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#79210 - 05/27/07 11:55 AM Wanting Baby Chicks

I have 13 hens and one rooster. I am completely new at this so your help is very much appreciated. I have been getting anywhere from 6-8 eggs a day. I want to let a few of those eggs go to see if we would be able to have chicks. But my hens seem to be laying in just 2 boxes. So what do I need to do that way I can save 5 eggs but the rest of the hens keep on producing? I don't have a incubator so that isn't a option at the moment. How can I let mother nature take it's course without stopping other hens from producing eggs?

#79211 - 05/27/07 12:33 PM Re: Wanting Baby Chicks
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
You cannot, this is all in the rhythm of Mother Nature!!

You cannot MAKE a hen set and hatch eggs-her own or others. It is bred in, and she will lay X number of eggs before she becomes "broody".

You cannot stop hens from laying!! And you cannot stop hens from laying in the same nest boxes!! (Wouldn't you like to crawl into a warm bed?)

You must know the BREED of chickens you have. Some are non-setter-breeds--makes no difference if they are laying fertile eggs, some breeds will never become broody.

If you do have a breed that is expected to become setters, you must WAIT until Mother Nature, "hormones", change to a setting mode. You cannot decide when!! Nor can the hen--she doesn't "decide", it "happens".

When a hen STAYS on the nest night and day for several days (eggs or no eggs in the nest), and fluffs up, and may squeal at you, gently lift her up (front end and peek) to collect any eggs--she is indicating she is "broody".

It is good if you have moveable nest boxes (I use cardboard boxes of a size to fit the birds). You can then give her 5 eggs you have DATED and saved, the freshest ones, and place them beneath her. You then move her, on the nest box and eggs, easiest at night, to a secluded safe place, food and water available--to spend her 21 days incubating the eggs, privately.

Please, then, be prepared for the hatch and don't wait until you have chicks, to ask what and how to feed them--you have 3 weeks after she starts, to learn about the next part of your life--and that of the flock!

There is tons of information on the SEARCH function at the top of the COOP page, and you can brouse and find all kinds of good keen stuff to get you properly prepared!

Best of luck on your new venture--after years and years, many of us would never give it up!!


#79212 - 05/27/07 12:35 PM Re: Wanting Baby Chicks
Roots and Wings Offline

Registered: 04/05/07
Posts: 25
Loc: Ohio
edited out because cjr explained much better while I was writing my post

#79213 - 05/27/07 06:59 PM Re: Wanting Baby Chicks

Thank you CJR. I wasn't meaning that I wanted to make the hens sit and hatch eggs. I do understand that they have to do it on their own as far as the mother nature part goes. I was just wanting some advice as to what to do with her and the eggs once I know that she is ready and is going to sit, what do with her and the eggs. Thanks for your advice about moving her. That's what I needed to know. And yes, I have read up on tons of info about raising chicks from the start. Once I do decide if I will do this and when mother nature allows, I should be ready. Thanks again.

#79214 - 05/28/07 05:44 AM Re: Wanting Baby Chicks

Good info.

Yes, you would want to move her. And also, be ready to brood the chicks, just in case she doesn't take well to being a mother. Always have that back-up plan, ready to go.

I usually leave my broody hens until I know they are serious - several days - and during that time, I am collecting eggs that are suitable for hatching - good size, clean, no cracks, etc. I'll give her the eggs and still wait about a week before I move her. So far, that has worked out just fine for me.

#79215 - 06/30/07 01:54 PM Re: Wanting Baby Chicks
Freds Fine Fowl Offline

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Pennsylvania
Also, you may want to check out your local library? There is a DVD titled Regarding Chickens, there is a great segment on brooding with hens.

This may serve to build upon what others have already said?

Best of luck!


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