Broody's eggs disappeared will she continue to sit?


11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
North Carolina
Ethel, my little bantam mutt layed six beautiful powder blue eggs and, by my estimate, they were to hatch in the next 4-5days. Went to check in on them this morning only to find them gone without a trace. I'm thinking maybe a snake. I'm a little heart broken about it and our Cochin roo, Sparky, seems to be on high alert today.

After she had some breakfast Ethel went right back to the nesting box and plopped herself back down. Will she continue to sit and lay a new clutch? Should I see if I can hunt down any eggs for her to hatch? Aside from snake proofing im not really sure what to do.
I'd assume her life is in danger, just in case, since you don't know for sure what took the eggs, and remove her.

I'd break her off the brood, since she's shown she lacks the instinct to understand there is no purpose now; she is wasting resources and health burning away energy and nutrients to brood an empty nest. They may just be sitting there, but they are burning through resources at a fierce rate; it's metabolically demanding to incubate.

She won't lay again without a period of being broken out of broody state; the brooding-driving hormones cause her system to function in a different way, and that precludes laying for now. I'd put her in an exposed cage for a bit, with shelter from sun and rain of course, and water and food (some say not to do that, depends on the hen really, but water is a must anyway) and she should break off the brood within 48 hours. Then, ideally, she will spend some weeks getting back into condition, before beginning to lay, and then will likely set again very soon. Hopefully not too soon, the poorer condition she sets a clutch in, the poorer condition those chicks will be in, it's lose-lose all round to run females down reproductively.

If you can get any near-hatching eggs for her to set, that may work, but I wouldn't make her set another incubation period from day zero/non-developed beginnings onwards again, and really when your nest is not safe, all you're doing is feeding whatever took the eggs.

Best wishes.

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