when to go broody

Discussion in 'Hatch-A-Longs' started by Josh Small, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. Josh Small

    Josh Small Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2016
    I have got 3 hens and they have started laying 2 weeks ago when is the best time to make her start hatching egg.
     
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    First of all, if you don't have a rooster you aren't getting chicks. And you can't "make" a chicken go broody - it's strictly a hormone thing and as a general rule 2 weeks into laying isn't nearly enough time for her to get all of her egg laying assembly line working without a few kinks along the way.

    So I'm afraid that you have a few adjustments to make before your chickens will set eggs. Broodiness is a long process, and a hen can certainly go broody without a rooster, but no chicks will result. You'll know she's broody when she refuses to come off the nest 24/7 and stops laying. But without fertile eggs to sit on, she's just going to make herself sick because she won't be eating much, won't drink as much as she normally would, and will only get off the nest in very short bursts, pooping a huge "broody poop" maybe once a day. A broody hen will sit on anything - apples, golf balls, other hen's eggs, even on an empty nest.

    I wouldn't recommend a rooster with only 3 hens....they will be over-mated to the point of danger to them. The rooster/hen ratio is off. If one of your girls does go broody (and again, she doesn't need a rooster for those hormones to get going but she does need him for fertilized eggs) you can find places to buy fertilized eggs to set under her.

    Good luck, congrats on those first eggs, and welcome to BYC!
     
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  3. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Got your message asking about egg size and hatching. The straight answer is yes and no. Huge, double yolkers are seldom successful because there are usually 2 embryos. Everything goes well at first, but as the chicks mature there is less room inside the egg for proper hatch positioning and the air they need as they pip internally. A few people have reported successful twins, but the chicks had to be assisted, which brings on a whole other set of issues itself.

    The egg usually matches the size of the chicken that laid it. HOWEVER, you can give fertilized full sized eggs (duck, turkey, or chicken) to a broody bantam and as long as she can cover them, she'll happily hatch them. The same is true in reverse...a standard sized bird will hatch Bantam eggs as well. Remember that once a hen goes broody, she completely stops laying. So she'll sit on whatever eggs she finds. Again, as I said before, without a rooster, though you will not need to worry about egg sizes - none of the eggs will be fertile unless you buy fertile eggs for the broody.
     
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