Clumsy hen crushes egg
Some hens are just too heavy and clumsy to make a good broody hen. One thing you can do is to check her nails. If they are too long that could be why the eggs are getting broke. Have you ever watched this hen turn her eggs? Last fall I had a silkie that was so energetic when turning the eggs with her beak that each time eggs were knocked from the nest. If they didn't roll too far she would pull them back into the nest. Those that rolled out of reach were ruined. I did not used that silkie for brooding again.
As for the eggs I'd lightly wipe the eggs and hope for the best. I would not wash them.
Thanks for the reply. I dry wiped the dried on egg off best I could and changed the nest. I've not seen her turn the eggs at all. I'm going to put a camera up to watch.
How can I clean her up? I can't bath her obviously. Will her messy eggy bum hurt? Should I cut the eggy feathers back? Yes, it's what I would do. Dried egg does not clean easily.
I think bacteria more likely to enter a "washed" egg.
I make their nest in an old drawer so that eggs can't get rolled out. I put a lot of sawdust/shavings in the bottom and then straw on top. My current broody, Frances, has wriggled and wriggled until the eggs are right down in the bottom now after 2 weeks and the sides are so high you can hardly see her.
I agree some chickens are just a bit heavy and clumsy to be broodies but it may also be that those eggs that broke have been too thin shelled and fragile for broody incubation. My first broody pooped in the nest towards the end of incubation and all 14 eggs hatched without being cleaned at all and were healthy chicks, so I would be inclined not to worry about washing the egg off.
I use straw. When I used wood shavings eggs got lost in the stuff and the nests did not hold their shape so that the eggs were not held under the hens. Straw holds its shape better and I've had more eggs hatch as the result.
I guess, no matter what, there's going to be a problem with any method..
I find the combination of the two materials works best for me although it's more slightly dampened sawdust than shavings that I use and I dust the drawer thoroughly with DE and mix a bit into the nesting material before I set the eggs. The drawer I have is quite compact so there is no room for eggs to roll away from her as the nesting material and the depression she makes in the middle makes it all very snug and I can hang feed and water cups over the side of the drawer, so that they are within her reach on the nest. The drawer gets put inside a cupboard with holes drilled in the front for ventilation, in the hen house and I open the door once a day and let her out to poop and exercise/dust bath etc.