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Author Topic: Should I give up hatching eggs ?  (Read 2783 times)


  • Joined Aug 2012
Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« on: August 29, 2013, 06:55:15 pm »
Last year I hatched 8 eggs in an incubator, just 1 of those was a hen the other 7 all cocks.

Wasn't planning on hatching anymore this year but my girls had other plans and hid eggs all over the place, and in the process 3 chickens have become fox food ....grrr

So when we retrieved 2 hens and their eggs and put in a spare hen house I thought never mind we can replace our losses.......

I wish ....our 9 chicks (silver grey dorkings) are now 12 weeks old and I'm pretty confident all 9 are cocks.  Not a buff feather in sight.

So 16 out of 17 hatched over 2 years male, and the fox got the single girl 2 weeks ago.

Even worse no one will eat chicken in this house, and none of us want to wring their necks.  :-[

Better not give up the day job..........


  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2013, 07:12:43 pm »
Don't give up. I've found that over a given period it does work out around 50/50 male/female. So you're in for a good run of all female hatches soon!


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2013, 08:08:25 pm »
We had a problem with our first hatch -6 out of 7 were cockerels. Second hatch not much better with 7 of 9 cockerels. Then the statistics began to even out. Next hatch 1 cockerel and 8 hens. In the end we had 45% pullets and 55% cockerels, which is the correct proportion. We hatched 46.

But if you don't eat chicken AnnaB I would buy in your hens.


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2013, 10:36:41 pm »
I'm increasingly confident that buying hens in is cheaper - off to buy a Sussex and two Gold Laced Orpington POLs tomorrow for 40 total (i.e. 13 each). By the time you've bought hatching eggs, paid for postage, factored in failure to hatch, 50% (!) cockerels and cost of feed (and energy with an incubator), it's really not a saving to hatch your own unless they are from your own stock, under a broody and you eat the cockerels. Mind you, I might just start to focus on selling hatching eggs - that seems like a winner unless I've missed a trick (like nobody buying them!).


Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2013, 09:23:51 am »
This is stupid, but I have always felt like it is unluky for me to do small hatches say less than about 30 eggs) - There is no rhyme or reason behind it, but I'm sure that I'll end up with mostly boys if I 'risk' it... and how many have I put in... 24... they're doomed!  :roflanim:  I'm an idiot... might see if I can scrounge a few eggs off my neighbour?

Modified to add: Pheww, half a doz. light sussex scrounged - so I might get some hens after all..?  ;D
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 11:39:38 am by Steph Hen »


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2013, 11:28:05 am »
I havent had much luck with hatching eggs either... and agree with the above poster that buying in is normally cheaper. I spent 35 on a dozen duck eggs a while back and not one of them hatched- I've now found a guy up the road who will sell me day old sexed ducks for 5.50each... seems a no brainer really...


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2013, 02:46:09 pm »
I just barter a new cockerel every year, and have pretty even hatches. I only ever use the incubator nowadays, haven't had a proper broody for the last two years. I think that if you have an incubator (mine is 24 eggs all singing-dancing etc, so doesn't really take much looking after), you can do all sorts of chicks, ducklings etc -we have two geese wandering round as a result of getting surplus eggs), and after a couple of years you should break even on the cost.
However I don't do eggs through the post - all homebred or from someone with a similar set-up to mine and collected in person.
One big advantage of breeding from home-reared stock is that the danger of bringing in disease and susceptibility to disease (or animals carrying disease as a result of live vaccines from factory produced stock) is much reduced. After having a bad year last summer (cockerel wasn''t up to scratch and weather was really quite rubbish) I decided to buy in  5 replacement POL... at 18 quid a bird... they went in with my homebred hens of similar age (after isolation etc), and of the ten hens in total I have got three left 8 months later... all the homebred birds died from something and even two of the bought-in ones keeled over!
I also run two flocks with a cockerel each, and non-productive hens is dispatched every autumn (even though scrawny the breasts and legs still make a good coq (or hen) - au-vin or a curry.
Seems to work - but mine are mongrels and I have no interest in breeding pure.


  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Canterbury Kent
Re: Should I give up hatching eggs ?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2013, 07:06:36 pm »
Hi,you need to be prepared to deal with the cockerels before you hatch any eggs.It doesn't matter if you hatch only 1 cockerel from 100 it is your responsibility to deal with it,and unfortunately at some point that will mean youthanasing them.
If you are not prepared to do that or get some one to do it for you then don't hatch any more eggs.
Its very sad I know but unfortunately a fact of life.



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