Broody letting eggs go cold

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Petra Pancake, May 4, 2017.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    Two days ago one of my hens showed unmistakable signs of broodiness. She's sitting on a clutch of 9 fertilized eggs from several flock mates, including her own. I would like her to hatch chicks. She's successfully done it in the past, at her previous owner's. But yesterday afternoon I saw her walking around and the eggs were cold to the touch. This morning she's back sitting on them as if glued on. Could the eggs be ruined from cooling down? Should I throw them out and try to collect a new batch to stick underneath her?
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK

    The eggs will most likely be fine particularly at such an early stage in development. There was a recent post by casportpony I believe where she had some eggs that had been incubating under a broody for a week. She brought them in the house intending to put them in an incubator or something and then accidentally left them on the counter for a week, then continued the incubation just to see if any would make it and apparently they hatched, which was pretty incredible, so I would definitely leave those eggs with your broody.

    It sounds like you may have jumped the gun a little with her broodiness. Most experienced people like to wait until their broodies have stuck to the nest for at least 2 days and nights solid before they give them hatching eggs.
    If you move the nest/eggs, don't expect the broody to go back to the new location after a broody break....she is homed in to where she laid her eggs, not the eggs themselves, so that can often lead to eggs being abandoned and getting cold. Also, if she is in a communal nesting box another chicken can come and lay in the nest whilst she is having a broody break and not let her back in. Sometimes the broody will just settle down in an adjacent nest to wait and then go into her broody trance and forget to get back on her eggs next door. This is not really the broodies fault but just a result of her having to brood in a communal nesting box which is not ideal for other reasons too, like eggs/hatching chicks getting trampled and broken or killed as hens climb over each other and other hens laying eggs in the nest after the original eggs have been set, causing a staggered hatch, so it is important to mark the eggs you set, if she is in a communal nesting box where other hens can still lay egg and remove other eggs daily, or preferably set your broody up with her own nest but beware she may not settle there and needs to be confined to it or supervised to ensure she returns to the correct nest location after a broody break. It usually takes my girls 3-4 days to figure out where their new nest is after they have been moved. I fasten them in it and just let them out once a day to eat, drink and poop whilst I am doing chores, so that I can monitor her and make sure she gets back into the right nest and fasten her in again before I leave.

    Anyway, just some things to consider.

    Good luck with your hatch.

    2 people like this.
  3. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    @rebrascora, thanks for your extensive answer. Maybe I really was a bit too fast there, but she took 6 of the 9 eggs by herself and started sitting on them. I just added 3. The location is a problem, she's blocking the communal nesting box. I've immediately added another box in the coop and another outdoor one in the run but so far nobody uses them. I really have to mark "her" eggs. I don't want to move her because I'm worried it might stop her being broody. Have to see if the others get the hint and start using the other boxes or not. If not, I might have to risk moving her. Or find a way to partition the coop. Anyway, I'll leave her on the eggs for now.

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