?

    There are photos on this forum of broody hens taking their chicks for a walk in snow. The hen provides all the heat they need and the chicks are pretty tough. But cold weather is more dangerous than warm weather. A little mishap in warm weather can be a tragedy in cold weather. In San Francisco I would not have any problems giving a broody hen eggs in winter and I’d expect her to raise them but the cooler the weather the higher the risks.

    6. BTW, any idea how many eggs the silkie hen give for how long they period they give eggs? and how many time she goes for broody per year roughly? Right now, my silkie hens gives 2 eggs every 3 days...

    There is no telling how often, if ever, your hens will go broody. It’s an individual thing with each hen. Silkies tend to go broody a lot. RIR’s tend to not go broody much. But any hen can go broody. Any hen can go through her life and never go broody. Some Silkies go broody several time as a year. Some never do. Some RIR’s never go broody, but some do. Dealing with chickens is like that. You are not dealing with absolutes. You are dealing with living individuals. I’d expect your Silkies to go broody often and your RIR’s to not, but anything can happen.

    Hens and eggs come in different sizes. Some bantams can barely cover 4 full-sized eggs. I’ve seen hens cover 18 eggs of the size they lay. I’ve seen hens that can barely cover 12 eggs the size they lay. The hen needs to be able to cover all the eggs you give her so some don’t get pushed out and cool off. I don’t know how big your Silkies are or how big of eggs the hens lay. Just don’t crowd them too much.
     
  4. OhDear

    OhDear Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2014
    Thank you for the reply!
     
  5. OhDear

    OhDear Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2014
    Thanks for elaborating in details!
     

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