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What To Expect When Hen Is Expecting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jan336, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Jan336

    Jan336 Songster

    Being a newbie, of course I have a lot of questions. My main concern is my Black Sex Link Hen should begin laying any time now. I think she is about 20-21 weeks old. (give or take) What should I expect? [​IMG]

    1. Will she show any signs of preparing to lay? (She has already blossomed red around her face: Comb, lobes, etc.)
    2. Does she need to sit on the eggs for the 21 days until hatch?
    3. Should I get an incubator or let hen do the work?
    4. Do I need to be concerned with the Dorking roosters around?
    5. Any other much needed advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Usually hens will start squatting a week or several before they lay.

    If you use the search bar on this website you might be able to read some older threads on setting hens - "broody hen". Or "going broody."

    From what I have read on this message board, most folks say to let them set on eggs when they have been laying for awhile, since the first eggs will be small. You might want to research this using the search bar...sorry I can't tell you more!

    I don't know what you mean about the Dorking roos. Do you mean that you might want to put the hen in a separate hutch or coop when she sets?
  3. Jan336

    Jan336 Songster

    Quote:I don't know what you mean about the Dorking roos. Do you mean that you might want to put the hen in a separate hutch or coop when she sets?

    Do I need to separate the rooster from the eggs, hen or chicks? Is there any damage a rooster can do? Do Dorking Roosters typically target eggs or chicks? I thought I read that some where?
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have read many a BYC'er's post about how they recommend protecting the broody hen from other chickens while she sits and hatches out her chicks. Hens can be mean to other hens when they are sitting on eggs. I wouldn't trust a rooster for anything.

    If the mother turns out to be laid back and not a very good protector, those chicks are toast.

    Since I have no experience with it, that's all I can tell you!!

    Still, here are some nice threads that might help while you wait for more responses:
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Quote:Some chickens mature later, so 5 mo. of age can be early for some to reach sexual maturation. A Black Star usually matures around 5-6 mo. of age but this isn't engraved in stone.

    I'm not sure about your second question....if I read it correctly, do you think that as soon as they start to lay that they sit on the eggs for hatching? If you do, then you should probably know that hens only sit on eggs for hatching them out when they are "broody", which means certain hormones are sending this bird into a maternal cycle during which they lay a clutch of eggs and sit on them for the 21-22 days until they hatch.

    A Black Sex link is not a real broody breed, but it could happen, I guess. Not usual for a young pullet to start going broody as soon as they start laying though, particularly the breed you have.

    Do you want young chicks when they DO go broody? If you do, the first time around it may be easier if you let the hen do the work so you can just enjoy the babies. If you are new at it, incubating eggs can be a little stressful. Chicks have a greater chance of survival being brooded and raised by a hen, so you could have the joy of watching that wonderful process without the worry of the humidity level of your incubation, temp fluctuations, etc.

    Your roos should not interfere with sexual maturation of your hens unless you have too many roos per hens, at which time the constant breeding from many roos may keep your hens too stressed to lay.

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