Broody chicken! - can she hatch duck eggs?


9 Years
Jul 10, 2010
I have a broody chicken! She's a year old, has always been a bit of a loner and has shown "broody characteristics", but yesterday noticed she sat in a nesting box all day and has been there all day today as well. I put a couple of eggs under her this afternoon, but was wondering if there is any chance that she could hatch a duck egg or two? I know that the time to hatch is longer so wasn't sure if this would be possible. Also, as this is the first time for her to go broody what is the chance she will stay on the nest long enough to hatch? I wonder if since she is fairly young she will decide not to commit for the full time needed to hatch.
Will she just sit the extra week or so after the chicks have hatched to hatch the ducklings or will I have to remove the chicks until the ducks hatch?
Good point...Some hens are able to wait it out until all of the eggs hatch, but that's only if the wait is very short (and they can feel the baby moving around or peeping inside the shell). I would imagine if they have no way of knowing that the baby still needs time, they would get up and do their own thing with the ones they already have.

I would remove the chicken eggs in this situation. It's not worth the risk.
Thanks for the help. Maybe I will leave the duck egg, add another tomorrow, then wait seven days, then add the chicken eggs so they all should hatch around the same time. Thoughts on that idea?
I did this very thing last summer. Worked for me! She hatched 3/3 duck eggs, and then the next day hatched 6/7 chicken eggs.

Great picture! She is still in her nesting box today and I'm getting even more excited! Right now she seems fine in the coop, but should I plan to move her to a different location, away from the other chickens so that when the chicks and duckling hatch they are separated, especially since they may not all hatch at the same time?
If you move her she may stop being broody or refuse to brood in her new nest. Can you move her and her nest into a cage? Or can you build a cage around the nest she's in with out disturbing her too much? Or, if she's pretty devoted to her nest (always in the same nest and doesn't let other hens use it), you may be able to just leave her where she's at, and then make some kind of a wall/fence on the front, keeping the babies in. I really doubt that she'd leave her all of her babies (except maybe for a very short break).

BTW, I assume your hen is staying on the nest overnight, right?

So far this year I've had a hen hatch out 7 turkey poults. I didn't have to separate her from the flock because she was really good at keeping her nest. She would wait to leave the nest (for her daily eat/drink/poop/stretch-legs routine) until the afternoon when the other hens were done laying and wouldn't take her nest. During the high-traffic laying time (8am-1pm) she'd stay on her nest, with her head in the back and her tail in the front so that the hens couldn't peck her on the head. She was one smart hen, a keeper!

I have another hen with turkey eggs due the May 28th!
Correct, she is staying there overnight. Going on day 4 or 5 now I believe. I haven't actually seen her off the nest but know that he has gotten up to eat/poop at some point. My husband found her this afternoon in the wrong nesting box after getting up. He moved her back over and she nestled back in where she should be. I don't really have a way to move the nest with her or wall off one portion of the coop with my set up. I could section off a corner of the run and put a dog house in there for her.

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