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Novice needs help with getting hens to hatch chicks...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by newchik, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. newchik

    newchik In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2007
    This is my first spring with my chickens - I have 7 hens and one rooster. I guess since they're less than a year, they're called something else, though?

    Anyway, I have ONE of the hens (and australorp) that I want chicks from. I am in WNY and it is just starting to get warm here. A few of my other hens (bantams, polish/cochin mix) have appeared broody, just hanging out in the nest box for a few days, but I keep taking their eggs (to their protest) and eventually they stopped.

    My australorp has not gone broody yet, and I am hoping for this to happen sometime around end of April here.

    I have many questions:

    1. I have been told that I need to collect her eggs while she lays them and then put them ALL back under her at one time to get them to all hatch at once. Correct?

    2. How long can I keep these eggs to put under her? Since I don't know when she's going to go broody, I have started to save them but obviously don't want to keep them too long for her. She only lays an egg about every other day, sometimes every day. I assume after a while, they will sit on the shelf too long - how long is too long?

    3. Will she keep laying eggs while she is sitting on the new ones?

    4. Does a broody hen lay eggs more frequently than a non-broody hen?

    5. I have read just recently that I need to move her - when do I do this, and why do I do this?

    6. What kind of "area" do I need to move her to? Can it just be a separated area in the same coop?

    Any other advice you feel like sharing with me is MUCH appreciated, including links that will clearly answer my questions.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I am happy to answer what I can, but I'm not an expert.

    Here goes:

    I don't exactly how to make a hen broody accept to say that leaving a bunch of golf balls or fake eggs in the nesting box is the best shot. IF you take away her eggs she will not have anything to 'make her feel' broody.

    If and when she goes broody, you can put all the saved eggs under her. Be caution about the 'saved' eggs and don't refridgeerate them. They should keep for approx 2 weeks. If she's not broody, then eat them or toss them.

    If she goes broody she will stop laying eggs. Think of it as being pregnant. The ovulation is the laying of the eggs and then the broody is the pregnancy.

    Your best bet to 'make' her broody is to move her now and set up a little nest box, with the fake eggs/golf balls, and put the food and water nearby. Don't let her out of the area. This is a way that people make hens go broody.

    The area should be separate so that other hens don't come in and add to the egg collection at inopportune times. Also they could soil the nesting box. Think of this space as the home for the chicks too. A quiet place that the others can't enter.

    I would be happy to give you more info, but I think there are some experts that might have better input. This is all information that I have gleaned from books and all the people on this group.

    Good luck [​IMG]
  3. sara

    sara Title Needed Here

    I think I would have put her eggs under one of the broody bantams. There is no way for you to predict if or when she will go broody. They stop laying while they are broody. Good luck [​IMG]
  4. K&H Chicken Farm

    K&H Chicken Farm Songster

    Feb 17, 2008
    Redding CA
    Yup if one of the others are going broody I would let that girl sit the eggs.
  5. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Why do you want your Austrolorp to be the one to sit on the eggs. Any hen will sit on any eggs and be very happy to raise them. They raise ducks too! [​IMG]
  6. newchik

    newchik In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2007
    Well, I will save up her eggs for the next 2 weeks and if she doesn't go broody in that time, I'll throw them under one of the other hens that is. I just started saving her eggs and don't have that many. How many can I put under one hen?

    I have an area under my nest boxes that is 15" x 48" that can be cordoned off with either wire or board. Is that large enough for the broody hen? Does it need to be completely separate (i.e. - she can't see or hear the other hens) or just physically separated so they aren't jostled? Can I let the incubating hen sit in the nest box until they hatch and then move them to this space I mentioned?
  7. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Again, others may have better information, but my answers are that 6 eggs is probably a good amount for a hen.

    And yes, you can cord or board off an area. The reason is to keep the other hens out of 'her' special nesting box. And yes, you could move her and the chicks later, but it might be good to have a little area that works for momma and her new little hatchlings for a couple of weeks so that they're safe from other chickens and predators. I have read that it's a good idea to set up a separate little covered run/area using 1/2" wire mesh so that the chicks are safe.

    If you don't have any books on this, you might want to purchase one or get one out of a library. Storey's guide to Raising Chickens is a good resource for me.
  8. newchik

    newchik In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2007
    I'm not sure I can board off a spot on the run at this point - it's not really all that friendly for changing the size. Last time, I used my dog's crate. The chicks could squeak in and out when they wanted to find safety. Maybe I'll just add chicken wire around it and use that outside for them.

    My rooster's days are numbered. As soon as I get chicks, he's a GONER.
  9. newchik

    newchik In the Brooder

    Jul 12, 2007
    Oh, I forgot to say that my kids had eggs for an after-school snack because I had to crack a bunch open to see if they were fertilized. That picture in the sticky post is awesome!

    Yes, they ALL were!

    One rooster, 7 hens... good odds.
  10. theMickster

    theMickster In the Brooder

    Oct 22, 2007
    N.W. Ohio

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