Broody Hen in Winter - Should I let her sit on eggs?

PEI chicken

11 Years
Aug 13, 2010
Prince Edward Island, Canada
I have a young hen -- she just started laying eggs in November -- that wants to sit on eggs, on the only nest in the coop shared with 4 other hens. This just started in the last week, but when I removed 4 eggs from under her this morning she pecked me very hard!

I added a rooster to the pen this morning. If she is determined to sit on eggs, they may as well be fertile.
I planned to hatch out eggs in a few months anyway when the weather is warmer. I will set up a nest and brooding pen for her in the empty greenhouse away from the other hens. So, here are my questions:

1. How many days after introducing the rooster will eggs become fertile?
2. She is a large hen (half Columbian Rock and half easter egger). How many eggs should I let her try to incubate? I plan to add some silver pencilled Plymouth Rock eggs to her nest. That is the breed of the rooster and other hens.

Thanks for any suggestions you would like to provide.
I had a very young Partridge Rock pullet go broody on me in November. She never really broke until the full three weeks were up. I doubted that she would be able to keep any babies alive in our cold winter. I picked her up every morning and took her to an outdoor food and water area. Had Buff Orpington pullet go broody earlier in the fall. I carried her from the haybarn to a secure coop every night. Then I forgot about her one night and there were only feathers in the morning.

Since the Partridge Rock hen sat all three weeks (in spite of efforts to break her) I think she will be successful in the spring. I may order eggs for her to sit on. I need a PR rooster.

I think it will be risky for the hen to go broody in late Fall or Winter. Not eating and drinking well as cold weather hits puts her at risk.
Hi Chipolte

Thank you for your reply and an explanation of your experiences. Terrible to lose a nice hen that way; my sympathy to you.

Since I put the rooster in the pen two days ago, the young hen decided that she isn't broody anyway

Strangely, yesterday one of the five hens or the rooster decided to houseclean the nesting box. It was completely cleared of straw and wood chips, twice! I thought at first that since I had just introduced the rooster, he must be an egg eater! But was relieved that 4 eggs were laid in the afternoon, as usual.

So, to round out my story, it looks like I will be waiting a few months before trying to hatch chicks. Just as well in this cold weather!

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