Annie : How many chicks can one hen hatch a year?
My Reply : It depends on the particular hen and how many times she goes broody during the year (if at all). A broody hen will build up a clutch of eggs that she can comfortably cover with her body – often around 6-12 – and then sit on those eggs, hopefully if all goes well, until they hatch which should be at around 21 days (although last year two different subscribers had theirs hatch at 27 and 28 days). She then will normally spend around two months raising her chicks. In theory she could go straight back to being broody and start the whole process again but usually a hen will only go broody once a year (if at all) and the sensible time to do so is in the Spring/Summer when it is warmer and there is plenty of food around (but of course hens aren’t always sensible).
Quick Tip : If an egg in the process of being hatched gets damaged (such as by a small crack or dent), it can sometimes be saved by melting a wax crayon onto the crack. The wax should seal it and (hopefully) prevent any infection. (The reason for it being a crayon is that the wax should be non-toxic.)