Questions About Hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by BullardBarnyard, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. BullardBarnyard

    BullardBarnyard Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 10, 2012
    Hi, everybody! My mom wants baby chicks, and to be honest so do I. But it's starting to chill. We don't have an incubator, we'd like to do it naturally. So, I need a walk through.
    1. Do you just put the hen in with the rooster, and how can you tell if she 'took'?
    2. What do you look for when candling eggs?
    3. I read somewhere that it takes 3 days worth of eggs for them to start becoming fertile.
    4. Does she go broody when bred, or do we have to wait for her go broody.
    5. How much will the cold affect them? The chicken coop is small, nothing special. You can stand tall in it and walk a couple feet to the other side with 14 chickens in there, plus a yard. (That bit of information had to do with how the body heat would effect them. )
    Soooo? Tips and answers please!![​IMG]
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You tell whether the egg is fertile by looking for the bullseye on the yolk. Here's a good thread about this, with good pics:

    This is linked from the sticky (blue box at the top of the forum) in incubating and hatching eggs. You will also find good info there about candling -- a lot more than I know, as I've never done it.

    3 days is probably about the earliest you will get a fertile bullseye; I'd wait a little longer, myself. Also, sometimes you get a roo who can't seem to get the job done, or the roo and hen are too different in size, or the hen has too fluffy a butt, among other things, so the surest way to learn whether you are getting fertile eggs is to crack one from each hen and see a bullseye.

    You have to wait for her to go broody -- which to a great extent depends on the breed. It's a hormone change. They will also stop laying while broody. Many breeds rarely go broody, especially if they are hatchery birds. Certain breeds like Silkie, Kraenkoppe and Old English Game are much more likely to go broody. However, they are individuals in the end, and you will occasionally get a broody in a supposedly non broody breed such as Leghorn. You can go to our breeds section and select for broodiness to find out which breeds are most likely. Henderson's also has this information.

    Once you have a broody (stays on the nest 24/7 except for brief exercise) you might want to collect hatching eggs on your counter, turn them once or twice a day, and mark them with a Sharpie. Then put them under her all at once, so they will hatch about the same time. If they have staggered hatch dates. the mama will probably abandon the later eggs to take care of the new chicks.

    The mama hen provides all the heat her chicks need, even in cool weather. However, they are more likely to go broody in the spring.

    Good luck!

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