Can I slip in a few more eggs after she's started brooding?


10 Years
Jun 7, 2009
First -- we've never had anything hatch here, so this is all new to me!

We have a hen who's gone broody (no roosters), and after a few days of half-heartedly trying to snap her out of it, a friend gave us two fertile (we hope) duck eggs to slip under her. They are likely a cross of Cayuga and Rouen.

After I got the eggs under our broody hen and she settled back down, I read in one of my books that a hen can cover up to ten or so duck eggs. Oh. If we've got a hen out of commission for a couple months anyway . . . Made me wish I had more than two. Someone told me that one of the local farm supply stores sells hatching eggs, but I can't find out for sure (never mind get some) until tomorrow. She's been on the eggs since around 6:30 yesterday evening. Can I add eggs to her clutch two days later, or will that mess things up? I'd love some Khaki Campbells someday. :) (Anyone have any KC hatching eggs near northeastern Maryland?)

I'm doing duck eggs instead of chicken eggs because my friend will take the ducks once they've feathered out. I don't really need more chickens right now. ;-)
Unless you start all the eggs at the same time, it is likely the hen will leave the nest after the first chicks hatch and will not finish the others. Normally a hen will sty on the nest about 1 1/2 to 2 days after the first chicks hatch........Pop
Yes, you can do it.. BUT, be ready to remove the first hatched eggs so she dosn't leave the nest before the rest hatch a few days later.. AND do not add eggs more than once... until you are more experienced at how to do this..

remember, duck eggs take at least a week longer than chicken eggs, and some take up to two weeks longer..

If the hen rolls eggs out of the nest towards the end, they will most likely be bad eggs.. don't force them back under her..
Wow, thanks so much for the quick responses! I've tried and tried for the last 36 hours to find local fertile duck eggs to add, but I haven't been successful, so I'm giving up for this time around. The broody hen can stay with two, and we'll see how it goes!

If another one goes broody sometime in the future, at least I've found places to look for Khaki Campbell eggs.

These duck eggs take 28 days. So If I were to add fertile chicken eggs (which I'm not, but if I were), would I add them on day 8?

Right. Day 8 or even 9 would usually work. I've done that a few times just to increase a hens odds of hatching something/anything. And try to remember first time broodies make mistakes, they're learning too, it's likely not all will survive. Eggs get broken, babies get squashed.

All living things learn and make mistakes so don't count your chickens or ducks before they survive the first few days after hatch, hmmm? None of us are perfect and chickens don't really have very big brains, just a bundle of instincts.

Try not to be too disappointed when she makes the errors she will. Next time she will do it better.

Good luck.

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