Why Do Chickens Roll Their Eggs
Hens and birds of all kind’s “roll” their eggs. This keeps the developing embryo moving and gets differential warmth from the hen or parent. It is necessary for normal development. If a hen “kicks” an egg out of the brood, then she has sensed that the chick has died in development, isn’t developing properly, or may have decided that she had too big of a brood. There could be other reasons as well. It depends on several factors.
Just because a hen is broody does not mean that she is going to be a dedicated hatching hen. Some abandon the eggs after days or weeks. Or worse they kill the chicks that hatch.
There is no way to predict whether a hen will quit setting before the eggs hatch or become homicidal after they do hatch. Before purchasing expensive hatching eggs for a broody to hatch, put her through the paces with ordinary hatching eggs.
Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.
If she abandoned the nest or harmed chicks once, she will do it again. Always have an incubator and a brooder on standby while a hen is sitting in the case, she suddenly abandons the eggs or chicks. A hen can manage to cover and keep warm approximately twelve eggs proportional to her size.
If she is a bantam, it is reasonable to expect that she can care for twelve bantam-sizes eggs, fewer if the eggs are from a larger hen. If the broody is a large-fowl breed, she can handle up to fifteen eggs of the size she would ordinarily lay, more if they are bantam eggs.
Ideally, every broody will have her own private predator-proof space away from the coop and flock or set undisturbed by noisy flock mates. Unfortunately, she doesn’t ordinarily have the good sense to make a reservation for a room in the maternity ward.
Rather she usually parks herself inside a coop nest box. Some are more attached to their chosen nest then others and will protest mightily if attempts are made to move her.
Broody Hen Behavior / Changes
Several things will happen when a broody hen is ready to set. She will pull feathers from her breast, which by nature is how she determines the proper temperature of the eggs as they lay close to her breast.
Her own body temperature will increase so that those incubating eggs will be at the optimum incubating temperature.
That sweet little hen may become a mama bear as her hormones surge, so expect her to growl, peck, and even flap her wings at you if you come near. Just talk quietly to her and do not try to approach her if she is stressing and showing aggression. This is perfectly normal behavior, and once the chicks have hatched and are on their own, she will most likely return to her sweet self once again.
The more disturbances to the broody, the higher the risk of a failed hatch. Do make sure mama broody is in a protected and safe environment, it is not uncommon for a broody hen to choose a nest outside of the coop, especially if your flock free ranges. If a hen comes up missing, it’s time to start searching for her and remove her to a protected environment.
When relying on a broody hen to hatch eggs, be sure to mark those eggs. This way other eggs laid by hens trying to share the nest will be distinguishable and can be removed.
You can purchase fertile hatching eggs and place under a broody hen.
As soon as you know you have a determined broody order your eggs, which take an average of three days to arrive via priority mail or at an additional cost you can have them shipped by overnight mail. If possible, move the broody to a nest not typically used by the others or set up a broody pen or crate for her so she is able to set in peace.
Be vigilant about how you place the eggs if you do move her, though she will re-arrange them to suit her. If they are not in the position, she has set them, she may kick some of the eggs out. Mark your calendar when you know she is setting.
Chicken eggs average 21 days incubation. This is merely a guideline; eggs can hatch either side of 21 days, so don’t be in a rush, allow her to determine when the hatch is over.
No Human Help Needed
There isn’t much hands-on work needed with a broody hen; she knows what she’s doing. Human intervention can discourage her and cause her to abandon the nest. So, if you want her to set, leave her to take care of business and only remove other eggs when she is off the nest for food and water.
It is possible to witness some co-parenting, where two hens may share a nest of eggs right through hatching and through the rearing of those chicks.
Determine if they are actually sharing the nest compatibly or if one hen is interloping. If one is just causing a disturbance, it will be best to move that hen where she can no longer bother the nesting hen.
Chicken Egg Hatching
As the 18th day approaches the hen will position the eggs for an optimum hatch. Do not disturb her during the final three days of the process. And do not assume when day 21 arrives with no pipping or hatching, that it’s over. Continue to leave that mother hen alone.
You may notice the mama softly clucking. She feels the babies moving in the eggs, and as they near the hatch, the babies will peep back to her. This may be a sign of encouragement and comfort to those unhatched babies. She will leave the nest when she instinctively knows that no other chicks will be hatching.
The hen will not leave the nest for at least the last three days of incubation, even to relieve herself. In addition, do not be surprised to see the nest soiled, the hen will relieve herself in that nest regardless of the eggs and ensuing chicks.
You can clean up the nest after she decides that all have hatched and she takes the babies from the nest for their first outing.
If by chance a broody hen does abandon a nest, you can gather those eggs and either places them under another broody hen or place them in an incubator. Just be sure to mark your calendar so you have an idea when that hatch is due.
After Chicken Eggs Hatch
After all the chicks have hatched, Mama hen will take her babies for their first outing, and you will want to observe how she expertly teaches them where to find the food, how to scratch for the food, locate a water source and teaches them how to dust bathe.
You will also notice her discipline them with a peck if they do not follow her instructions. We’ve seen mama hens send their offspring to a corner if they do not behave.
The best way to determine whether a Hen will roll her eggs out of the nest. Is watching here as she sets in her nest. If you find a hen that does not take care and incubate her eggs,it is best to slide her away from hatching chicks for you. She can still lay eggs for eating. If you find that she goes after the other hens eggs and baby chicks. You will need to take firmer action.
Family Sized Chicken Farm Egg Calculator
|Number of Chickens||Number of Eggs / Day||Number of Eggs / Week||Number of Eggs / Month||Number of Eggs / Year||Family Size||$ Value = .30 / Egg|
Per Day / Per Week / Per Month / Per Year / Dollar Value
Rare Breed Chicken Farming
|Rare Breeds||Country of Origin||Eggs/Week||Average Weight||Price / Chicks|
|Black Penedesenca||Spain||3-4||4-5lbs||$ 13.43|
|Black Sumatra||Sumatra||4 / Tinted in Color||4lbs||$ 4.56|
|Ameraucana||United States / Chile||3 / 4 Blue||5 lbs||$ 4.25|
|Lavender Orpington||England||4 / 5 Brown||5 lbs||$ 6.08|
|Partridge Chantecler||Canada||3-5 / Brown||7 lbs|
|Wyandotte||United States||3 - 5 / Tinted Brown||6 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Welsummer||Welsum Netherlands||4 / Dark Brown||5 lbs||$ 5.95|
|Silver Grey Dorking||UK / Roman||8 lbs||$ 5.95|
|Light Brahma||United States / China||Brown||13 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Silver Laced Cochin / Shanghai||China||5-6 / Brown||6 lbs||$ 4.90|
|White Marans||Marans / France||4 / Dark Brown||5 lbs||$ 6.08|
|Dominiques||United States||4 - 5 / Brown||7 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Exchequer Leghorn||Tuscany Italy||White||5 lbs||$ 4.25|
|Silver Spangled Appenzeller|
|Buff Brahma Standard||Shanghai China||Brown||13 lbs||$ 4.90|
|Silver Laced Polish||Poland / Netherlands||4-5 lbs||$ 5.95|
|White Sultan / Fowls of the Sultan||Turkey||2 - 3 / White||4-6 lbs||$ 7.75|
|Mottled Houdan||Houdan Paris France||White||4 - 5 lbs||$ 7.75|
|Dong Tao / Dragon Chicken||Vietnam||2/3||$ 2500 -|
|Ayam Cemani||Indonesia||3 / Cream||5 lbs||$ 50 - $ 2500|
|Onagadori / Honorable Chicken||Japan||$ 49.00|
|Polverara||Italy||2 / 3|
|Ixworth||Sussex UK||4 / Cream|
|Naked Neck / Transylvanian Naked-Neck chickens.||Transylvania||5||$ 4.25|
|Campaign||Belgium||7 / White||5 lbs||$ 7.75 / Golden|
|Deathlayer /||German||7 / White||$ 99.00|
|Serama / Smallest Chicken in the World||Thailand||.5 - 1 Lb||$ 39.00|
|Silkie / Silky||Chinese||2 / Cream||$ 5.75 / White $ 5.75 / Blue $ 5.75 / Buff
$ 5.75 / Black
Types of Chicken Breeds
|Chicken Breeds||Origin||Meat/ Layers / Dual Purpose||Finished Weight||Eggs per Week||Weeks to Slaughter|
|Broilers||Canada/US/Europe||Meat||3.3 lbs||5||14 Weeks|
|Cornish crosses||England||Meat||6.5 - 8.5 lbs||3||8 - 9 Weeks|
|Jersey Giants||USA||Meat ( Intended to replace Turkeys)||13 lbs||4||8 - 9 Months|
|Hertigage Breeds||6 - 9 months|
|Delaware||USA Delaware||Duo||6.5 lbs||4 - large||8 Months|
|Dorking||United Kingdom||Duo||10 - 14 lbs||5 - med||5 Months|
|Buckeye||USA Ohio||Duo||6 - 9 lbs||4 - med||5 Months|
|Rhode Island Red||USA Rhode Island||Duo||6 b- 8 lbs||5-6||5 Months|
|Leghorn||Italy||Eggs||4 -5 lbs||4||8 Months|
|Plymouth Rock||USA - Massachusetts||Duo||7.5 lbs||4||5 Months|
|Sussex||United Kingdom||Duo||7 lbs||4 - 5 - large||5 Months|
|Wyandotte||Canada||Duo||7 - 9 lbs||5 Months|
|Welsummer||Netherlands||Duo||7 lbs||4 / Week||5 Months|
|Hamburg||United Kingdom||Eggs||7 lb||4 - med||9 weeks|
|Black Australorp||Australia||Duo||\3 - 5 lb||5 - med||5 months|
|Buff Orpington||England||Duo||7 - 8 Lbs||4 - 5||8 months|
|Brahma||Meat||11 lbs||3 - med||5 monthss|
Dual Purpose Breeds
Chicken / Poultry Breeder Associations
|US Poultry & Egg Association||United States||USPA|
|American Poultry Association||California||APA|
|Ohio Poultry Association||Ohio||OPA|
|National Chicken Council||United States||NCC|
|British Poultry Council||United Kingdom||BPCE|
|Poultry Club of Great Britain||United Kingdom||PCGB|
|Association of Poultry Breeders in EU||Europe||AVEC|
|Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc||Australia||ACMF|
|Australian Poultry Hub||Australia||Poultry Hub|