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Old 03-09-2017, 11:01 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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Default using ceramic eggs to test for broodiness

has anyone ever used ceramic eggs in a nest box to test if their hens are broody? I had a few hens determined to lay eggs on the floor in a corner so put a few ceramic eggs in the nest boxes, they stopped laying on the floor. the package says the eggs can be used to test broodiness, and I checked the chickens an hour ago and a hen is sitting in one of the nest boxes (after dark). if she keeps sitting in the box i figure i will leave real eggs in there. anyway just curious as to anyone elses experience
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:56 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is online now
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The last batch of chickens we got was a collection of culls for an average of a bit less than $1.50 CDN each. Three didn't make it, six went to the freezer, the remaining four have produced well enough to be worth the feed and getting out in the cold to tend them. Likely as much a testament to there hearty nature than knowledge on my part to provide for them.

Here is a place you may get info useful to your needs. Good luck.

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:51 PM
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Bearfootfarm Male Bearfootfarm is offline
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I've never had any luck with getting hens to hatch eggs naturally.

Even if they would sit, they weren't consistent enough for good hatch percentages.

If you want chicks, you'd be better off to buy a cheap incubator so you have control of the process.
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Old 03-11-2017, 09:12 PM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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I can't power an incubator, off grid and all I can't reliably power an incubator the full 21 days.

at the very least the first few days of having ceramic eggs helped identify an egg eating rooster (arrived with a new group on Thursday), within 5 minutes of being allowed in with the rest of the flock he had destroyed 3 eggs (he was road island red, but intimidated by the smallest bantam rooster in the coop, he had plenty to eat, lay pellets, scratch, and stale bread, but wanted eggs more), he was pecking hard and determined on a ceramic egg after eating the 3 real eggs in the nest box that I had not collected yet. took him outside and put an end to that behavior (via decapitation). had he not spent so much time determined to break a ceramic egg I probably would not have been able to identify which one did it.
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:50 AM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is online now
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Maybe you can split a minimum order of baby chicks with one or several others. There are a couple people here trying to talk us into that, but at this time we have other priorities and don't want to commit to that.

We do have a faint line on small groups of adult chickens.. More culls of one kind or another I imagine. But with leg rings on our proven producers we could add several hens at a time to the flock until there is a problem then back up a step. And there is always the freezer...
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Old 03-15-2017, 02:54 AM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is online now
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Oh.... I forgot to mention.. The ceramic egg or the golf ball trick is used where you have the kind of snake that eats eggs.. There is one that is very well known for that..

The snake can get through 1" chicken wire, swallow and crush an egg and get back out.. When it swallows the golf ball that has been under a hen, you will find it stuck in the fence.. I'm told the messy part is getting the golf ball back... But you do what you gotta do..
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:25 PM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Setanta, from our experience hens that "decide" to go broody will sit even over an empty spot, but placing a few dummy eggs in the nesting box may encourage broodiness. We've used ceramic, cheap plastic ones, and even large avocado pits. Contrary to what Bearfootfarm said, we have had some very dedicated broodies who were also excellent mothers. It does depend on the breed - some breeds are just more broody than others, although we also had one instance of a White Leghorn, a notoriously non-broody breed, successfully hatch and raise chicks.

We don't live off grid but our power is very patchy out here, and therefore in the past couple of years we have relied on broodies entirely to replenish our flock. Before that we used a homemade incubator my husband built very cheaply out of an old Styrofoam box. He put in a thermostat and humidity detector he bought online. It didn't have automatic turning, so I had to turn the eggs manually, which was a commitment, but I was fine with that. As far as I'm concerned both methods have their pros and cons.
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:37 PM
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A few thoughts on the matter:

Mother Nature relies on the power of large numbers: a dandelion puts out 100,000 seeds, but only one of them needs to take root and live to maturity for the mission to be accomplished. So it is with "natural" chicken propagation. Concede some losses. Can you live with that level of inefficiency?

Using incubators adds some expense and maybe some inconvenience. Then there's the nuisance of keeping a rooster or two: noise, fights, maybe attacks on your person. But there is that intangible personal satisfaction. It's your call.

I go with purchasing chicks from a hatchery. Reasonable price. Let them do the hard part. Main drawback is minimum order number, usually a dozen or so. Not a problem for me, but it may be for town dweller with a small backyard.
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Old 03-23-2017, 03:30 PM
SmallFlocksMom Female SmallFlocksMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc View Post
Then there's the nuisance of keeping a rooster or two: noise, fights, maybe attacks on your person. But there is that intangible personal satisfaction. It's your call.
Any aggressive roosters should be culled immediately. Go to the stew pot or to some place where they won't be in regular contact with people. We have very sweet roosters who don't crow a lot, eat out of our hands, and even the toddler can manage them well. They are both Brahmas - a big, sweet-tempered breed. Never a fight among the roos either.
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Old 03-24-2017, 10:07 AM
Setanta Male Setanta is offline
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had 3 roosters to start with a tiny bantam, a buff orpington and a white leghorn (i was told it was barred rock but other people thought it was a white leghorn). they were mixed with 27 hens of different breeds (mostly retired RIR commercial hybrids), was down to 16 hens a month ago (low lifespan on RIR hybrids, others were decapitated for egg eating, and 1 hawk attack, which resulted in a swiss cheese hawk).

in the last month i added more birds to the flock bringing it up to 35 at the high point. i shot the white leghorn rooster after i placed an order for 25 buff orpington chicks (if it comes down to choice i would rather have buff orpingtons, chicks arrive late may, ordered so that they arrive in warm weather). in the meantime i have a bunch of bantam hens (small black ones, plus a few grey ones and a golden one but i have no idea what breeds they are, 2 different groups, the menonites who sold me the black ones had another hen they were keeping that just hatched out a clutch of chicks) the menonites also had 3 bantam roosters and the other flock i added had been a group of bantams, some RIRs and a RIR rooster. the RIR rooster didn't last long (as mentioned as soon as it was out it ate 3 eggs and was going crazy trying to break a ceramic egg, it was afraid and running from the smallest bantam rooster, worthless as a rooster so off with his head). i removed the WL rooster also because of the chance of broody bantams, if i get any broodies i would rather they hatch bantams or buff RIR hybrids. when the new chicks arrive in may the flock could be up to 60 birds (assuming no losses before then). totally going to need a bigger coop by june.
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