Hatching Eggs with a Broody Hen
The first thing you should know about a broody hen, whilst there are many breeds that will go broody at the drop of a hat, using this as an excuse not to lay you any eggs, and peck you every time you go near. It does not mean that they have the temperament to actually see the eggs through to hatching, or even if they do, that they will successfully raise the chicks.
Good broody hens are worth their weight in gold and will command high prices if you can get hold of them. Not only are there no high fuel costs in running the incubator full of hatching eggs, or the subsequent heat required for rearing the chicks. But the only work you have to do is make sure that your hen and her chicks have food and water and a safe, predator proof house and run. Mum will do all the work for you until she is fed up with her growing teenagers.
Using your own hen to hatch some eggs can be a great way to introduce yourself to breeding poultry and a great education tool if you have young children. The sitting hen should ideally be segregated from the rest of the flock in a predator proof area as she will be very reluctant to move from her clutch of eggs except for occasional food and water and so is an easy target for rats, foxes etc.
It may well be a bit of trial and error until you find a reliable hen, either among the birds you already have or from another source but it is well worth the persistance.
Once mum has decided the growers are independent then they can be separated and gradually integrated into your existing flock - how to do this is another subject.
This article was supplied to My Chicken House by Joy Thorpe of Mullberry Mill Stud, Suffolk who is listed in our Poultry Suppliers and Breeders Directory.
click here to return from Broody Hens to Hatching Eggs
click here to return to My Chicken House Home Page