Broody Hens Sitting On Eggs -- A question

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


10 Years
Jun 13, 2009
I sell hatching eggs on Ebay and this is my problem: I have broody hens that go in the nest after a hen has laid and they set on the eggs keeping them warm. Then after about three or four hours I go and gather the warm egg. I take it to the house and later wrap them in bubble wrap and mail them to a customer. Since the egg was kept warm for several hours, does that mean a baby chick has started. In seeds I would call this "germinating". Don't know what you would call it in a hen's egg, but you know what I mean. If the baby starts forming because the egg was kept warm for several hours, will that baby die in transit to its destination and therefore be a dud when the buyer puts it in their incubator. This has bothered me because I don't want to mail out eggs that are not going to hatch because a broody hen sat on them and kept them warm for a period of time. Please help.

River View Farm
I believe the embryo begins to form after as little as an hour after reaching 99.5 degrees, so theoretically yes, they would start forming and then stop (die) once you shipped them. I would separate the broody so she can't sit on them anymore
That is a good question. I have cracked open eggs that have been under a broody for a few hours and there is no visual sign development has started. But the question is once the egg is put at the right temperature a week later, will it start developing normally. My guess is that a few hours wont make a difference. Our geese lay eggs over the course of a week and leave the nest most of the time during the day, but at night it is not unusual to see the goose sitting on the nest keeping it warm for hours at a time. Once the geese have laid a clutch of eggs they then get down to serious incubating, and the goslings hatch within a 24 hour period after around 28 days of incubation. I would think that chicken eggs are similar if they have been under a broody for less than say 8 hours.

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