Broody hens at 22 weeks?


10 Years
May 13, 2009
Central Maine
My nieces come to my house in the morning to catch the bus and they like to go out to let the chickens out and check for eggs. Yesterday morning they came in and no eggs but said a hen was in one of the boxes. I went out later and there was 5 eggs in one box and one in another. Let me back up a little. I have 16 hens about 8 different breeds and they are 22 weeks old. We just started getting eggs last month from some of them. Usually it is between 5-7 eggs a day and I got 8 the other day. This morning same thing so I went out at about 8:30 to check on them and there was a brown egg in one of the boxes and a hen in another. At first glance I thought it was one of my white rocks because I have one that constantly runs back and forth squawking and jumping in and out of boxes and tries to climb on top of my other hens when they are in a box. She reminds me of one of my greyhounds I had that would run in circles in several places before he could find the "right spot". I was originally going to ask if she could be going broody because she acts so neurotic with the nesting boxes. She seems very intent on being in them but doesn't stay long term. So the hen is back to and starts laying an egg (which I thought was pretty cool as I have never seen one actually lay the egg) and I notice the egg looks white and the hens turns her head around. That's when I realize it's one of my white leghorns so I'm thinking she going to turn around and jump out of the box. When she stood up I noticed a couple of brown eggs in the box also. She rolled her egg near the brown ones and proceeded to sit on them. I thought maybe she was tired so I left her for a few minutes and then patted her and she did not budge. I left and went back about an hour later and she is still sitting on them. I have heard that leghorns do not tend to become broody and I had no signs other than this that she was swaying that way. Does it come on this quick? Is this a bad time to let a hen sit and are my hens old enough to have a good hatch? I'm all for getting chicks but it's starting to get cold here and I worry about the winter.

Thanks for reading!
If she spends the night on the nest, she is broody. How serious she actually is can be uncertain. In other words she may stick it out or she may not. I'd certainly give her a few days to get a better confidence factor that she is really serious. Especially with breeds that do not normally go broody, the broodiness instinct can be weak. It can also be very strong. It is very hard to say for sure.

Your eggs should still be quite small. Mine are still small with pullets a week older than yours. Some people do hatch pullet eggs, so it is possible. The odds of the chick getting too large for the egg shell and dying before hatch is increased. Chicks that do hatch from smaller eggs are more likely to be injured or generally unhealthy. I personally would wait until the eggs were larger, but you might get some to hatch successfully.

A hen can successfully raise chicks in cold weather. Her heater never goes out of service. I would not let the season stop me. But I'll repeat, I'd wait for the larger eggs or maybe look for some fertile eggs from another source. You want your first hatch to be a positive experience.
False alarm! I went out later this afternoon and she was outside and the four eggs were cooled. I have been getting some decent sized ones from my leghorns some were ouch big but some of my brown layers are still on the small size. I have only had banties in the past so to be honest even the small ones are bigger than those were. lol I am relieved though. I was worried that it may too soon.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom