Mama hen recommendations

organic_flutterby(5 MO)July 16, 2008

I would like to get a few hens and a rooster to start a little flock of my own. I have heard that so many popular chickens have been bred primarily to lay a lot of eggs but not to sit on them, that their mothering instincts have been bred out. Has anybody had this experience with their hens? What are good breeds to buy in order to have some chicks hatch naturally? TIA

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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

Hi there, Silkies are egg hatching machines, and I have heard on this forum that buff orpingtons and austrolorps are also good setters. I had a silkie once that hatched eggs for as long as I had her. you can't keep them off of the eggs. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:54PM
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I have a Rhode Island Red mix that is a great mom.My hens that have set the best are mixes.I read that if you have broody hens,they feel safe and comfortable-mine are safe and well fed and watered and spoiled.Banties also are supposed to be good at raising chicks.Posy_Pet

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:26PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Exactly as posypet & flowersnhens have said...I'll add that most of the big fluffy 'heavy' dual purpose (meat & eggs) breeds are usually good setters (cochins are great, large or small). My Americaunas go broody sometimes, but aren't reliable. Silkies & banties of course. I currently have 6 broodies dead-set on brooding: a Buff Orp, a New Hampshire, a blue Silkie, 2 mixed banties and a cochin. None of these girls could be moved with a crowbar, they are so fanatical. *L*

Leghorns & RIR have been bred by humans to eliminate the brooding instinct in favor of egg laying, and Cornish X have been bred for meat birds. The ornamental birds (think tall & slender), such as Polish, also rarely go broody.

What you can do to round out your flock is to have a few hens weighted for brooding (silkies, cochins, etc.) and a few of the 'ooh, I LOVE that breed!' for eye candy & eggs. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 10:00PM
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I have red sex links. Does anyone know how often they go "broody" and are they good mothers?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 5:33PM
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flowersnhens(Maine 4)

I don't believe Red sexlinks go broody at all.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2008 at 7:54PM
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I have several Buff Orpingtons who are very broody. I didn't let them set this year, but I plan to keep a rooster this fall so next spring they can raise their own chicks since they are so set on doing so!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 6:03PM
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I can't get my Australorps to get off the nests! Buffs also!

But my longest brooder is my little americauna.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:35AM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Thanks everyone, I'll keep this in mind and keep you posted.

Love the pictures, mailman!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:02AM
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