Questions on letting hen hatch eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PearlTheDuck, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. PearlTheDuck

    PearlTheDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking about getting a roo this year and hatching some eggs, I'm not very interested in incubating and would much rather let one of my hens hatch them herself. The only thing is, I know nothing on this subject. I've had chickens and ducks for a year now but am just now thinking about doing this.

    How long will she be on the eggs?
    Does the weather matter?
    How will she get food and water if she's always on the eggs?
    Once they hatch do I take them and care for them in a brooder with a lamp or let them stay outside with her? Or do I put her in the brooder with them?
    If she's alone with the chicks, what about food? How can she get calcium when the chicks are eating starter food?
    How do I know the eggs are fertilized?
    How do I encourage my hens to go broody?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  2. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She will be on her eggs for awhile,about 3 weeks.

    I wold not let them sit in the winter,but it is warming up now that spring is close,so possibly sometime i march or april or even may.

    Most generally,she will go out at least twice a day for food/water,but not all will,you may have to take her out 3 or 2 times a day.

    You may want to sepertae the mother and chicks in a separate pen till the chicks get a few weeks older,just make sure the others can still see the mother and her babies.

    You can always add a container with calcium in it.She does not even really need the calcium because she will not be laying probably until a few weeks after the brood,she may not even lay until she starts running them off.

    There are ways to see if eggs are fertile (candling but Id o not know how to do it,I have tried it but cannot seem to get the hang of it).i do not need any technique because I know for a fact that my rooster breeds just about all my hens,continuously A LOT!

    Be sure your nest box has lots of hay and make them a little dark,hens like privacy when broody.That is all I can think of no way to really enforce it on her.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It takes a chicken egg about 21 days of incubation to hatch.
    Not really....tho better not too hot or too cold.
    She'll get up to eat and drink.
    She is the brooder, she'll keep them warm, no need for a lamp.
    She won't need calcium as she won't lay while brooding the chicks...eating starter will help her get back into condition.
    You can look at yolks when breaking eggs to eat to see if they are fertile:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures
    You can't really 'encourage' a hen to go broody, either she is or she isn't.

    Those are very simple and basic answers to your questions, there are other considerations and variables.
    Read here for more info:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/496101/broody-hen-thread
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017
  4. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy PearlTheDuck

    I agree with everything TheTwoRoos and aart has posted but will give you my responses to your questions also as I was already typing them [​IMG]

    How long will she be on the eggs?
    20-21 days is the average hatch time.

    Does the weather matter?
    Hens can and have raised chicks in the middle of winter but with your Spring coming, I agree that it is probably worth waiting that bit longer.

    How will she get food and water if she's always on the eggs?
    Broody hens usually take a break at least once or twice a day to stretch their legs, get something to eat and drink and drop a rather nasty on the olfactory receptors, huge broody poop.

    I have a broody hen who did not get this memo and I have to take her off the nest twice a day or she would sit there for days on end without a break [​IMG]

    Once they hatch do I take them and care for them in a brooder with a lamp or let them stay outside with her? Or do I put her in the brooder with them?
    I definitely opt for leaving the bubs with mumma. If she is a good mumma she will protect them, keep them warm and teach them everything they need to know. I will never tire of watching a mumma hen raise her babies; so, so adorable!

    Some people leave the broody hen in with the flock and the chicks are raised in the flock also. Unfortunately, my flock dynamics do not allow this and I give my broody hens their own area to hatch and raise their little ones. However, you will then have to integrate her and any littles ones you keep back into the flock when the time comes.

    If she's alone with the chicks, what about food? How can she get calcium when the chicks are eating starter food?
    As mentioned, she will not lay eggs while she is brooding. She will be fine eating the starter food with the bubs.

    How do I know the eggs are fertilized?
    If you are wanting to know if your rooster is doing his job, crack open a couple of eggs and check for the bulls eye. Google has many images on the difference between fertile and non fertile eggs.

    If you want to know if the eggs are developing under the hen, then I agree that candling is the way to go.

    How do I encourage my hens to go broody?
    Broodiness is hormone based so, technically, you can not make a hen go broody. Some breeds never go broody and others are renown for their broodiness.

    Some people say that leaving eggs in the nest might encourage them to brood but you would still need to have a hen prone to going broody.

    Broody hens was a Topic of the Week and you may find this thread helpful: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1137969/topic-of-the-week-broody-hens

    Best wishes!
     
  5. PearlTheDuck

    PearlTheDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Texas







    Thanks! You have all been very helpful!

    I'm pretty sure I'll be hatching this spring!

    What are some known broody chicken breeds? Aren't buff orpingtons known to go broody?
     
  6. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bantams tend to go broody (Cochin bantams are very kniwn for this.)Any hen can go broody but it is extremely mire prone in some.I have a barnyard mix hen who gies broody every year,usually towards ending of spring ir early summer.

    I have only had 2 buffs and never have had thwm broody,but thats two outta a hole entire world of buffs.
     
  7. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a bantam hen who is some tyoe if mix,probabaly if a feathered breed,she has small feathers on her legs.She has routine broodiness.She sits for 3 or so weeks,milts,lays for about a wekk or 2 then sits,its a process.
     
  8. darlenem

    darlenem New Egg

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    My bantam silkies go broody about every 45 days. It's frustrating when you want eggs, but if you want a broody breed - they fit the bill!
     

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