Broody hens chosen for natural incubation should be large enough to cover and keep more eggs warm and should remain sitting on the eggs with ruffled feathers well spread on the eggs, making a distinctive clucking sound and frequently turning the eggs in the nest. Once in a while, the hen goes off the nest to scavenge or for other reason – a phenomenon known as bouting. During this period, the nest temperature and relative humidity may be compromised; yet, the eggs will hatch. Unfortunately, little is known about this habit hence this study. Three broody hens already in a natural incubation process were monitored and data were gathered on bouting behaviour, incubation period, temperature, relative humidity, hatchability and embryo mortality. It was shown that the incubation temperature (33.1-35.8 °C) and relative humidity (20-65%), nest temperature (28-33 °C) and relative humidity (10-20%) during bouting for 15 minutes, did not adversely affect the hatchability (90.9-100%). It was observed that the hens did not bout in the first and last 3 days of incubation; yet, bouted 7-8 times during the entire period. Consequently, hatchability may not be adversely affected by low incubation temperature and relative humidity during bouting of up to 15 minutes.
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