Pullet Eggs?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LoupGarou, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. LoupGarou

    LoupGarou Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    I ordered a few Golden Campine chickens from Ideal Hatchery and, through a course of events, have ended up with three rooster chicks and one pullet. I will choose the one roo that I want and have alternative plans for the others when they become a bit older. My question, though, is when pullet eggs become hatching-type eggs? (I know that daddy Roo has a bit to do with it, but . . .) My plan, because I know that GCs are not really broody birds, is to gather a few eggs and either put them in the incubator or under a broody hen of another breed. Is this something that might work to increase my paltry GC flock and, if so, how long should I wait before trying to hatch this poor overworked pullet/hen's eggs?

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    There has been some discussion on that. Pullet eggs are smaller so they do not hold enough nutrients for the chick to grow as big as a chick developing in a regular sized egg. They have the same genetics, though. There is debate as to whether they ever catch up with the chicks from regular eggs in size as they grow.

    I tried hatching pullet eggs once. The pullets were about 20 to 21 weeks old, just mutts from dual purpose birds. A hen went broody so why not. The eggs hatched real well, 8 out of 10. But I lost 4 of the chicks before they were a full day old. How much of that was due to maybe something the broody did (she was not an exceptionally good broody raising the chicks), maybe that they were small and not as robust, or maybe it was just one of those hatches. I honestly don't know. But I have never had mortality like that with chicks from regular sized eggs. The ones that made it past the first day were healthy, active, normal chicks, just a little small. I ate all four at about 20 weeks of age and they were a little smaller than I would normally have expected. Would they have ever caught up in size? I don't know. One time hatching pullet eggs certainly is not a statistically relevant experiment.

    Something else I've read is that some pullet eggs seem to have extra thick shells. That thick shell can interfere with a chick hatching. I think that was on the Florida incubation troubleshooting article. I certainly did not have that problem however. Just another one of those things that can happen, not something that definitely will.

    The extension sites usually say to not set small eggs. Other than that bit on shell thickness, they don't say why. I think it is because the chicks that hatch are small. The smaller eggs tend to hatch a bit earlier than the regular-sized eggs. Maybe that has something to do with it.

    I saw a video on managing the parents of the broilers. That specific commercial operation started incubating eggs from 23 week old pullets. These were for broilers, not layers, and the chickens had been specifically fed to produce eggs for hatching broilers.

    So when can you incubate? Whenever you want. If you start early rather than late, you may or may not get higher mortality. I truly don't know. The chicks will hatch smaller than normal but will have the same genetics as chicks from larger eggs. It may be a little harder to choose which are your best breeders since they might or might not wind up smaller as adults.
  3. txhomegrown

    txhomegrown Songster

    Dec 18, 2010
    Como, TX
    The people on this forum seem to have the ability to read my mind. I saw my cockerel mounting a pullet for the first time today. They are about 26-28 weeks old. Then when I made breakfast, there was a bulls eye that I had not noticed in the eggs before. He must have been getting busy while I wasn't watching. It made me wonder if it was too early to try a hatch from my own eggs. I signed on to the forum hoping to find some info and there it was, without having to even do a search! The part about thick shells is no lie either. I think I will give them another week or two and give it a try.
  4. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chirping

    Dec 2, 2010
    I hatched my pullets first eggs she ever laid and got 5 out of 6 hatched. The one that didn't was my fault for not increasing the humidity enough. Out of the 5 that hatched they are all still alive and healthy. So it is possible to hatch them and for them to be healthy. As for the size of them, i can't really comment as all the eggs are from the same pullet and they are bantams so i expect them to be small. [​IMG]
  5. LoupGarou

    LoupGarou Songster

    Oct 15, 2008
    Thanks so much for the replies! I am thinking I will try to hatch a couple of the pullet eggs and see what happens. It won't be for a couple of months yet, so I reserve the option of changing my mind--but I don't see the harm of putting a few pullet eggs under a broody hen and seeing what plays out. If anyone else wants to add some observations (such as broody vs. incubator or whatever), I'd love to see them--I'm so new at this stuff (having experienced a devastating failure a couple of years ago) that I'm willing to entertain any and all friendly and constructive suggestions.

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