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An Alternative Broody Hen Solution

18 October 2010 10 Comments

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?

Build your own chicken coop in 3 days.

10 Comments »

  • Gavin said:

    I would be interested if you lived down here. I have a broody hen (Pekin Bantam), who is always on the nest. It would be good to have a few more hens.

    Gav

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Gavin: Pity! I’m sure there’d be someone near you that would be happy with a similar arrangement – the hard part is finding them. Hopefully some people from this area will stumble across my blog and take me up on it!

  • Telela said:

    Next time one of our chooks gets broody I’ll let you know. The last one was about this time last year and I thought of asking you for some eggs but we weren’t ready to deal with any roosters. Maybe I could get some next time the duck finishes laying as she stays broody for ages. She might crush the eggs with her nails though. We’re looking forward to seeing Eric’s new chicks.

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Telela: Hi! Definitely let me know when you’ve got a broody hen, and I’ll fix you up. I can deal with baby roosters for you. The eggs I’ve got in my incubator are due this weekend, and Eric’s should be hatching the weekend after that.

  • alicia said:

    I have a clucky hen and would be really interested in some fertilised eggs

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Alicia: Sorry, our chooks are not laying at the moment! We have about 6 or 8 who should be laying, and we’re only getting 1 egg per day (some days not even that). Might have to hang the axe over the coop door as a reminder :-).

  • kelly said:

    Hi, you mentioned Illawara, how do we contact you? Just, when the chicks hatch, is there anything we need to know or do regarding raising them if we still have three to six layers (one broody at a time). Thanks

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Kelly: You can email me at darren@pool-room.com. I don’t have any eggs available at the moment – we’re rebuilding our flock after they were all wiped out in a fox attack. If you have a spare cage or pen, it’s useful to separate the broody hen so the others don’t keep laying eggs under her. It’ll also give the chicks a safe and quiet place to hatch and be looked after, away from the hustle and bustle of the main flock. If you don’t have the spare cage, though, don’t worry – we’ve never had other chickens attack chicks.

  • Andrew said:

    Hi

    I am in Wollongong, and would love some fertile eggs for my clucky hens.Can you help?

  • Darren (author) said:

    @Andrew: Hi! Sorry, our chickens were wiped out by a fox a few months ago, and we’re in the process of getting set up again. Your best bet would probably be to look for fertile eggs on the Backyard Poultry notice board: http://backyardpoultry.com.au/index.php?page=board.php&state=NSW

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