Rome was not built in a day. This adage seems to denote the process of hatching an egg naturally. It takes 21 days and nights for an egg to hatch under the warmth of a broody hen. When an egg is placed in an incubator, it will require the same amount of time. This will emulate what a hen would do; it sits on eggs. The technology provides the right amount of temperature and level of humidity, and it turns eggs intermittently.
Moreover, your utmost interest in raising chickens will give you the driving force to uncover the wonders of these domestic creatures. It will not only give you eggs fresh from the backyard, but it provides you the superb taste of a real chicken, depending of course, on your motive of raising them in the very first place. On the other side, people have this wrong notion that a rooster is badly needed for the hen to lay eggs. However, instances will tell that it is simply not true. Science dictates that a rooster is only necessary if the purpose is to fertilize chicken eggs.
Table of Contents
- 1 Which is More Convenient? (Natural, or Mechanical Incubation)
- 2 Techniques and Steps You Need to Learn for Hatching Egg Naturally?
- 3 Can You Tell If An Egg Is Fertile?
- 4 How To Make Your Hens Go Broody?
Which is More Convenient? (Natural, or Mechanical Incubation)
This depends on your context of convenience.
When an egg is naturally hatched on a broody hen or those that are made to set on eggs, you save an ample work. What makes it interesting is that chicks being raised by a hen are quite smarter and are trained to look after themselves. Hens are good teachers; they teach chicks to eat and find for food. Part of the training is the art of letting these chicks be aware of the presence of a predator. In contrast, chicks hatched through incubators do not have the specific amount of time training themselves to be like the ones raised by a broody hen. This only amplifies the multitude of benefits of hatching eggs under the warmth of a hen.
Let us also consider that there are instances where broody hens are quite unpredictable. You may not be able to know when will they get broody. It is often during the springtime when they get brood, but the onset is indefinite. Next, not all brood hens will stay sitting throughout the duration of hatching. If it’s fortunate, they will hatch your chicks in a good way, but the unfortunate part is, they might not take good care of them. There is the worst case when broodies reach maximum tolerance level and become brutal on some of its chicks.
For security purposes, brood hens should be housed separately so that it will not disturb other chickens hatching their eggs. Remember that in this season, brood hens are always in the mood to fight each other, so it is advisable to place them in an appropriate space. This is also to avoid predators such as skinks from digging eating the eggs or the chicks.
You are indeed fortunate if you have gotten a good broody hen, it will not spoil you from having a better-taught chick. But let us not deny that an incubator can work very well and is indeed more predictable than the natural method.
It is in the season of being broody when the hen decides to sit on her eggs and hatch them. These broody hens will lay a clutch of eggs and sit on them until they hatch. It takes an average of three to eight clutch of eggs before the hen takes a turn to sit and hatch them. In this period, the hen needs to be provided with a safe shelter that is free from predators. Food and water are also essential during this period. The hen will the eggs warm and turn them periodically to ensure healthy and well-raised chicks.
Techniques and Steps You Need to Learn for Hatching Egg Naturally?
It takes a deep knowledge of how the eggs are hatched naturally for one to know the tricks of this trade. Not all eggs can inevitably hatch even if it is being seated by a broody hen. Other eggs may fail to hatch due to environmental factors, or they may be embryonic problems-like. They start to develop as an embryo and stops not reaching the definite time for hatching. Thus, as mentioned, it is essential to gain a deeper understanding of how to hatch eggs naturally so that you avoid potential failure. The following will give you the best ideas:
1) Select a Broody Breed
You have to be very keen when it comes to choosing a broody breed, especially if your motive is to raise chicks naturally. Ideally, you may select a breed such as Buff Orpingtons, which has a high level of broodiness. But take note that not all Buff Orpingtons will get broody. All you need is patience for the chicken to reach broodiness. Once it happened, the broody hen will sit, all day long, in a nesting box. It may growl, hiss, or peck at you if you attempt to remove her from the eggs. The hen will only take a break from brooding when it is hungry, or when it wants to drink or poop
2) Be Consistent In Choosing a Pure Breed
It is advisable to keep raising chickens from a single breed because if it is the other way, chances are eggs may not hatch due to incompatibilities. Allow two purebred chickens to breed and multiply. For best results, you may start with a flock of one purebred variety and give them the independence of breeding. Always separate chickens of different breeds, this is to save the amount of time as the possibilities of not hatching the eggs may highly happen in this case.
3) Monitoring The Hatching Process Carefully
Not all eggs will hatch naturally. This is an inevitable circumstance. You expect that some chicks will die both inside the egg and after hatching. This will require your keen eyes as to the set-up of the hatching process. To do so, remove those unhatched eggs four days after the first chick hatches and look into what’s inside through the use of a candle. This will let you figure out what went wrong so you will know what to do the next hatching season.
Can You Tell If An Egg Is Fertile?
Definitely, yes. You can tell if the egg is fertilized by simply breaking it slightly. Some people used to randomly crack eggs a bit to see what’s inside the shell. An egg is infertile when there is a small white or grey dot somewhere on the yolk. On the other hand, a fertilized egg resembles a bull’s eye; that is, it comes in a darkish circle around the dot. Doing this process will give ideas as to the possible number of fertilized and unfertilized eggs. You just have to take extra care while doing the process so that you won’t be breaking the whole egg.
How To Make Your Hens Go Broody?
Certain breeds of hens would be more habitually broody than other breeds. Thus, raising the right types of breed is very important. And of course, you need your hen to go broody and sit on eggs.
Placing some artificial eggs in the nest is also one of the most straightforward and practical methods to trick the hen into going broody and encouraging hen to sit on the nest for an extended period. Chances are, you hen might move on and off the nest for longer. Lastly, the trick might compel your hen to stay for at least 24 hours, and then it becomes broody. Reaching this will require you to place real eggs under her hatch, and all you have to do is to wait for the perfect time!