Broody hen and leaving eggs


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 11, 2011
Hi all,

We have a girl being broody, but she keeps leaving the eggs. Isn't she supposed to stay with them? If she doesn't, they won't hatch, right?

Also, we have 16 hens and only 2 or 3 are laying (at least in the coop). Surely, they are laying *somewhere*, right? They free range. It seems odd to have so few laying. They are 6 months now. Should we keep them in the coop for a day or two to see if more are laying? If they are laying elsewhere, will keeping them in the coop help them start laying there?

Broody hens will leave for one or two short breaks a day to go to the bathroom and get food and water. That's fine. If she's leaving more than that, she's not really fully committed to being broody, so she may decide to sit in the future or she may not.

It is possible your free range birds are hiding eggs. Shutting them in for a week or two usually helps them get in the habit of using the coop, but every now and then there is a hen who is just determined to hide her eggs and she'll go back to hiding them.
Are you sure she's really broody? (she quit laying, right?) Is she going out into the run, or just switching nest boxes? How long has she been sitting? How often is she getting off the eggs and for how long is she off them?

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