Probably a silly question from a newbie

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PADeutzguy, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. PADeutzguy

    PADeutzguy Just Hatched

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    Jun 11, 2016
    Southwest Pennsylvania
    I got my first little flock of 6 chickens this spring from Rural King, leghorns... didn't work out so well, but they are about 8 weeks and have been living at the farm in a large fenced area for about 3 weeks now. They started roosting on the little coop I threw together for them, then I put a pallet against that, tonight they were roosting up there.

    These were supposed to be pets and egg layers, they are so flighty, I can't get near them, so I ordered a new flock (after lots of research) that's going to arrive Saturday, Buff Orphingtons, Barred Rocks, Dominique and 4 more ducks. I got a male BO and a male BR, as the kids want to hatch chics.

    I feel silly asking this, but if I have the roos in there with the hens, I know they mate them constantly, will I pretty much always have fertilized eggs? I don't want fertilized eggs all the time. Yet I see people having hens and roos mixed all the time, even a few roos in there together. I read about the roos protecting and looking after the hens, and I want that part.

    What makes a hen go broody? Just putting some wooden eggs or golf balls in a nesting box doesn't seem like it will do it, she will exhibit signs of it, staying in the box, puffing her feathers, but does that mean she's been fertilized, or they get broody just because the sun came up?

    I can build the roos their own area, and I could build separate areas for each of them, but I'm guessing if they are raised together, and since they are both docile breeds, I might be OK with them living together. Then I would only introduce them to the hens when we want chics?

    I'm confused on this part.

    This is what happens when farming skips a generation... My grandmother had hundreds of leghorns in the 40s-50s, she passed in 2014 without handing down more than the breed she had. We have the same farm, 157 acres, and I grow distillers grain, but chickens... that knowledge is lost on my father and aunts... sadly.

    Thanks again.
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Yes, the eggs would be fertile all the time. You can't tell the difference between a fertile eggs and an infertile one, aside from the blastodisc on the yolk becoming a blastoderm, something most people won't notice at all.

    Broodiness is hormonal. Leaving a clutch of eggs might encourage it, but some will go broody on nothing and try to hatch thin air. They'll go broody if they've never seen a rooster their entire life. You can't make them go broody, but you can encourage it by leaving eggs in the nest.

    You don't need a separate area for your roosters, they can live with the hens all the time. You'll never be able to tell the difference in the eggs.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  3. PADeutzguy

    PADeutzguy Just Hatched

    11
    0
    14
    Jun 11, 2016
    Southwest Pennsylvania
    Thanks so much... that's right (10th grade biology!). I guess I still have memories of being a child and getting a few eggs that had blood in them, and was told that was a baby chic starting. I was 6-7, so I really don't have a clear memory of it, but it's stayed with me for 30 years.

    Good, I'm glad they can all be together! 2 roosters for 13 hens isn't too much?

    Will the same hen sit on the same nesting box each day, or once a clutch starts to form any hen will decide they are hers and sit on them? I know from that point the same hen will stay.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Actually blood spots in an egg are usually a piece of meat that shed off the reproductive tract and got encapsulated into the egg - you wouldn't see any sign of an embryo inside until a hen has been sitting on an egg for a few days.

    That'll depend on the roosters - usually you want five to ten hens per rooster, so you may be okay, but if yours turn out to be quite amorous you might have troubles with overmating, at which point you'd want to add more hens or rehome one of them.

    From my experience a hen has a favorite nesting box (and usually they all like the same one and all want to be using it at once :rolleyes: ) and likes to lay her egg there each day, and that's usually where she will go broody. But she doesn't care nor can she tell if the eggs are hers or not so she'll sit on any eggs that happen to be there.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016

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