Can a broody hen sit on old eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by |Aphrodite|, Apr 18, 2018.

  1. |Aphrodite|

    |Aphrodite| In the Brooder

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    My hen started showing signs of being broody, and today she started sitting, but the eggs she’s sitting on are a bit old (some are about a week old and others maybe older). So I was wondering if she could still hatch them, or if I should buy her some knew eggs (though I might not be able too)? Of course I’m going to wait to see if she actually is broody, but just incase. (And if you have tips please tell me!)
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Eggs are best if set within 7 - 10 days of laying. And if you give her eggs to hatch she should get them ALL on the same day. I would wait until she's been setting for 3 days and nights before committing eggs to her. Also be sure she's in a location where other hens can't drive her off the nest or add their eggs to her clutch.
     
  3. |Aphrodite|

    |Aphrodite| In the Brooder

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    Thanks! But uh.. is it still okay if she sits on slightly old eggs?
     
  4. Kessel23

    Kessel23 Free Ranging

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    Eggs can last more than a week, as long as you did not wash them. I have hatched a 2 week old Muscovy egg before, the older they get the lower the hatch rate will go though. 7 days is alright for incubating. 10 days is a little old but they still should have a decent hatch rate.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    What are you really asking? Are the eggs fertile? Are you asking if they will hatch? Or will they rot and explode? Or will she be uncomfortable?

    If you are not in a position to give her fertile eggs to hatch... and if you are not able to take care of and house more chicks, and if you do not have an exit plan for the many roosters that will result, then you should not let her hatch eggs.

    So, either give her eggs to hatch, or break her from her broodiness. Allowing a hen to stay broody is bad for her health.
     
  6. |Aphrodite|

    |Aphrodite| In the Brooder

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    Alright, thank you
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Were the eggs just left in the nest all that time?...or did you give her older eggs when you discovered she might be broody?? Did you give her those eggs for a certain reason, cockbird gone now or.....?

    It's really best to gather eggs daily, even with a possible broody...if they are really broody they don't need eggs under them to sit tight.

    After your're sure she's broody and has been sitting in the place you want her to set and hatch for 2-3 days and nights...then give her as many fresh fertile eggs as yo want her to hatch all at once.
     
    lazy gardener likes this.
  8. |Aphrodite|

    |Aphrodite| In the Brooder

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    The chickens haven't been laying as much eggs (they don't lay during winter so they're just starting too again) so I only had some from a few weeks (because I don't have new eggs daily yet) But my other chickens are starting to lay again, so maybe if she stays broody I'll give her some newer ones, and maybe ask for some from a neighbor. Does that sound like a goof plan?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    You'd definitely have better luck with fresher eggs.
    Eggs less than 7-10 days old is generally recommended.
     

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