Can I put 16 day old fertile eggs from a brooder under a broody hen ????

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Biyka, May 24, 2016.

  1. Biyka

    Biyka New Egg

    May 24, 2016

    I have 12 fertile eggs which have been in the incubator for 15 days all eggs have chicks inside and are ready to hatch in 6 to 7 days. I have a Silkie Hen who has just gone broody and has set on 1 egg.

    My question is can I put the 12 fertile eggs from the incubator under the broody Silkie, bearing in mind they are hatching within a week as normally she would sit on her eggs for the full 21 days prior to hatching
  2. Rod-T

    Rod-T Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2015
    Deer park, Washington
    If she's setting good. .I think so
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    First, I don't believe chickens can count. They have no idea how many days have passed since they started brooding.

    That said, I do believe broodiness is hormonally controlled, and those hormones take time to develop and reach peak levels. Once a hen goes broody, her system starts on a 3 week cycle where different hormones flow and ebb. Trying to shorten that cycle usually fails as the hormones just don't support the next step in the process, mothering live chicks vs setting on a nest.

    If the hen in question has a good history of maternal behavior, has raised chicks before and done well, you could give it a try. I'd be available to keep a close eye on things, though, as she may not accept them. If she's a new or untried broody, I'd go ahead and brood the chicks yourself and set more eggs under the hen.

    I just had two broodies in the same pen. I let them set on air for the 21 days as I'd just set shipped eggs in the incubator. The night before my eggs hatched, a third hen went totally and whole-heartedly broody. Some of the chicks were near the new broody when I was grafting them to the old broodies, and she gave them some pretty good pecks and was very unhappy with their presence.
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Each hen is different and you won't know until you try. Being a silkie I would stick them under her and watch to see if she continues to set, if she stays on the nest you should be fine. Just be around when they hatch in case you need to intervene.

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