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#78963 - 02/20/09 12:21 PM I want chicks!
Saraa Offline
New Egg

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Minnesota
I'm very new to having chickens and I don't know all the terminology or what breeds of chickens I have. I have a black and white spotted rooster and a nice looking all black hen with a short red comb. They are pets for us, and our hen lays a very healthy looking egg everyday. I've only had her about a year, and she went through one stage of brooding in the Fall. We would really like some baby chicks for this summer. After reading through some of the other posts, I see that you can't make a hen lay on her eggs, the timimg needs to be right with the brooding, and it depends on what breed of chicken you have. I bought a little incubator and tried that last year with no luck. Do you think we will be able to have some chicks?

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#78964 - 02/20/09 12:45 PM Re: I want chicks!
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
If she went broody last fall (sat in the nest, eggs or no eggs-- and squealed or fluffed up when you visited her and did not get off the nest overnight), she will likely go broody again.

However, she must lay a "clutch" of eggs first, then goes into a hormone change and becomes broody and SETS (or SITS). Each hen has her own number of eggs for a "clutch". It might be 10-15 eggs OR it might be 30-40 eggs.
So, obviously you do not want to leave her eggs in the nest--as the first laid eggs would no longer be fertile, and she must not have too many eggs to cover completely and safely. There is a few weeks break between going broody (hatching or not) and the system get ready for another laying session.

Date each egg she lays, save it in an egg carton on your kitchen counter. When the carton is full, start using the older eggs and add new ones as they are dated and laid. When she SETS, you will have a dozen of the freshest eggs to put under her (at night is easiest to avoid upsetting her. They will be warm by morning and she will feel comfortable about a nest of warm eggs!) MARK that date on your calendar--and start getting chick equipment ready for 21 days later. Some believe a hen will set sooner, if you leave the eggs in her nest as she lays them. Not necessarily, Mother Nature chooses the timing--but if it will make you feel good, date, leave the last egg in the nest--and take it out when the next egg is laid--add it to the egg carton in the kitchen.

You will be on your way to chicks--and not to worry about early hatch! It is still WINTER in MN, and it will be easier all around, if she sets and hatches a little later! Good luck, CJR


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