Broody Hen now has "extra eggs" in her clutch......what to do?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by koley7, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. koley7

    koley7 Hatching

    Nov 17, 2008
    I have a broody hen, one of my buff orpington girls, who has been setting on a clutch of eggs since March 19. She's been setting in a regular nest box in the main coop with all the other girls. She was setting on 13 eggs (or so I thought......).

    Late last night, since she's getting close to hatch date, my son & I moved her into the 'nursery', so she has her own safe space to raise the little ones for a few weeks till i put them with the others. Well, I picked up Mama Hen and my son gathered the eggs to move. When he brought them into the nursery in the egg basket, i thought "That's WAAAAAY more than 13 eggs!!!!!" Ok. I'll count them. There are now 18 eggs! What?!?!

    Since she's been in what I call "general population" (all my other chickens together) i suspect when she does her daily eat, drink and poop, the other hens must have jumped in, laid another egg, and then gotten off. Apparently 5 times this happened.......

    What should I do? Obviously there are 5 eggs not on schedule for our April 9th hatch date. They are probably fertile since we have 2 roos (and 14 hens). If there are a bunch that don't hatch on time can I candle them and then go to plan B with that group of half done eggs?

    Any suggestions? I'm sure i'm not the first one to have this happen to. I've done the broody hen and chicks thing 3 other times, but always moved them by themself at the beginning. This Mama Hen didn't want to be moved at first, so I left her. She's still setting faithfully.

    Thanks in advance for any good ideas.......

  2. mags2009

    mags2009 Songster

    Aug 8, 2009
    you can candle them and see which ones are developing...when you know, make a dot with a washable marker on those eggs.
  3. FlaRocky

    FlaRocky Songster

    All I know is for next time, I would mark the ones she starts with a marker then the sneaky hens eggs can be removed. That is what I did. They kept sneaking on the nest and leaving extra ones. I kept track of when she started setting and marked those. Then waited to move her until the day before hatch. Left her in the coop in a wolf size wire crate set up for her and the chicks. Put chicken wire around it for chick safety. They way in a few weeks the can be turned in with the others.

    Don't know other than to candle to see where you stand on the other eggs.

  4. I would leave them all with her for now. She might still hatch them if they are a few days behind the others. Next time mark the eggs your broody is sitting on. I use a sharpie pen because its easy to see. Pencil wears off before they hatch. I also lift them off the nest everyday to get any eggs that sometimes get laid in her nest.

    I've always left my broody hens raise the chicks in with their flock mates. This way i don't have to worry about any conflicts reintroducing them. I made a little wire cage that the chicks can fit through but the big chickens can't, this is where I put medicated food for the chicks.
  5. koley7

    koley7 Hatching

    Nov 17, 2008
    Thanks for the input. I think I'll candle any eggs that don't hatch on hatch day to see which are still viable, and then put in the neighbors incubator.

    Next time i need to leave my broody in with her cage mates I will surely mark those eggs she started out with. I have learned a lot from this!

    Anyhow, I sure hope top have a good hatch on Easter or the next day! Woo hoo for home grown chicks!
  6. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    I hate to tell you this, but isolating her won't guarantee there won't be extra eggs! Our broody was still laying while broody. She was acting broody for a week in the coop before we gave her some to hatch. We had isolated her and marked the eggs, then discovered two days later that there were extra eggs under her. Fortunately it was very obvious because the extras were orpington eggs and I had put blue and marans eggs under her. ( She is an orpington)
    She successfully hatched 8 out of 12 last Thursday. One was crushed early in the week. Three were left in the nest Friday when she decided to take the hatchlings out. By the time I noticed, they were cold. I opened them: one looked like an earlier death ( it smelled slightly). The other two may have been viable but who knows?
    So moral of the story: mark your eggs and check the numbers every so often, especially early in the game:)

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