When should I decide to incubate?

Kariann

Chirping
Jul 5, 2021
41
16
54
Tennessee
Hello!
I have a Blue Mug rooster (Elvis) and a Peacomb Hatch hen (Priscilla) . And, they're making eggs. Because of their value, I hope to hatch and sell their young ones to help the cost of my little backyard farm (I also have a pair of guineas, 9 hens, and 1 roo that are not game. For now, I sell the chicken eggs, but may hatch come spring, if there is a desire for what I have. Come spring, I want to hatch 2 duck eggs.). Prissy has 4 eggs in one location, it has been several days to accumulate them. There may be more mixed in with some of my other hen's eggs, because there are 3 locations with a total of 10 large white eggs. Since I can't tell which are hers and which aren't, I plan to let them all hatch. The question is, how many days do I let eggs just accumulate before I have to put them in an incubator to hatch them before they die? Google has too many different answers, from 7 days to a month, so I'm asking you guys! Of course, I would rather nature hatch them. But, no one is sitting on them. I'm assuming that Prissy will eventually sit on one of the clutches (I know which one is definitely hers.)? At what point do I collect them all up and try out my new incubator?
 

Smileybans

Crowing
Nov 13, 2020
1,478
3,267
286
Upstate New York
Any time you want really. Or when you have enough to fill your incubator. I’ve hatched out eggs over a month old. But the longer you wait the rate of hatchability goes down for those eggs. The best way, I’ve found, to store eggs for hatching is in an area that stays around 68F. My kitchen stays this temp so that’s where I keep mine. Make sure to rotate the eggs every day while you’re waiting to incubate. Again I’ve had eggs hatch where I didn’t do this and they were more than two weeks old. But doing it helps with your hatchrate.
 

Kariann

Chirping
Jul 5, 2021
41
16
54
Tennessee
Any time you want really. Or when you have enough to fill your incubator. I’ve hatched out eggs over a month old. But the longer you wait the rate of hatchability goes down for those eggs. The best way, I’ve found, to store eggs for hatching is in an area that stays around 68F. My kitchen stays this temp so that’s where I keep mine. Make sure to rotate the eggs every day while you’re waiting to incubate. Again I’ve had eggs hatch where I didn’t do this and they were more than two weeks old. But doing it helps with your hatchratet

Any time you want really. Or when you have enough to fill your incubator. I’ve hatched out eggs over a month old. But the longer you wait the rate of hatchability goes down for those eggs. The best way, I’ve found, to store eggs for hatching is in an area that stays around 68F. My kitchen stays this temp so that’s where I keep mine. Make sure to rotate the eggs every day while you’re waiting to incubate. Again I’ve had eggs hatch where I didn’t do this and they were more than two weeks old. But doing it helps with your hatchrate.
Thank you!
I have not turned the eggs that are definitely Prissy's, because they are hard to reach. I haven't purposely turned the others, but I have moved them a wee bit when counting, and whoever is adding eggs to the other 2 locations is moving them around, so, I think they're being turned naturally.
Thing is, I would much rather a hen (Prissy or any of the others, but the others are young (about 24 weeks old) and I'm not sure that any of them will go broody enough this round.) hatch the eggs. So, I keep hoping to find a clutch being sat on and am prepared to have food and water placed next to it when I do.
How long do I wait and hope a hen will handle it before I turn to the incubator? I'd rather a hen do it naturally, but would rather incubate if I have to before they die.
 

Smileybans

Crowing
Nov 13, 2020
1,478
3,267
286
Upstate New York
Thank you!
I have not turned the eggs that are definitely Prissy's, because they are hard to reach. I haven't purposely turned the others, but I have moved them a wee bit when counting, and whoever is adding eggs to the other 2 locations is moving them around, so, I think they're being turned naturally.
Thing is, I would much rather a hen (Prissy or any of the others, but the others are young (about 24 weeks old) and I'm not sure that any of them will go broody enough this round.) hatch the eggs. So, I keep hoping to find a clutch being sat on and am prepared to have food and water placed next to it when I do.
How long do I wait and hope a hen will handle it before I turn to the incubator? I'd rather a hen do it naturally, but would rather incubate if I have to before they die.
I try not to wait for hens to go broody. It’s so unpredictable when they will. I have two broody now and I wish they weren’t. Trying to break them was not working though. One is a silkie so I understand her constant need to brood. But the other is a marans and has been broody twice this year already. They’re both under a year old. How old is Prissy and has she been broody before?

Honestly you can put them into the incubator once you feel like you have a big enough clutch, then if a hen goes broody finish the hatch under her. I’ve done that a couple times with my silkies.
 

Kariann

Chirping
Jul 5, 2021
41
16
54
Tennessee
I try not to wait for hens to go broody. It’s so unpredictable when they will. I have two broody now and I wish they weren’t. Trying to break them was not working though. One is a silkie so I understand her constant need to brood. But the other is a marans and has been broody twice this year already. They’re both under a year old. How old is Prissy and has she been broody before?

Honestly you can put them into the incubator once you feel like you have a big enough clutch, then if a hen goes broody finish the hatch under her. I’ve done that a couple times with my silkies.
Prissy is a little over a year (per the guy I got her from). Since she and Elvis (and older fella, not sure of his age but the guy who gave him to me said he was happy to find a nice place for the ol boy to retire. He's still young enough to run around, act a fool, protect his girl, and mate any hen he can catch, lol) are fame birds, they free range all day and roost in the trees at night. My (domesticated? Is that the word?) flock free ranges by day and sleep in the coop at night. Anyway, I do not know if Priss has gone broody before, or not. The guy said she's a broody breed by nature and would likely sit on eggs left by other hens. This has not happened, yet.

Thanks for the suggestion that I can start incubation and move the eggs under a hen if I see her going broody. I hadn't thought of that!

My incubator holds 36 eggs, there are currently 10 between the three locations. So, I'm not worried about how many eggs to gather before turning to the incubator as much as I am about turning to the incubator because the eggs have been laid long enough to die otherwise.

I guess I just want to wait as long as I can, because 1. I really want to experience nature doing its thing and it would be easier on my mind because cooler weather may be coming, and 2. May as well have as many eggs as there can be if I do incubate, because I can't add eggs to the incubator once it has started (I know it's not impossible to do that, but this is my first time and I just want to do a basic run to learn how it works before I complicate things with varying hatch dates.)

So, you say that about 2 weeks for the oldest egg, and then I should just go ahead and gather and incubate however many are around at that time?

(Forgive me if I ask the same question in 500 different ways, I have AI that causes confusion and I just want to be sure I understand!)
 

Smileybans

Crowing
Nov 13, 2020
1,478
3,267
286
Upstate New York
Prissy is a little over a year (per the guy I got her from). Since she and Elvis (and older fella, not sure of his age but the guy who gave him to me said he was happy to find a nice place for the ol boy to retire. He's still young enough to run around, act a fool, protect his girl, and mate any hen he can catch, lol) are fame birds, they free range all day and roost in the trees at night. My (domesticated? Is that the word?) flock free ranges by day and sleep in the coop at night. Anyway, I do not know if Priss has gone broody before, or not. The guy said she's a broody breed by nature and would likely sit on eggs left by other hens. This has not happened, yet.

Thanks for the suggestion that I can start incubation and move the eggs under a hen if I see her going broody. I hadn't thought of that!

My incubator holds 36 eggs, there are currently 10 between the three locations. So, I'm not worried about how many eggs to gather before turning to the incubator as much as I am about turning to the incubator because the eggs have been laid long enough to die otherwise.

I guess I just want to wait as long as I can, because 1. I really want to experience nature doing its thing and it would be easier on my mind because cooler weather may be coming, and 2. May as well have as many eggs as there can be if I do incubate, because I can't add eggs to the incubator once it has started (I know it's not impossible to do that, but this is my first time and I just want to do a basic run to learn how it works before I complicate things with varying hatch dates.)

So, you say that about 2 weeks for the oldest egg, and then I should just go ahead and gather and incubate however many are around at that time?

(Forgive me if I ask the same question in 500 different ways, I have AI that causes confusion and I just want to be sure I understand!)
Yes about two weeks for the oldest egg. That’s the drop off point for most eggs. After two weeks it get harder to get any of them to hatch.

If you want to sell the pairs chicks as chicks it’s better to use an incubator anyway. If you have a hen brood them she is going to be very protective of the chicks and want to raise them. I think taking away her newly hatched chicks might mess with her.
 

Kariann

Chirping
Jul 5, 2021
41
16
54
Tennessee
Yes about two weeks for the oldest egg. That’s the drop off point for most eggs. After two weeks it get harder to get any of them to hatch.

If you want to sell the pairs chicks as chicks it’s better to use an incubator anyway. If you have a hen brood them she is going to be very protective of the chicks and want to raise them. I think taking away her newly hatched chicks might mess with her.
Thank you so much for your time! Finally, a straight and easy to understand answer! I'll spend the next few days learning my incubator and setting alrlarms for the things I'll have to do during the cycle. By then, I'll grab up all of the eggs that are out and set them up.
I really appreciate you!
 

Silexian

Songster
Jul 1, 2020
210
531
143
Northeast Missouri
Actually, if Prissy is the hen you are hatching high dollar chicks from. I would collect and set every egg from her. In the incubator. To get as many chicks as possible. Before she stops laying.
 

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