What is the danger of not collecting eggs for a month to let my chickens hatch?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by madditremaine, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. madditremaine

    madditremaine Out Of The Brooder

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    I want to breed my chickens next spring (they aren't old enough yet) but I can never tell which eggs are fertilized and which are not. I'm thinking of not collecting eggs for a couple of months and letting them sit on them to hatch and the ones that won't hatch I'll just chuck, so that I can breed. The only problem is that I lose a lot of eggs. I was wondering if there was a easier way to do this. I also DO NOT want to buy chicks, I just want to hatch them. New things like this are fun for me. I also think it would be fun to let the moms do some of the work. :D Please help! Thanks!

    Maddi
     
  2. tamberchick

    tamberchick Out Of The Brooder

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    They'll most likely be fertile if you have a rooster, if you don't, don't leave them under your hens. And also, the hens wont hatch eggs unless they are broody, which happens when they want it too. Good luck!
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    You are wasting good eggs with this plan. And certainly, even if an egg was fertile, and if the hen decided to go broody, an egg that was a month old would not hatch. If her clutch contains too many eggs, you run the risk that NONE of them will hatch, even if they are fairly new, because she won't be able to cover all of them, and as eggs get rotated from the warm center to the cold outer area of the nest, the outside ones will die, so by the time 21 days have passed, they'll all be dead. Your best bet is to continue to collect your eggs, and then if one of your hens goes broody (which you'll definitely know for sure) you can give her a reasonable sized clutch of fresh fertile eggs to hatch.
     
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  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you might be over simplifying the concept of letting chickens raise their own chicks.

    Firstly, many hens will never go broody and hatch and raise chicks no matter how many eggs are left uncollected.
    Some breeds are more likely to become "mother hens" than others.

    Secondly, when a hen does go broody and starts to incubate a clutch of eggs, you want them to be less than two weeks old. Then you need to make sure no other eggs can be laid in that nest, or mark the eggs that are under her and remove any others that are laid in the nest, on a regular basis, otherwise you will end up with a staggered hatch and also the risk of eggs being broken as other chickens climb on and off the nest and potentially contaminating the hatching eggs. Eggs can also go rotten and explode making a real mess of the other eggs in the nest. This is much more likely if some of the eggs in the nest are a lot older than others when the broody starts to sit on them.

    Just not collecting the eggs for a few weeks/months could be a bit of a disaster in my opinion, especially if you keep the hens in a run, where they'll be trying to hatch in communal nest boxes. If they are free range then they may at least have space to find/make their own nest, somewhere they are not going to be disturbed by other hens wanting to lay eggs in the same nest whilst they are "setting". but then of course, they are at risk from predators.

    I think perhaps you need to gain a little more experience of chicken keeping before you think of going into business, if that is indeed your plan.

    Best wishes

    Barbara

    Edited to add....Just seen that lazy gardener has posted some very good advice whilst I was typing out mine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. Naser

    Naser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a simple plan for the inexperienced:
    Buy 6 or 7 dummy eggs.
    Collect all the eggs they lay.
    Leave the dummy eggs in a nesting box
    Buy a small incubator.
    when one of the hens get broody, put the eggs in the incubator and leave her sitting on the dummy eggs.
    When the chicks start "piping" and hatching. put them under her at night
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2015
  7. madditremaine

    madditremaine Out Of The Brooder

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    I just had a revelation. I think I'll buy eggs online, mark them, and put them under my broody hens. Eat the ones I'm not sure are actually fertilized, and put the marked ones, that I KNOW are fertilized under her. Then I don't have a whole lot of un-fertilized eggs, or, as you said, exploding rotten eggs. Yeuch.....So thank you! That was awesome of you to mention it. I hadn't thought about it. Thanks! Maddi
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Maddi, it's a plan, but I think you are missing one very important part that the others have tried to point out so well. You can't do anything unless your girls are already broody. Period. Nothing is going to MAKE them go broody just because you are ready. The only way to be absolutely sure that an egg is fertile is to crack it open - and then obviously that one can't go under the hen. Other than than you can't really tell anything until the embryo has developed enough to candle, and you sure won't eat one of those! You also need to be aware that using shipped eggs come with their own set of problems.....they may all be fertile, but shipping is not kind to them. Some get scrambled in the shell, some air cells detach and never reattach, and some just can't develop. While this is also true of eggs that a hen lays after a rooster has been, um, active, it's a huge problem with shipped eggs. I ordered 12 eggs, got 15, and only one hatched. One. And the hen that I put those eggs under had been broody, actively, obviously broody, for a couple of weeks before I ordered them. She sat the whole time, did exactly what broodies do, and got one baby out of 15. Not good odds.

    I know that impatience is a trait that I share with you. I get an idea and no amount of persuasion, no obstacle, no advice - not even a dose of common sense - can sway me. Give me an argument for or against something and I'll come up with 10 excuses to continue on my own way. But that doesn't apply to living creatures. Trying to make them do something they aren't physically ready for just because I want something isn't the right thing to do. Asking a hen to raise a brood of chicks is asking a lot from her....21 days of sitting, eating and drinking only rarely, sometimes not even leaving her nest to poop for days on end, is tough enough on her even though her hormones are telling her that's what she needs to do. She sure isn't going to go through all of that simply because you ordered eggs and marked them.

    I'm glad that your chickens are still young. You have plenty of time to research more thoroughly what you want to accomplish. You have lots of time to learn more about raising what you already have. And you have time to spend some time making sure that when the day finally arrives and you have a lady who is telling you in no uncertain terms that it's time for her to raise a family - RIGHT NOW - then you'll be armed with as much information as possible to make the entire thing go as smoothly as possible for you, the broody, and the chicks. Good Luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. madditremaine

    madditremaine Out Of The Brooder

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    I am SO gratful for the tip on buying eggs. THANK YOU!!! I had no idea! Also, I will keep in mind that I can't reverse nature. ;D thank you!
     
  10. madditremaine

    madditremaine Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah, I knew. I wouldn't leave them if she weren't broody. Bad idea! I DO NOT want exploding eggs in my nesting boxes. Euchhh! [​IMG]
     

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