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Thread: bantam hen that will not sit on eggs

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    Default bantam hen that will not sit on eggs

    Hi, I have a bantam hen that has layed 5 eggs since Saturday, however she has not set on them. Will they hatch? How many will she lay a day? How can I get her to sit? I do have 2 other roosters and a hen. These were gifts to me.

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    Staff - Cats MarciD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kittycat78 View Post
    Hi, I have a bantam hen that has layed 5 eggs since Saturday, however she has not set on them. Will they hatch? How many will she lay a day? How can I get her to sit? I do have 2 other roosters and a hen. These were gifts to me.
    They'll only hatch if they're fertile eggs. And she won't start setting on them until she's laid all her eggs. Bantams can lay up to 8 eggs at a time so don't be surprised if she ends up with that many. Sadly if she isn't inclined to set on them there isn't much you can do to make her. I've had bantams that would set on any eggs ... theirs or another hens. We'd encourage them to set using wooden eggs and when they were setting good we'd then substitute fertile eggs under them and let them hatch them out. We raised Astra-Whites and Rhode Island Reds and they weren't good setters so we used the Bantams to be a substitute mom.
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    Thanks for the answer. How do I know when she is done laying the eggs? I touched the eggs and they are cold. I think now it is too late to eat them. Will she lay eggs everyday of the year. I know this is stupid but I thought only laying hens layed eggs. Will the other hen start laying eggs? They came from the same litter(?)

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    I thought we only ate eggs that weren't fertilized. Is there any way to tell if an egg is fertilized or not? FWIW, we had ducks that would lay eggs in the courtyard of our school in March. Like hens, they didn't set on them until all of them were laid, and even when it snowed, all of the babies hatched just fine.
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    Just about all hens lay eggs unless something is wrong, and her first eggs may not be the best ones. If you know how old she is, that might help--she might not want to sit on eggs until next spring if she's one of this spring's chicks. Yes, the other hen will start laying eggs when she's ready. The roosters may be too young to be fertile, too, so you might not see much in the way of chicks till spring anyhow. If she does want to set, she'll put all her eggs together and then settle down on them, getting off the nest only for a little while at a time. If she DOES sit on a clutch of eggs and we get a cold snap (I don't know what part of Virginia you're in), you might want to put a little safe heat in her house to keep it above freezing.

    One way to find out whether the eggs are any good would be to get one of those little two-egg incubators from a science store. They don't cost a whole lot and are made to keep the eggs at the right temperature for the 21 days they'd take to hatch. It IS possible to "candle" an egg to see if anything is developing, but that takes a bit of practice.

    Most farmers eat the eggs they find whether they've been fertilized or not, so long as they're fresh. You may not want to do that if the idea bothers you.

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    Hens will normally start to lay eggs when they are aobut 5 months old. Normally they will lay one egg a day (sometimes 2) until they have a "clutch". It's oly then that they start to incubate by sitting on the eggs. Yes, the eggs will be cold now but that doesn't mean they are infertile. It only means that the hen hasn't started to incubate yet. But then once she starts to sit, they must remain warm. She will get off to eat and the eggs will cool for a bit, but not get completely cold.

    If you choose, you can eat the eggs before she starts to sit. Most of the eggs we buy are infertile because they are from large farms which don't include roosters in the group. However, it's okay to eat fertile eggs. When I was growing up, we always had a few roosters around and had fertile eggs.

    Bantams are normally very good incubators of eggs once they get going. One other change you might see in your hen is a change in voice. A bird that is incubating normally makes a clucking sound rather than the normal sing song sound of a happy hen.

    Linda
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    My hen has been clucking for a while now. I got them in June and they were just babies. The eggs are cool now. She has not set on them at all. Are they still edible? Started laying them Saturday. it has been about 60 here during daytime and 40ish at night time.

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    Staff - Birds LindaD's Avatar
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    Under those conditions, they should still be edible. When I was onthe farm, my mother raised chickens and allowed them to run free range until winter. They began laying eggs before winter and we had to always look for nests of eggs that the hens would lay in the grasses. The way we figured out if they were okay to eat was to use a flashlight and shine them through the egg. If you saw bits of blood vessels forming, they had begun to develop.

    Eggs can be kept at room temperature for several days without spoiling, even if fertile.

    Linda

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    Staff - Veterinary DrGus's Avatar
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    It's a good thing there are good folks here who know more than I know about hens and eggs.
    Dr. Gus

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    She is still laying them now it is up to 8. I have not touched them yet. Hoping she would sit on them when she was through. I have about given up and am going to throw them away and start over. I have also started using layng mash as their food.

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