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Broody hen with too many eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kanonga, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. kanonga

    kanonga New Egg

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Oregon
    Hello!
    So I have a 9 month old black Austrolorp, and about 3 weeks ago she looked like she started to molt. She also hadn't given me any eggs in a week. So I figured that was all it was.

    But a few days after that she went missing. I have only seen her twice in the last couple weeks. I've even searched for her. And she wasn't in the coupe at night.

    Today, when I was searching for her, to my delight, she was in a small coupe across the yard. Secluded, happily in the dark. WITH 15-17 EGGS!!!!

    I've never had a broody hen before..... Is this too many eggs for one hen? They are all her own eggs. So, they won't all be developed the same right?

    I didn't touch the eggs to candle them. I didn't want my girl to abandon her eggs.

    Please give me advise or your own similar experience!! I'm very new to this, and very nervously eggcited [​IMG]
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    Good for you! And I'm glad she picked a relatively safe nesting spot. The number of eggs really depends on the size of the bird. I have fit about dozen under a Jersey Giant and a Buff Orp before. 15 sounds like quite a bit. No eggs should stick out from under the hen, and she should be able to sit comfortably on top of them. I would go out after dark and candle the eggs and see which ones are developing. Any eggs not showing development should be discarded. If she's been at it for close to three weeks, the eggs should be pretty far along, so you'll know which ones to throw out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  3. kanonga

    kanonga New Egg

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Oregon
    It is dark now, so I just candled her eggs. She was on 17 eggs total!!!

    She covered all but one egg comfortably. The one lonesome egg was ice cold. I removed it from the nest.

    All eggs(except the one I removed), were viable. But only showed early signs? I would take a picture but I used the flashlight on my phone to candle them.

    Does that mean she is sitting on duds?

    They should definetly be more developed than a dot with some veins.

    I fear she was off of the nest for too long[​IMG]
     
  4. HotDesertChick

    HotDesertChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 4, 2015
    Southern New Mexico
    Sounds like your hen was doing a great job of outsmarting you. And, yes...this is likely too many eggs under one hen.

    Unfortunately, with the setting time around three weeks, and hatching occurring at 21 days, there may be one, or two, or NO eggs hatching at this point? Candling, even with a flashlight, can help narrow down the eggs that have a chance of hatching. Many of the eggs will likely be "rotten". She could have been "collecting" eggs for much longer than a week. Until she started Setting-in-Earnest (unscientific labeling), it is difficult to judge the start of actual incubation. Hatchable eggs can be stored at much lower temps, if turned on a regular basis.

    With the large number of eggs, Loyal Mom may have reduced the chances of any eggs hatching. Hens must turn their eggs during incubation. Problems occur when dedicated hens have too many eggs to cover. With a large clutch, eggs often end up beyond the "heat zone" of Mum's feather-comfortor cover, resulting in death of embryos. I have seen bantam hens "spread far & wide" to cover their booty, but there will always be a limit to how many eggs any hen can cover. Hens that try to cover too many eggs, or multiple broody hens sparing for "the loot", will result in very poor hatching. Chilled eggs = rotten eggs.

    Candling will work, but probably a moot point at this time? Find her next go-round, , and restrict the number of eggs that Mum can cover? A few of the eggs might still hatch though. Hopefully. Give her a chance. She worked hard to set the eggs.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Jul 29, 2013
    Southern Illinois
    Agree totally. Wait a while, there still is a chance that something will come out of this clutch. As HotDesertChick said, mom worked hard! I wish you the best on this and keep the thread updated if you like!
     
  6. kanonga

    kanonga New Egg

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Oregon

    Thank you for responding.
    How many eggs do you recommend me leaving her?
    Also, could I smell the bad eggs through the shell? Or only of I crack it.
     
  7. kanonga

    kanonga New Egg

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Oregon
    I will keep this updated with my girl! I hope she works hard!! I have high hopes for this clutch- I have a variety of beautiful roosters whom she mates with. Her "boyfriend" is a blue orphington though [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  8. kanonga

    kanonga New Egg

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    Jan 24, 2016
    Oregon
    I have checked on her twice this morning. Both times she was in the coupe, but standing in the corner.... Not sitting on her eggs. Her eggs are cold to the touch. That's at least 2 1/2 hours she hasn't been on them. Or even outside with the other chickens :( [​IMG]
     

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