Questions about laying hens and hatching hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 43longtime, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. 43longtime

    43longtime New Egg

    Jan 1, 2013
    I have been thinking about raising my chickens for eggs and babies. The only thing I don't want fertile eggs for eating. I was woundering if it would be a good idea to keep some chickens on one side of the coop for eggs and one for babies making 2 runs and splitting the coop by chicken wire?
    Any ideas how to keep them?
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    That sounds like it would work as long as the egg producing hens stay in their run and don't free range with a rooster.

    Although the idea of eating a fertilized egg may be disturbing to some, they are virtually indistinguishable from fertilized eggs as long as they are collected daily like most of us collect our eggs any how.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I'd challenge you to discern the difference between fertile and non fertile eggs, first. With non commercial eggs you're going to get meat spots and funky things in your eggs and fertility has nothing to do with that.

    That said, a hen's supposed to store sperm for up to 2 weeks after mating with a rooster. So, put the hens you want to hatch from in with the roo, collect those eggs for hatching, then seperate them and use the eggs for eating. Although, it's going to suck for your rooster to be seperated from his hens all the time. You could just keep some hens in with the roo all the time, but in reality you're only going to hatch so many eggs and what are you going to do, throw the fertile eggs away just cause you don't want to eat them? I guess I just don't see the big deal with eating fertile eggs, folks eat them all the time.

    Do you have someplace to house the roosters you hatch out, or a plan to manage them?
  4. 43longtime

    43longtime New Egg

    Jan 1, 2013
    The main reason we are going to keep them separate is my wife does not want to kill baby chickens and that is what she thinks we would be doing if we ate fertile eggs. We plan on selling the baby chickens most of them anyway.
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    In order to get chicks, one must have a roo + hen + heat. A fertilized egg is in suspension, and will not form a chick until about 24 hours of continuous warm heat has been applied. This allows a hen to lay an egg a day in a nest, and when the nest gets full enough to suit her, she will begin to set. All of the eggs will hatch at the same time, as they all began to grow at the same time, they wait for the heat. She is not in danger of eating a partially formed chick. Chickens themselves are not interested in the eggs, fertilized or not until they have enough daylight hours, and the stars line up so that they are broody. I spend the spring praying for a broody hen!

    That being said, I don't know that I will change anyone's mind.

    However, if you want to hatch chicks with a broody hen, you will need a roo with the hens most of the time, as no one knows when a broody hen WILL go broody, and one must have the eggs ready when she does.

    If you want to hatch chicks all year long, in an incubator, well, you could do the set up, you suggested, but I am going to tell you it is not natural to the chickens or the flock, and they will try an thwart this plan every chance they get. They will not like being separated, and roo will really not like it.

    If you want to hatch just at specific times of the year, you could probably borrow a roo, and have your wife eat store bought eggs while you are waiting.

    But really it is a lot of messing around for no real reason.

    1 person likes this.
  6. applegal

    applegal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2011
    Well said MrsK. 43Longtime- Storey's Guide to Chickens goes into detail with information on breeding and egg development that may help with your dilemma. Good Luck!
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    Unless you are using an incubator, and have enough 'bators that you always have an empty one, what are you going to do with the fertile eggs that you can't hatch? You won't always have a broody ready at just the right time because it takes a hormonal shift in the chicken and you can't make that happen. And the eggs under a broody or in an incubator all have to be set on the same day.

    This means that you'll be throwing out eggs that are fertile but non-viable due to getting too old. What's better, to throw them away or to eat them?
  8. tadpole98

    tadpole98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2012
    you would not be eating baby chickens, worry not.

    but, i was like her at first, thinking the same thing.

    your double pen would work, as long as the rooster cant get to the others, lol
  9. skookumchuck

    skookumchuck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 11, 2012
    Jefferson City, MO
    Collect the eggs everyday and just eat them. They are not baby chickens untill they are incubated so the only diference is they are viable or not viable hatching eggs. I keep my Roo with the hens all the time he likes his ladies and works to keep them safe. I believe it is more natural for the Roo to be with the hens. And I love the Roo crowing in the morning it just feels right.
  10. fenceman48

    fenceman48 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 13, 2011
    Senoia, Ga
    I have to agree with most of the others. Although if your wife thinks she is eating a baby chicken by eating an egg that may be fertilized, then maybe hatching & raising chickens isn't your thing. Another hobby maybe should be in order. Does she not eat beef because the cow may have been pregnant when slaughtered?? To me, that is a non issue. As long as you're not eating eggs that have been incubated, either mechanically or naturally, then eggs are eggs.
    1 person likes this.

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