Why Do Hens Leave the Nest After Laying an Egg?

A Hen Knows Best…

Chickens never lay more than one egg per day. If the eggs are not collected, and a sufficient number of eggs are allowed to remain in the nest, the hen may stop laying eggs and start brooding. When the hen leaves the nest after laying an egg, it cools which suspends the development of the embryo inside. If the temperature remains between 45F and 65F, the embryos will remain viable for as long as two weeks. When the hen becomes broody and sits on her eggs for three weeks, all of the eggs will hatch at about the same time. This is why it is normal for the hen to leave the nest after laying.

Orpington
Buff Orpington: friendly, docile, excellent layer, has broody tendencies

Remember, not all hens will sit on eggs…ever. However, some breeds have very strong tendencies to become broody, or be inclined to incubate eggs.

Here are a few common broody breeds…

•Buff Orpingtons
• Silkies
• Cochins
• Light Brahmas
• Dark Cornish
• Buff Rocks
• Turkens
•Buff Brahmas
• Cuckoo Marans
• Cochin Bantams
• Cornish Bantams

 

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What Is the True Definition of Free-Range Chicken?

by Cheryl Long

“Free range” refers to chickens being allowed to range freely outdoors where they can eat whatever grass, weed seeds, insects and worms they choose. This results in more nutritious eggs and meat for consumers, and more healthy, humane conditions for the birds. Some producers abuse this term and label their eggs as “free range” when in fact all they have done is open a door to allow their chickens to range in an outdoor area of bare dirt or concrete, with no pasture in sight.

Thus you need to confirm if your eggs or chicken comes from “true” or “pastured” or “grass-fed” free-range conditions. Also, some producers choose a modified system that involves keeping birds safe from predators by confining them in pens or inside electric fencing, and moving the pens frequently onto fresh pastures. Thus, pastured birds may be true free-range or penned, but either system is correctly referred to as “pastured.” And either system is a better choice than products that come from industrial factory farm conditions.

To learn a great deal more about all the terminology you might have to decipher on egg cartons these days (like “cage free” or “enhanced with omega-3s”), check out How to Decode Egg Cartons.

See also:  USDA definition

The United States Department of Agriculture offers this definition:

FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING: Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.

But “allowing access” doesn’t mean much. A small door in a barn with thousands of chickens technically gives chickens an opportunity to go outside, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll have access to grass (it may only be a concrete slab). For chickens to produce the most healthful and flavorful eggs and meat, they need to be able to eat a variety of green plants, seeds and bugs. Unfortunately, you can’t tell how the chickens live by reading the package in a store. I’d encourage you to find a local farmer who raises poultry on pasture.

For more information on this subject, read Free Range vs. Pastured: Chickens and Eggs.

 Troy Griepentrog, associate editor

Source:Mother Earth News
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