Monday, July 18, 2011

Advice for Broody Hens Waiting for Eggs to Hatch

Question:  Hello I am a hen who has been sitting on eggs for a number of days now, just wondering whey they will hatch. I am very concerned because I have heard all kinds of stories that hens eggs do not always hatch.

Signed Expectant Mother

Answer: Dear Expectant Mother

If everything goes well your eggs will hatch into chicks at about 20-21 days from the day you started to sit on them. It is true that there are some things that can go wrong, and sometimes eggs do not hatch, in fact it is very likely that not all your eggs will hatch.

Let us look at some of the reason eggs do not hatch.

If you do not have a rooster the eggs are not fertile and will not hatch. They will not hatch if you did not mate with him before laying the eggs.

Some of the eggs you may have laid first might have gotten cold and died before you started to sit on the clutch of eggs and acted broody.

Sometimes there are problems with bacteria, or cracked shells. If the eggs are not cared for correctly (brooded and turned) they will not hatch. However I do not want to alarm you, there is every reason to expect that the majority of your eggs will hatch just fine.


Tips on Hatching Chicken Eggs

Hens should be encouraged to use nesting boxes that are slightly raised off the ground, and lined in straw.

Hens will lay many eggs (often 1 a day) before sitting on the clutch of eggs. When they do sit on the eggs they are said to be “broody”. Eggs will generally hatch within hours of each other at about 20 – 21 days after being brooded. Typically not all the eggs will hatch and those still not hatched should be disposed of after a few days (the hen will not sit on them much more after the other chicks hatched).

Some people take eggs and raise them in an incubator, in this case it is important that the eggs are kept warm, and turned at least twice a day, up until a few days before hatching. Even after hatching, human raised chicks, must be kept warm. Those with a hen will run under her body for protection and warmth.

Chicks need chick starter ration to aid proper growth and development.

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