Newby Questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bigbob7777, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. bigbob7777

    bigbob7777 Hatching

    Nov 21, 2012
    Western NC
    Hi all,

    Yes, I'm a lurker. Don't have enough brain pan to contribute much (yet). I would like to hatch my own chicks. I have 9 laying hens. No rooster(s) yet.

    Do I really need an incubator? Can't the hens hatch their own young? What would be the benefit?
    Do the hens need a separate area to hatch their young?

    I know I'll have more questions. Please pardon the ignorance.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    If you have no rooster, you'll have to buy fertile eggs from somewhere.
    A broody hen makes things easier, no need for electricity or humidity concerns. I do like to give a broody and her clutch their own space.
    You can't make a hen go broody, she has to get the urge.
    Some breeds have a greater tendency to go broody.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    To expand on the good advice already given by ChickenCanoe - you don't NEED an incubator, unless you have a certain time frame in which you'd like to hatch out chicks. You can't depend on your hens to go broody when it suits you. (As a matter of fact, they seem to wait until it's most inconvenient for you!) Last year, I used an incubator because I had a certain date I wanted baby chicks. This year, I let my broodies do all the work. (Admittedly, I didn't have a great hatch, but I'm pretty sure it was more rooster issues than the broodies.) I prefer letting them hatch and raise the chicks. Some will let a broody hatch and raise her chicks right within the flock and have no problems. I haven't gotten to the point where I'm ready to do that. My current batch of chicks (all 2 of them) will be allowed out with their mamas next week when they're 3 weeks old. If you choose to let your broodies set in the general population, it would be a good idea to mark her eggs so you can keep track of them and pick any extras that are laid in the nest during the incubation. Yes, other hens will still get up in the nest and lay eggs. You don't want this. The hen will stay with the nest a day or so and then leave any unhatched eggs while she takes her babies out to learn how to be chickens. If there are eggs laid in her nest during the incubation, these partially-developed eggs will be left to die. Some people will take the first chicks hatched away from the hen so she will continue to sit until the later ones hatch. That's fine, but then you are still having to take care of the chicks yourself instead of letting the hen do it. It's entirely how you want to do this. There is no right or wrong way, as long as your chickens have food, water and shelter. It's a constant learning experience. The main thing to remember is: relax and enjoy your chickens. Chicken-keeping doesn't have to be complicated.
  4. Liz new

    Liz new In the Brooder

    Apr 20, 2013
    Coop Size

    Is a 4×8 coop and 10× 6 run big enough for 8 hens and 1 roo?
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Probably. I have several coops of various sizes. One is 6X8 elevated for space underneath. The adjacent pen is about 7X14 and I've kept as many as 10 hens and a rooster in it with no problems.

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