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Egg Incubation Timing Question

Posted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:41 am
by DavidAdelaide
Hi All,

I have a couple of questions to ask about egg incubation:

1) If I moved eggs that are laid 7 days earlier from one nest to another, would the hen know by smell that these are not her eggs?
2) Due to the eggs being 7 days earlier than hers and the chicks being born earlier will the hen know they are not her biological chicks and then reject the chicks?
3) Has anyone successfully shuffled eggs between hens with a weeks (7 days) difference in development?
4) What are the maximum number of eggs one hen can successfully incubate?

Looking forward to your advice and experience,
David

Re: Egg Incubation Timing Question

Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:12 am
by Michaelcook123
Going by other birds I have kept not indian ringnecks no the birds would not know the difference between eggs not sure about adding eggs I think that would depend on the hen as in the wild a cuckoo does not make a nest or look after it's young it lays an egg in another birds nest but when it does this it throws one egg out on feeding young with 7 days difference a hen produces a milk in her crop for the young and not sure if seven days would make a difference as her own clutch are laid 8 days apart hope this gives you some information personally rather than losing them I would try it

Re: Egg Incubation Timing Question

Posted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:13 am
by Johan S
DavidAdelaide wrote:Hi All,

I have a couple of questions to ask about egg incubation:

1) If I moved eggs that are laid 7 days earlier from one nest to another, would the hen know by smell that these are not her eggs?
2) Due to the eggs being 7 days earlier than hers and the chicks being born earlier will the hen know they are not her biological chicks and then reject the chicks?
3) Has anyone successfully shuffled eggs between hens with a weeks (7 days) difference in development?
4) What are the maximum number of eggs one hen can successfully incubate?

Looking forward to your advice and experience,
David
Hi David,

1) No, I have done it many times and never had a problem with a hen abandoning the nest. Other species, like plumheads, are a different kettle of fish.
2) No, she won't. You'll have another problem. The older chicks will be much larger than the newly hatched ones and the latter will most likely not survive, being too small to compete for food. You will be amazed at the size difference in just one week. I've bred for many years, and even I am still amazed EVERY time I see it. It is simply astounding how much they grow in a week.
3) Not advised. See 2)
4) I know of cases up to 7 eggs successfully incubated. However, in such a case, 2) creeps in again, considering there is typically a resting day between eggs. So creating a nest of 7 eggs can take up to two weeks.

The question is, when do incubation start? Most cases, the day of or after the third egg. How do experienced breeders avoid 2)? In cases of hens that you know lays large clutches, they often replace the eggs with false eggs as they are laid. Then, on the day of the 5th egg, the original eggs are returned. Then those 5 hatch on the same time, and the ones following that isn't too far behind.

Good luck!