Broody hen question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stevo, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Stevo

    Stevo Songster

    Apr 14, 2010
    Howell, NJ
    I got my EE's from Agway the week after easter. I started finding an egg every couple days last week so I check a few times a day now. Today I go out and a hen is in the nestbox. She won't get out. Well she has been sitting all morning. I went out and nudged her aside and shure enuff one small egg under her. Being the egg is small I am thinking it's her first. Should I let her sit or take the egg? My roos are gone ecept for one little bantam. They have been gone for 2 weeks. Is it posible the egg may be fertile?

    Thanks Steve
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I have hens that will spend a lot of time on a nest when laying and they are not broody. I have had plenty of hens that fluff up, have a bad attitude, and act broody but are not. If that hen spends two consecutive nights on the nest instead of roosting in her normal place then you can consider her broody. Other than the two consecutive nights, she may be thinking about it but she is not sure yet no matter what the other signs are.

    It is possible a hen is still fertile after the rooster has been gone two weeks. That is about the usual length of time a hen stays fertile after a mating. However, if the bantam rooster is old enough, it is highly likely he is keeping the hens fertile, even the full sized hens.

    If she is broody, I would suggest collecting the eggs until you have all the eggs you want her to hatch, then give them all to her at the same time. I’ll suggest you read this thread. It is about isolating a broody, but it contains some practical advice whether you isolate her or not.

    Isolate a Broody? Thread

    It is best to not try to hatch the small pullet eggs. Sometimes they will hatch but they really don’t do well. It is possible the small ones will hatch, but the eggs will get bigger over time and will hatch better when they get bigger. Let me use this photo to explain why I am against trying to hatch small pullet eggs. Assume you are a self respecting embryo and you want to develop into a health strong chick. Which of these two eggs would you want to develop in? One is the first egg from a pullet and the other is from a year old hen. As an embryo, you want to be able to get enough nutrients from what is in the egg to develop into a strong healthy chick. If you do happen to find enough nutrients to develop enough to hatch, which egg would you want to try to move in to position yourself in for the hatch? In which egg are you most likely to find enough room to develop naturally instead of having your legs scrunched up to where you could wind up a cripple? Some pullet eggs will hatch into healthy chicks, but the hatch rate is less with more of the chicks dying in the egg, more that do hatch are crippled or deformed, and they are just not as big and healthy as the chicks from the larger eggs.


    Good luck!

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