Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chicken Prophylactics

Ok.  I've been thinking about the whole infertile chicken egg thing lately.  

My apparent inability to successfully hatch out any number of chicks from the last two incubations is driving me nuts.  

Last year's hatching rates were good.  Well, except for the fact that I
slow cooked the first batch of hatched chicks.  Ugh.  The first cooked batch started out with twenty-nine eggs and seventeen hatches.  The second batch started out with thirty-eight eggs and 20 hatches.  I was darned happy with a 50%+ live hatching rate.  

second batch - my "new" hens - are doing well.  They started laying just at six months old.  And some of them seem to be really frekking mean very protective of their eggs, so maybe I'll get a broody hen or two.

My hens get a 9% feed along with whey, extra milk or runny yogurt (more to come on the runny yogurt, btw) as well as all the kitchen scraps from our kitchen and Mom's kitchen.  We also allow them to free-range, so fresh greens, seeds, insects, lizards and even the occasional mouse is on the menu.  The older hens are two and three years old and the newer hens are just under eight months old.

I haven't determined if it's the eggs from the new hens or the old hens that aren't fertile, but since the new hens outnumber the older biddies, I suspect that it's mostly the new hen eggs that are duds.  The "good" eggs in the incubator also look to be from the older hens as they are a little larger than the rest.

Are pullet eggs not fertile?  Does it take time for their eggs to be of hatching quality?  Are my roosters shooting blanks?

know it's not for lack of chicken sex.  I can't walk from the house to the barn without tripping over fornicating poultry.  One of my hens even has to wear a chicken saddle because she's such a little tramp.  

Has a representative chicken from Health & Poultry Services come onto our homestead without our knowledge and started handing out pamphlets about planned parenthood with packages of chicken contraception?

Are my hens now clucking about sexual revolution whilst locked up in the coop at night?


  1. Pullet eggs are notoriously bad to hatch. If you are even able to hatch them, you can end up with disfigurements, chick stuck to shell, and internal issues. I wait until the hen is over a year before hatching the eggs.

    Once the rooster taps that, the hen will have fertile eggs for about twenty one days. Is this the same rooster that fertilized your successful hatchings?

  2. Oh. My. Gosh. You guys make me laugh so hard. Fornicating poultry? This is why I firmly believe that farm kids have a whole different take on that sex ed thing. When you can't walk out the front door without tripping over it...yeah. Oh, and thanks Phelan for pointing out that once the rooster "taps that", the eggs are fertile for 21 days. Informative, and well stated. :) I love this blog!

  3. On the days that you don't happen to post, how am I ever to get a good laugh - or at least a happy groan?

  4. Who else would title a post "Chicken Prophylactics" other than our dear, sweet, lovable, wacky, off-the-fall, call-it-like-it-is, hysterically funny Carolyn Renee?

  5. After reading title I was going to suggest you get a banty hen or two. But I see that idea has crossed your mind. Much easier to let a chicken do all the setting, turning, hatching, than using an incubator. Less chance of electrity failure, humidity problem, forgot to turn etc ................... had a banty hen that hatched 15 eggs all by herself once. Good luck.

  6. I know absolutely nothing about raising chickens, but I enjoyed the chuckle nonetheless!

  7. Phelan, good to know about the pullet eggs. THAT'S the excuse I'm using now (so it's not so much MY fault!). No, the roosters are different this year, although my good, but injured rooster is "tapping" a few hens now and then! LOL (tapping!).

    MamaTea, I guess I won't be teaching Rhiannon about the Birds & the Bees, but the Roosters & the Hens!

    Charade, well, I'm glad SOMEbody is laughing :)

    Mama Pea, I'd be laughing more if it wasn't pissing me off so much!

    Tombstone, FIFTEEN eggs under a broody! Wow! I had a broody bandy silky once and could only get five normal sized eggs under her, and she rejected them! She would only sit on banty eggs!

    EcoCatLady, glad somebody ELSE is chuckling! My misery has got to be worth something :)

  8. I laughed reading the post, and laughed reading the comments! Sorry... I know you want chicks :-) I'm working on getting banty's to do my incubating. Right now I have one sitting on only 4 banty eggs. (she went broody so fast and I didn't want to mix banty and regular size eggs.) Hopefully I will get a couple more hens.

  9. The way you write about everyday farm life just cracks me up and that cartoon...!! :)
    I've been thinking about letting one of my young hens try to hatch some eggs but after reading Phelan's comment, I think I'll wait until next spring.

  10. Well, I did learn something today. hehehehe

  11. Sending this to my daughter who is very lovingly taking care of her first 20 chicks-they are about 8 weeks old now. She plans to keep 5 hens and one rooster and put the rest in the freezer-don't want to be there the first time she experiences the "dressing of the hens."