To Set or Not to Set: That is the Question (And it’s a non-rhetorical one, meaning I actually want an answer, k?)

This morning, four of these

2-22-2013 Eggs Set

went under one of these:

Broody silkie hen

The mother is resting comfortably. We hope the eggs are comfy too, but they’re not saying. Expected hatch date: March 12.

This leaves me with a dilemma: To set or not to set the remaining seven eggs in the incubator.

Pros of setting:

  • Replacements to put under her if any of the four fail to develop
  • No waste
  • More babieeeeesss!!

Cons of setting:

  • Set-up time and trouble
  • Someone has to take care of the incubator babieeesss when they hatch and I don’t want to

K. A little background. We’ve decided that our flock is going to become self-sustaining. This means we need birds that are good layers AND produce good meat. I want to do it inexpensively and locally as much as possible. A little research turned up barred rocks as a an excellent dual-purpose breed and BONUS they’re readily available locally. I’ve got a couple young barred rock roosters already. Remember this? Here they are now:

(Insert pic of barred rocks) (Update: I don’t actually have a pic of our barred rocks at present and I don’t feel like going to get one. This is an awesome opportunity for you to use your imagination, which is good for your brain. You’re welcome. You could also just use google. All barred rocks look the same.)

Sadly, two roosters do not make a good start for a self-sustaining flock. In case you’re not sure how that works, well, nevermind. It just doesn’t work, okay?

So I need hens, and one of my silkies decided to go broody on a golf ball (yes, y’all, seriously. She decided to try to brood and raise a golf ball. I’m not sure what she expected to come of that. I took it away. I’m sorry, but golf balls do not make good sons. They just don’t. Stop asking so many questions. Geez). So of course the logical thing was to buy some fertile barred rock eggs and set them up under her. So that’s what I did–the same guy who sold me the chicks for my brooder also sold me those eggs.

Unfortunately, she seems to think that a single golf ball is much more comfy to sit on than a dozen large eggs. So we compromised: She gave me the golf ball, and I only asked her to sit on four eggs. Leaving me with seven (I KNOW the math doesn’t work. Stop being so literal).

So, tell me what you think in the comments. Because I can’t figure out how to set up a poll in non-self-hosted WordPress. You can tell me how to do that in the comments too. Or whatever. Comment about your dog or what you had for breakfast if you’d rather. It’s all good.

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9 responses to “To Set or Not to Set: That is the Question (And it’s a non-rhetorical one, meaning I actually want an answer, k?)

  1. I feel like this is obvious, but maybe I’m missing something. (And also I’m a very presumptive, decisive person to an annoying degree. “Obviously this is the solution, twit,” etc.) Throw out the other selkie eggs. Waste? Yeah, but you can also waste your time, and you can also have more selkies than you want/need. Nip that thing in the bud. Go buy your barred rock eggs and stick those under her. Work toward the end goal, right? Everything else is a distraction…

    /annoying decisiveness, perhaps misinformed

    • Jaimie–if they were silkie eggs I definitely would. Actually, we’d just eat them.

      But they are barred rock eggs that I bought (OH I just re-read the thing and realize how very NOT CLEAR that is… rewrite coming shortly…), and I can’t just replace them until I have hens of my own… so there’s a risk that I won’t get any to hatch under the hen, or they’ll all be roosters… and I’ll be back to square one, having to buy more eggs or chicks or something. So that’s why I’m considering incubating the ones that didn’t fit under Dixie…

      Oh, ONE of those eggs IS a silkie egg–it’s the little one on top left. They’re smaller than normal eggs. I do like having the small silkie flock too, because they make such great brooders, and raise the babies for me.

      K. Gotta go add a sentence to make this more clear. Thanks. 🙂

  2. She’ll hatch them famously! Put the others in the incubator and give her those babie too when they hatch and she’ll raise them all. I vote for to set!

  3. I was thinking what missjekyl suggested– though, disclaimer, I’ve never had a momma go broody! Try adding the babies at night and maybe she’ll be one proud little hen! Worst case is you spend a few weeks raising them in a brooder, but NOW you’re set up to not have to do this next year 😉 PS Loved the “voice” in this article. Too funny!!

  4. Great ideas, guys! Thank you. I set the incubator up before leaving the house this morning. I have to wait on it to warm up and settle in, then there will be adjustments before I can rely on it staying steady… so I probably won’t be able to set the eggs until tomorrow. I love the idea of giving them to her after the hatch–haha! She sits on four eggs, hatches out a dozen babies! Magic Mama! Her older sister–who is currently raising a batch of her own babies–adopted her when she was a baby, after their mother was taken by a raccoon, so I know it’s in her genes to want to raise those babies whether she hatched them or not. And hopefully it will be warm enough by mid March that it won’t matter if they can’t all fit all the way under her. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. So, I have two. Two. 2. 2 purebred Americauna eggs I have collected. I have no broody hen or incubator. Everything else would be 1/2 Americauna and any of the following breeds; RIR, Barred Rocks or Golden Comets. Would you want to fill your incubator with those? And or could add some Magpie duck eggs – if I can ever find them. I know they are out there. Just not sure where they laid them. found one in the “pool-pond”. I say set them…and let me have the golf ball…

    • Hahaha! You can have the golf ball. 🙂 If you want to drop eggs by my house tonight (late–after 8pm) or early tomorrow, I’ll put them in with the others and you can have any of the babies you want (except the barred rocks–those are MINE :D), and you or I can sell any of the others that we don’t want. Better yet, I’ll just give you any of the babies *I* don’t want and let you deal with them. :p

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