Wanting to let hen hatch her own eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by stephensc7146, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. stephensc7146

    stephensc7146 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2012
    Southeastern, Ohio
    I would like to have my hens hatch their own eggs, but will be VERY new to this when the time comes, so I have a few questions.

    Question 1: I am getting 27 standard sized chickens, I would like to allow one nesting box for 'hatching' only. Just leave any eggs laid in one particular box to be hatched naturally. That way I can have new babies, and still collect any eggs that the other 26 will be leaving in the other boxes. Is this a possibility?

    Question 2: If question one IS possible, Do I have to watch for a hen to go broody before I stop collecting eggs from a box? Or just place some eggs under her and hope she stays put?

    Question 3: again, if #1 is possible, should I separate the 'hatching' box away from the nesting boxes I plan to be collecting from?

    Any information on natural hatching will be greatly appreciated! I have plenty of time for research but from all the good advice i've had in the past from BYC, I'm going to start with all of you :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Angiebubs

    Angiebubs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2011
    Amery, WI WI/MN border
     
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  3. Becci

    Becci Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2012
    AL
    I'm hoping I read all of that correctly.

    If the hens have access to the 'hatching' box, they will lay eggs there whether they plan on hatching or not. You'll need to collect all eggs daily. If eggs are left to pile up, the hens will eventually end up accidentally breaking one, eating the contents and often times that is how egg-eaters get their awful habit. If you wanted to leave eggs in the nests to encourage broodiness, use fake eggs or golf balls, not real eggs.

    If you see a hen showing signs of being broody, take any real eggs she may be sitting on, replace them with fake eggs/golf balls and wait a few days. If she continues to sit on the fake eggs over the next few days without constantly getting up or roosting with the other birds, you can replace the fake eggs with real eggs.

    Not everyone separates their broodies from the flock, but I always do. I've never had a successful hatch when I leave the chicks and momma with the main flock.

    The other hens end up laying eggs in the same nest box, the broody rolls them underneath her and this creates a staggered hatch, or, a disaster under a broody. (Sure, marking the hatching eggs will solve this problem.)

    Or, the other hens fight over the nest boxes and the developing eggs end up cracked....

    Or the chicks hatch, and end up being murdered by the other hens.

    So we have a little 'hutch', with a nesting area and a small run that we relocate our broodies to. Something like a dog crate inside the coop works perfect for a 'hatching area'. That way you're not actually taking the hen out of the flock, and reintroducing her won't be a pain, considering she can still see and socialize with the other birds.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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