I have a vast experience of handling 2 dozen babies at the same time – you must be thinking I have gone crazy, or just looking around; however, this is true. Babies, I am talking about my fluffy, cute and fatty hens here. When it comes to hens all the activities are fun – feeding, bathing but more specifically, I can guarantee hatching chickens is just wow! The artificial incubation is not fun because you do not get to see a different behavior and feel attachment. The excerpt in detail highlights how to hatch chicks naturally under a broody hen. In addition, it would explain about the best brooding types of hens and their habits.
What do you think?-can an egg-laying hen would go broody? Well, that is not strange at all because it happens most of the time, especially during early summers and spring. Many backyard raisers particularly grab the fresh chicken eggs early morning so that they can sell it for money. In contrast to this attitude, many want to refresh their flocks frequently and use older chickens for flesh and money. Therefore, they let the mother hens sit of the cluster of eggs for some time so that they can get cute little babies.
Where to find a Broody Hen:
Truly, if you want to get chicks that mean you need fertile eggs – it also means you need a rooster. The second issue is hatching because you need a brooding hen for that. Not all the breeds are that way because chickens are one hell of moody creatures. Not only many farmers claim the same but also the researches have proved that some breeds of chicken are more likable for breeding. Have a look;
Any idea, which breeds, is known for its broodiness. It is not wrong to say that mama hen of this breed is very loving and adores the chicks. Interestingly, you will not ever face trouble in letting this hen go for brooding; in fact, it does not mind to hatch the eggs that are not laid by her.
Brahmas, Silkies, Australorp, Dark Cornish, Buff Rocks, Turkens, Cuckoo Marans and Bantams are even among those types that easily go for brooding. However, they may not be the ones, which are likely to sit on the cluster of eggs, which are produced by some others.
However, not all the hens are very good broody as it is a trait that is natural and cannot be acquired. They may even contribute of lesser or failed to hatch properly (so you select to break the broodiness of hen).
Signs of brooding:
Many times newbie’s or new backyard players get into chaos when the hen is about to brood. They fail to spot the common differences between a sick and a broody hen. Let us end this mess by clearly looking into the signs of broody hen;
- Hen starts to peck hard when you try to reach her nest
- Examine her behavior – she must be looking comfortable yet very alert about the environment
- She must be fluffing her feathers, especially the neck area. You would be certain to hear a very sweet noise all the time.
- Keep a look at the nest, if it has line of feathers, it clearly shows the mother feeling on her is on the top
- Leave the nesting box shortly to eat, drink and poop.
Essentials of a broody box:
A brooding box is a private place of a broody hen; therefore, it is supposed to be comfortable and cozy. Moreover, it is supposed to be safer so that the hen does not feel insecure otherwise, she would act strangely.
The hatching process:
Normally, the duration of hatching an egg is almost 21 days. It may be a little more or less as per the breed of the chickens. You must candle the egg after few days to determine the viability of an embryo so that infertile eggs can be separate out.
Stages of egg development:
- Within 16 hours there is existence of the chick embryo
- Eighteenth hour – alimentary tract develops
- Twentieth hour – vertebral column develops
- Twenty first hour – nervous system starts to develop
- Twenty second hour – head starts developing and by 24th hour eyes are developed
- Twenty fifth hour – heart starts to develop
- Thirty fifth hour – ear starts developing
- Forty hour – heart beat starts
- The 60th hour – nose develops
- 62nd hour – legs develop
- 64th hour – wings develop
- Tongue develops
- Differentiation of sex and formation of reproductive organs takes place
- Peak develops
- Feathers develop
- Beak starts getting harder
- Claws and scales develop
- The embryo starts moving in a manner that it can be get out of the shell
- Yolk starts to enter the body cavity
- The embryo is big enough to occupy the entire shell space
- The chick hatches