Broody gave up - do the eggs still have a chance?

CHICKEN BUFF

Songster
5 Years
Jan 16, 2015
150
38
127
My 18-month-old Cochin hen went broody for the first time. She appeared absolutely committed, and was fiercely determined to nest in a corner of the coop. I finally left her alone and gave her some fertile eggs in the middle of the night which she adopted. For a few days, she slept on the eggs, and only left them once a day to eat and drink. The other birds didn’t bother her, but today she suddenly abandoned her eight eggs with no warning, and returned to the flock. Tonight I found her roosting on the perches with the other hens. I gathered up her abandoned eggs and put them in the incubator. Do the eggs still have a chance? And why did she give up?
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jan 30, 2015
51,354
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Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
1,109
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they can go many hours. they go into a dormant state and stand a chance of rebounding up to something like 12 hours without heat. I looked into it because the electricity went out in my house while incubating. it was out for several hours, I still had an 80% hatch rate.
 

CHICKEN BUFF

Songster
5 Years
Jan 16, 2015
150
38
127
Omigosh, that's a huge relief to know they're resilient. She was off the nest most of the day and didn't return to them that night. Fortunately it was a warm day, but still, the eggs were cold to the touch when I finally intervened and popped them in the incubator. The hen sat on them for five solid days with only a tiny break each day. So do I take five days away from 21 when calculating the possible hatch day? And do I count the day she left them to themselves? (Where were math problems like THIS in school, LOL!)
 

Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
1,109
1,696
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Pacific Northwest
I would assume the original hatch date but be ready for some "late bloomers" by a day or so. you can candle them in a few day with no ill effect. I would really try and get everything spot on from here out, humidity and temp. I would not trust her with this batch again. I have read that the good rule of thumb is not to trust a hen till she's been sitting solidly for 5 ish days and then, if she gets up, to not trust her going forward. that said, I have a BO that didn't quite know what she was doing the first year, sat on eggs for a night or two and then gave up, I figured she was not reliable but then this year she seemed to kick in full throttle so I waited for like 7 days and then put some eggs under her and she was rock solid and has turned out to be a great mom. so there are a lot of factors to consider when trying to decide which one to trust and it's always a bit of a gamble, but wow is it awesome when it works out, nothing compares to the real thing when it comes to chick health and happiness as a broody hen! good luck!!
 

DGiossi

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2015
6
1
12
This may be a silly question but.. Have you candled the eggs to see if they started developing? At 5 days you should see a well defined black spot with some vein activity along with a defined air sack on one end. I have had some very good mother hens roll select eggs out from under them and only sit on others. I candled the abandoned eggs to find that there was no development in them. I have also had some that just didn't like being broody. I have found what others have said that the eggs can go several hours without being sat on and still survive in the incubator. I have had a great hatch rate with the type of incubator that is programmed to cool for an hour a day. The safest thing though is to candle the eggs to see how they did under mom. Sometimes animals just know.
 

CHICKEN BUFF

Songster
5 Years
Jan 16, 2015
150
38
127
I'll definitely try candling in a few days. I don't dare disturb them right now, but I can see the value of checking up on them early in the process.
 

CHICKEN BUFF

Songster
5 Years
Jan 16, 2015
150
38
127
I would assume the original hatch date but be ready for some "late bloomers" by a day or so. you can candle them in a few day with no ill effect. I would really try and get everything spot on from here out, humidity and temp. I would not trust her with this batch again. I have read that the good rule of thumb is not to trust a hen till she's been sitting solidly for 5 ish days and then, if she gets up, to not trust her going forward. that said, I have a BO that didn't quite know what she was doing the first year, sat on eggs for a night or two and then gave up, I figured she was not reliable but then this year she seemed to kick in full throttle so I waited for like 7 days and then put some eggs under her and she was rock solid and has turned out to be a great mom. so there are a lot of factors to consider when trying to decide which one to trust and it's always a bit of a gamble, but wow is it awesome when it works out, nothing compares to the real thing when it comes to chick health and happiness as a broody hen! good luck!!
Good points all --- Maybe she'll do better next year.
 

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