pullets not laying yet, possible broody before winter?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Phoenixxx, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have an australorp pullet that I was told would lay her first egg the day she turned 16 weeks... that was 5 weeks ago. I bought 2 other pullets, one chantecler/ameracauna x and another australorp (though she has a cushion comb instead of a single) off another lady back in early september... "they'll be laying any day now..." she said. I also have a bunch of white phoenix pullets - which I suspect are bantams because they're no bigger than a pidgeon - that are also not laying yet. I'm doing everything right as far as feed, light, forage, blah blah... But I want to know, once these young girls get going, what is the chance of having a broody (out of 11 pullets, 8 being the phoenixes) before winter? I'd like to know, because I have one older red star that, despite her breed, is still pumping out an egg a day and, since (me) eating the red star roo, she's been mating with the head aussie boy. I want to hatch her babies BEFORE she quits laying like her sisters did a year ago but she's not the broody type (believe me, I tried with that breed - they're useless!) Alternatively, how long can a fertile egg live in a fridge (set to the warmest setting before "off") and still be incubated? Thanks!

    edited by staff
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Many chickens never go broody, especially mixes like red stars that were bred for production, where there has been an effort to breed broodiness out of them. If you want a broody, it's best to have a few of the breeds that tend to go broody, like game birds, Silkies, Kraienkoppes, etc.

    People have hatched chicks from store bought eggs, though it's unusual. If you collect eggs for hatching, it's best to store them at room temp, not in the refrigerator, where they will be at their best for a week or so. Rate of hatch starts decreasing after that, and will be lower if they were stored in the refrigerator instead of at room temp.

    As for when a particular bird will lay, there is really no one answer for that, even for a single breed. They lay when their hormones tell them to. Several factors can affect laying, including stress and diet.
  3. Phoenixxx

    Phoenixxx Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks! Yeah, I did learn quite quickly about the breeds/broody bit, lol! I've seen the red stars sit for a few hours, almost like "I feel like I'm supposed to be doing this..." and then it's like some kind of switch turns on in their head that says, "no, you're not! Now off that nest!"

    I did research my breeds, and of the ones available within a reasonable driving distance I went with australorps. When I discovered that 7 of the 8 were boys, I panicked and started scouring kijiji... traded 3 of them for 11 phoenixes! From what I've researched, both the BAs and the phoenixes make good broodies and good moms. The phoenixes are very slow to mature, though, so I'm not counting on any of them getting maternal inclings this year.

    Hedwig, my chantecler/ameracauna x made her first egg yesterday! :yesss: It was so small I thought one of the phoenixes made it but it's way too green and with faint pink speckles :)

    Anyway, back on topic, with the one still-laying red star being who and what she is, I REALLY want to see what I get with her mated by BA! (Maybe a whole new production line that continues laying for more than a year or two!) I tried the incubator thing last winter and it was a disaster (I wasn't set up properly and my husband thinks the roo at the time was infertile) so I'm hesitant to go that route again. Also, it would be SO much easier if the babies were born into the flock rather than having to go through all the extra work at raising them in my office and gradually introducing them to the others later.

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