A neighbour of ours has a broody hen. Rather than trying to “break” her of her broodiness, she thought it would be nice to give her some fertile eggs to sit on and let her raise a little family. It’d be a great experience for their young kids to watch, as well.
Knowing we have roosters, she asked if we’d be able to supply them some fertilised eggs. We jumped at the chance! With spring here and all the hens laying again, we’ve got eggs coming out our ears :-).
Our neighbours would like to end up with 2 or 3 layers from the chicks, but they can’t keep any roosters. We gave them a dozen eggs – if half hatch, and half of those are female, then they’ll be set. Odds are they’ll get more, though! Once the chicks grow a little and we can tell the boys from the girls, they’ll select the ones they want to keep and we’ll take back the rest.
Everybody wins – we get rid of our some of our surplus eggs, they get to raise chicks and end up with the layers they want, and we’ll get some chooks back for the pot.
With the growth in backyard chicken keeping over the past couple of years, there must be a lot of people in the area with broody hens that would like to make a similar arrangement. I’m thinking of offering fertile eggs for sale (for something reasonable like $1 each – many online breeders charge $30-$60 per dozen!), with a promise to take back any roosters and surplus pullets.
It’s even possible to encourage a hen to go broody if you’d like to raise a clutch of chicks.
What do you think – would many people be interested?