I think I have a broody hen. I've got a black silkie that has been in the nest box the last two nights when I get home from work. I don't know if she is there all day or not. Last night when I got the eggs from under her, she pecked my hand a couple of times. It didn't hurt. Tonight she didn' peck, but she didn't move either. How do you know if she is broody? This is my first year with poultry. I have some questions about this. 1. If I let her set, will she quit laying at some point and just sit? This hen lays almost every day. 2. In order to get the chicks to hatch within a day or so of each other (so they'll be the same age and so that momma wont leave the unhatched eggs) do I steal her eggs and store them until I have as many as I want to hatch? 3. Can she get up and eat or drink? Does a hen actually stay on the nest for 21 days? What about when she needs to go to the bathroom? How long could a hen be off the nest and not hurt the eggs? I'm sorry if these are stupid questions or if they have been addressed in other posts, I haven't found the answers to these quesions yet. 12-19-07 My broody silkie left the nest for most of the day. It was such a nice day outside I guess she couldn't resist. I noticed she was not on the nest this morning, another hen was in the box. Elvis (thought she was a roo) was on a roost. I opened up the coop so they could go into the run. I went shopping and was gone about 4 hours. When I came home she was outside. She didn't go in until I put all of the chickens up and closed the door. She got in the nest after that. Should I wait and candle them on Day 7 or are they ruined?