How to Make a Chicken Lay an Egg

| 6/25/2009 1:19:27 PM

Tags: chickens, guineas,
Moving the roosters

Robyn DolanSince Baby Ezra came along, we've been busy with more babies on the homestead. We acquired three little white pullets (baby hens) which are growing nicely. Our two mamma rabbits each produced seven baby bunnies. Of course, they were born the day AFTER Easter. Ah well, we were planning on them for meat, anyway.

Surviving guineas

The three surviving guineas are full grown, with two of them laying eggs now. We were hoping for one rooster, to hatch out some more babies. Nobody's broody yet, and all three look exactly alike, so it doesn't look good for the guinea hatching project.

I'm not sure if this should be entered under the "Shoulda known better" heading or the "Learn something new every day" column. After removing five of the six roosters from the chicken coop, we finally started getting 8-10 eggs a day. Apparently one rooster is max for up to two dozen hens. Of course, a rooster is not necessary for them to lay eggs, but we were hoping for baby chicks, too. Unfortunately, none of my hens seem to have the motherly instinct, so no new hatchlings. My friend, with whom I ordered the chicks last year, has two broody hens who hatched out six healthy chicks. I guess that's pretty fair odds for hatchery hens.

The other threat to our now bountiful egg supply was the ravens. Bigger than crows, smaller than most eagles, they fly right into the henhouse and steal ALL the eggs right out of the nest boxes. Then just to taunt me, they drop the empty shells right outside the coop.

Coop covered in poultry netting

Realizing that a couple rounds of bird shot, though it would make me feel better, would do nothing to forestall our large local population of ravens from continuing to steal all my eggs, I grabbed a roll of poultry netting and proceeded to throw it across the top of the chicken yard to keep the foul fowl out. Now with the coop completely enclosed, we are enjoying all of our eggs.

Even though our birds are not free ranging right now, due to their small numbers and the large local population of coyotes, they are thriving on a well balanced diet. We're feeding them commercial scratch grain, occasional hay, which also makes good bedding and helps with sanitation in the coop; weeds from the gardens, kitchen scraps, and whey from cheesemaking.

Sheri McNeil
4/6/2012 5:40:04 PM

If you don't have a rooster, there will be no chicks from your eggs....and store bought eggs aren't fertile either. You can't make a hen set on eggs - become broody - it has to be something they want to do and you can't stop them!

juan jimenez
4/6/2012 4:26:01 AM

i have a hen. they are our pets. we just want 3 chicks we are thinking of putting 3 eggs of her and 9, store bought. and would she know when to sit down on them.

Robyn Dolan
7/7/2009 9:07:38 PM

Lori, Actually, I think they prefer their insects live, and anything larger than that already dead. But maybe here's a solution to keeping the mice out of the chicken grains - store them in the chicken house?! Then there's the challenge of keeping the chickens out of them between rations...

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds