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So, I let the rooster loose in the flock. Let him do his business. How quickly do I need to get the eggs I choose to hatch into the incubator? Also, if I were to separate the best hens that I want, how do I get them laying in a new box? I should separate the rooster once they are broody, correct? Thanks for the help!
 

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Born in the wrong Century
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First a roo will only handle so many ladies.

Some will have a preferred hen and many of the others may be neglected.

So what kind of ratio do you have now?

I'd give it a good week before I would start collecting them for the bator.

You can hold them for a few weeks at the proper temp and humidity, turning them daily.

Keeping things clean helps as well, No dirty eggs and no washing eggs.

I'm speaking equipment and environment.

Not trying to be a know it all , just trying to be thorough.
 

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A good Rooster should not need to be separated.

Once you establish a pecking order its always best to leave it alone.

Removing and adding birds can be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have 20 hens at this point. I'm thinking I will probably be choosy and separate the ones I want with the rooster. Just starting out so not really sure what the best way is.
 

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A good Rooster should not need to be separated.

Once you establish a pecking order its always best to leave it alone.

Removing and adding birds can be a problem.

This is good to know. At what point would I separate the rooster? Or would I only do that if I was having mom be the incubator?? Oh you said no separation. Ahhh
 

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So, I let the rooster loose in the flock. Let him do his business. How quickly do I need to get the eggs I choose to hatch into the incubator? Also, if I were to separate the best hens that I want, how do I get them laying in a new box? I should separate the rooster once they are broody, correct? Thanks for the help!
Mike, as already said----a rooster can only take care of a certain amount of hens. "I" would pick about 8 hens, put them in a pen with the rooster. Then wait a couple weeks before I started collecting "hatching" eggs. I would collect and get them in the incubator with in 7 days----sooner can be better, but I have good luck with eggs 7 days old---I just back and forth tilt the cartons the eggs are in at least twice aday. There is no need to ever remove the rooster even if you get a broody hen. If I got a broody hen "I" would remove the broody hen from the rest of the flock so she can be alone to hatch and raise her chicks. Good Luck!!
 

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Give the hens a few days to start laying fertilized eggs. It's very important to crack a few test eggs to see if they are in fact fertilized before you start to save for incubating. I have kept eggs that are slated for the incubator for up to 2 weeks in a cool location .....not in the fridge though!

What breed do you have and how many hens?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Give the hens a few days to start laying fertilized eggs. It's very important to crack a few test eggs to see if they are in fact fertilized before you start to save for incubating. I have kept eggs that are slated for the incubator for up to 2 weeks in a cool location .....not in the fridge though!

What breed do you have and how many hens?

I have 20 Rhode Island Red hens.
 

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If you want to know when a hen's eggs are fertile, just open them up (as long as they aren't incubated, they'll be good on the counter for some time) and examine them according to this useful poster:

http://animalscience.ucdavis.edu/Avian/pfs32.htm

I'd recommend putting the rooster in with your best 6 - 8 hens and giving them a couple of weeks, then start testing. The time frame is to let them all settle down and also any sperm they had from any other rooster will have had time to die so the eggs will be fertilized by the bird you want for the father. You will probably have to separate out the rooster with the hens you want to raise chicks out of to be sure he's breeding them and not others.

Then start testing them to be sure he's getting the job done and not firing blanks. You can eat them like any other egg after checking for fertility.

Once you are getting fertile eggs, then save up however many you want to incubate and put them all in the incubator on the same day. Be sure to run it for several days to check that the temperature stays the same and also the humidity. Use more than one thermometer, as they can be inaccurate. Measure temperature at egg level. Do some research on the correct temperature for chickens (I have ducks, so its a little different) and for your type of incubator.

As mentioned your breed is unlikely to go broody, they are bred to lay eggs, not to incubate them. Since a hen has to quit laying to brood her eggs, commercial egg layers have the broodiness bred out of them as much as possible.

Good luck!
 

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Here are a ton of examples of fertile or non fertile eggs.
You can check them as you make breakfast, rather than starting incubation, to tell if your roo is getting the job done.
 
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