Question about hen raised chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kida, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Kida

    Kida Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2012
    Weatherford, TX
    How many babies can I expect to hatch per year from a hen? I'm leaning toward Barred Rocks or Buff Orpingtons for eggs and meat and my family go through approx. 70-80 chickens a year; there are 6 in my immediate family and that's not counting the friends and relations that like to just drop by to play with all of the animals and share a meal lol.

    Also if anyone would like to chime in with their favorite dual purpose breed of chicken (a question with no right answer and that has been beaten to death hehe) that will reproduce on their own and do well foraging. We have the space and climate for year round free ranging so I'm not terribly concerned with feed to meat ratio. I just want tasty, meaty birds that lay a fair amount of eggs and don't have any inherent health problems
  2. Cluckspert

    Cluckspert New Egg

    Feb 26, 2013
    I would say you should expect around 80-90% of chicks raised by a mother hen to hatch. Most hens only go broody once or twice a year (I think...) I personally prefer my white leghorns over anything!
  3. Kida

    Kida Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2012
    Weatherford, TX
    Thank you, I haven't looked into leghorns at all because I was attacked by a whole flock of big white chickens (no idea of the breed) when I was little and it took a very cuddly silky several months to get me over my chicken phobia when I was 22 and even still I'm kind of leery around big white chickens but maybe eventually... [​IMG] I'm also still terrified of birds that walk (like ostriches and grackles and such) and my laying hens are under threat of death if they so much as look askance at me lol

    So it looks like I should plan on another 10ish chickens to provide the necessary meat and I might just add a good meaty rooster in with my layers as quite a few of them are listed as dual purpose and cull the ones I don't like as time goes on... I've got barred rock, marans, and australorp; and then the straight layers that I just found beautiful: golden campine, and wellsummer

    I just love when one question opens up a pandora's box of possibilities lol
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you want dependable broodies, I'd have some game hens, silkies or bantam cochins, something like that that's known to go broody. Any hen CAN, it's just that most don't anymore. You can either have high production breeds or broody breeds, they're kinda mutually exclusive.
  5. A broody hen will hatch 10-14 eggs each time she broods! She will brood maybe 6 times each year! Good broody breeds are Buff Orpingtons, Silkies, Black Australorps and ect. Out of 10 eggs maybe 8 will hatch! My hen had 12 eggs 1 struhggled to make it out and died and one did not hatch but 10 successfully hatched!
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2013
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I am promoting the Delewares as dual purpose chickens that were developed as a good meat bird, and good egg layer. I am promoting them, not because I have ever tried them, but because I have them ordered and want some one to do them too!

    You said you have year round free ranging, which I am supposing to mean that you have long days most of the year. I have had several different breeds go broody, BO, BA, and A Cornish. I love raising chicks with a broody hen, to that is nearly the only way I do it. However, up here, I live in sw South Dakota, and I only have hens go broody once a year. I think the day length is too short, because my hens tend to go broody about the same time each year from the end of May to 1st of July. I do not have artificial light, and that is when the days are nearly the longest.

    I think you ought to work your way into getting enough chickens to feed the troups. While I love my flock, and am always playing with them, you kind of have to be careful, or they can get to be a lot of work. The numbers you are talking could be a lot of work.


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