Several independent factors in concert bring the best breeding results. Unfortunately any one of the three can push the hens into laying infertile eggs.
First: Changes in day length and light intensity. Smaller size varieties will breed on as little as 12 hours but even they do better with 14 hours light plus 30 minute dimmer.
Second: Changes in temperature and increasing humidity. Hens like chickens are reluctant to lay when temperatures are below 65F and when the humidity is very low. As temperature warms breeding activity greatly increases. Spring rains also tell the birds conditions are favorable for breeding. I like to wait a bit till Spring rains start to seriously breed my birds.
Third: Changes in Diet. Feeding more quantity or feeding different foods especially those higher in carbohydrates and proteins is very stimulating. Too much vitamin E to the hen and she will not sit but rather want to recycle laying over and over. Males should get vitamin E for six weeks prior to breeding and can continue getting it till breeding is over. Hens maximum of three weeks prior to laying and then not again unless they fail to lay the second clutch.
If any one of the three factors is dramatically increased the hens start laying! Laying eggs is not the same as laying fertile eggs.
This time of year, I get many e-mails or phone calls about problems that are caused by increases in one of the three factors with very unsatisfactory results. A recent caller couldn't understand that when he returned from a trip, many of his hens were laying even though temperature was low and day length was still 10.5 hours. Questioning revealed his wife took very good care of them in fact she feed them egg food every day! Oops, unintentionally she pushed the hens to lay infertile eggs!
|Lucca, my Belgian Malinois, took the top bill off the table from the cleaning ladies money and worked on it a bit!|
Hoping you can help. I have one young hen that abandoned the nest 2 days before due to hatch. Any suggestions Why she might do this? She was a hen the preferred to have her mate with her. When I moved him out of the nest after the 4th egg was laid she called to him until I returned him to her. She sat faithfully with him perched next to her. Eggs were left cold before I realized this happened. Now a week later she wants to rebuild the nest.
Several things come to mind. The most likely reason is overdose on vitamin E which is a stored vitamin and builds up as we prepare them for breeding. Hens must not receive extra vitamin E supplementation after they lay their first egg or they will prematurely decided to lay again.
Another reason is infertile eggs, hens know if the eggs are not fertile and often will throw them out of the nest or abandon.
They also will abandon fertile eggs if they got accidentally off nest in the night due to fright such as lighting or mice. Once the embryo is not going to hatch they abandon.
Lastly, pushing to lay eggs before in full breeding condition with one of the factors mentioned in this post but not all three in concert.
I would let her try again.
THANK YOU We'll let her try again. Possibly the Vitamin E issue. I usually do not use it once the hens start laying but this cock was with her so I may have given it in their water. Would you change the location of her nest? THANK you Linda, again you have answers I didn't think of. Evon
Most of my hens that are re-cycled prefer the nest in the same spot but hens vary considerably. You can offer more than one nest and let her chose. Depending on if her vent looks like she is going to lay soon in which case she needs a nest available immediately or if there is a little time I remove the nest and replace in a few days.
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