Broody got trapped off of nest... eggs dead?


10 Years
Jun 11, 2009
Nova Scotia
I had an escape route in my fence and the one and only chicken that decided to take a stroll was a broody hen sitting on about 22 eggs. The eggs are at all different stages because all of the other hens have been laying there and it took me a long while to realize why my egg production "dropped". Anyway, she got out and could not find her way back in. 2 eggs were just barely warm and the rest were cold. It is a cool day today, only about 12 or 14 degrees when I got home and discovered what happened.
I tried candling a few, i took out some of the ones that had not even started. It is hard to tell what I am looking at, I am new to this. I did not see any movement. She has been sitting for about 14 days. What a waste. I am heartbroken. Could any of them survive or should I throw them all away? Will she keep sitting on dead rotting eggs?
Yes she may still sit on rotten eggs. I think you should allow her to finish sitting on them, I had heard of mallard eggs being left for 2 days half way through incubation and then still hatching.

After she gets some babies to hatch(she may wait 2-3 days) she will get off the nest. So if they are all at different stages of incubation chances are they won't all hatch.

Good luck, I'm sure most of them are fine.
I'm on day 20 with a hen who twice (that I know of) got confused and sat on the wrong nest. Eggs were cold both times. We'll see what happens.
Keep us posted.
My Buff Orpington had gotten shut out of the coop she was setting in & I didn't realize it for hours. when I opened the door for her to get back in she sat in a different box. I figured that egg she'd sat on for 5 days already had been left too long & it was cold so I slipped the eggs the other hens had laid that day under the hen & then thinking "what the heck" I slipped her original egg back under her too & sure enough that was the first one hatched... I'd slip the eggs back under her if it were me.
Ok, well then if there is still hope, I will let her sit. Luckily, I have another sitting hen, she has not left the nest and is due June 17.
When I candle eggs, if I can see a small being inside and it changes location as I move the egg, always floating on top, is this a potentially healthy early stage egg?
When the egg is more advanced and everything is dark except for an air space, would I also always expect to see it moving inside? I didnt see any movement, not even with the eggs from the other sitting hen.
If there is a ring of any kind, this egg is dead and should be removed, right?
Also the comb of the better sitting hen is all white with something, looks like heavy dense dandruff. I thought mites but I do not see anything moving around.
And how do I discourage other hens from laying in the boxes where my sitting hen is? She has so many she has to rotate them in and out.
It may be risky but maybe I could move her to a less popular nesting box?
My first broodiy this year started setting when the day time temps were 20 degrees - and the little knuckle head CONSTANTLY got back on the wrong nest! I found the eggs stone cold more than once, but I would just put her back on them. She managed to have a 100% hatch rate - and I was shocked. I figured there was NO WAY she was going to pull that off as much as she was off that nest. But she did. The cold eggs may be just fine.

If you can't move her to a brooder pen, can you block off the front of the nest she's in? I only have two brooder pens - and four broodies right now. So I put two in brooder pens, and closed off the front of the nests the other two are in with chicken wire. I stapled it on one side of the nest box, and then just hooked it to the other so I can let them out when they want out. Hard to explain, but you can see pictures here:

always mark the eggs they are setting on - but it is much more peaceful if I just put the broodies and eggs in a brooder pen, or section off the nest they are in. If you leave the brooder pen or nest open while the broody gets off the nest for a break, be sure to check under her before you close her back in for new eggs others may have deposited while she was gone. They LOVE to do that ;-)

Best of luck,
What do you do with your chicks once they leave the brooder pens? You mentioned in your blog that they are only in there a couple of weeks.

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