what are the best brood hens

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by canaan, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. canaan

    canaan In the Brooder

    Jan 19, 2009
    hi... i know that silkies are supposed to be good, but:

    A) what are some other breeds that are also good at incubating?

    B) how would you go about incubating eggs that you want to be purebred - that are not from the silkie or other brooder?

    i was thinking you section off the rooster and a couple hens so that you know the eggs are fertile... but do you then remove the rooster and put the brood hens in to the breeding pen to cover the eggs?? or what? i am trying to avoid too many mutts...

    i am not sure on this... i have 18 hens now, (no silkies) all about a year or less. was thinking of breeding some this spring.


  2. okiehen

    okiehen Songster

    Oct 25, 2007
    I like the American Game hen, wonderful Mommy's.
    If and when a hen goes broody, I put the eggs I want her to hatch out under her.
    If you have 3 or 4 hens and a rooster of the same breed together collect your eggs from them after you have a hen that has gone broody. I have had hens set for 4 or 5 days on fake eggs them set her with the good ones and she's good to go.
    I have a place to keep broody away from the other chickens while she is setting and raising her/ my chicks.
    Hope this helps. And welcome to BYC
  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    Silkie, Cochin, Game Birds are the obvious choice. In standards, Orpingtons are good broodies. You can keep your rooster with the hens you want to be pure and remove the eggs till you have enough and set them under a broody when she takes a notion to sit. If you have standard breeds and you keep Cochins or Silkies as brooding birds, you will know the eggs due to size. I would not recommend letting a standard rooster stay with the banty hens, however, they can do lots of damage to the smaller hens. If you have enough larger hens it may not be a problem but it is not a good idea.

    If you want to keep all large hens, Orpingtons will set and raise the baby chicks and you don't have to worry about separation or who's eggs are who's.
  4. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    A lot of bantams are good brooders: Cochins, Old English Game, Japs, etc. They can brood whatever you put under them. Of the large fowl: Cochins and Americana/Aracana/EEs and Game birds are all supposed to be broody.

    You will need to isolate your breeders to ensure you get the cross you want. Keep in mind hens can store rooster sperm in a special duct for a few weeks, so you'd need to make sure no other rooster was around your hens for a few weeks prior to you mating them to the rooster you want them to breed with.

    Welcome to BYC!

  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Well, any hen CAN go broody. but some are more likely to than others. My best broodies have been New Hampshire Reds, but I've had good luck with Rhode Island Reds too... I've had mutts of any number of crosses be great mama's and good setters. Here's the Henderson's chart that gives lots of info about such things. http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html I honestly don't think I'd go for Silkies right off as mama's, they're smallish, can't set on many eggs and I like a good hardy hen who can stand up to both Roos and the bossy hens at the top of the pecking order in a flock, both in protecting their eggs/nest and after they hatch, the chix.

    As far as making sure the eggs are fertile, if the roo is busy with your hens in general, and you check the eggs seeing one is fertile from a hen, well, the hen will be fertile for any number of eggs for the next couple weeks at least. All the eggs in her 'production line' will be fertile.

    You can keep whoever broods the eggs wherever you think best, in or out of the main coop or in a sepererate pen, and wherever they are most comfortable, with or without the roo being around. If your broody is doing her job, she'll do it with or without the roo around, in fact he might make her feel safer if he's not an obnoxious thing.

    [edit] Oh, and if you have more than one roo, you have to isolate the hen away from any other roosters for (standard thought is) one month, because she keeps the semen from any who cover her for from 2 - 4 weeks otherwise.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009

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