Day 21 and no sign!?


8 Years
Oct 23, 2011
Suffolk, UK
I haven't had chicken for very long and had not anticipated any going broody as I was told the breeds are not prone to this. Bluebell, silver sussex and light sussex.
Anyway, the silver turned and i had planned to hatch indoors in an incubator. I figured I would take advantage of this and bought some fertilized eggs and replaced the eggs with the new ones. That was 21 days ago. She has left the nest occasionally for food drink etc. and i just e nest so grabbed the opportunity to check things out.
There is nothing going on at all.
At the start after a few days she decided to kick out 1 of the eggs and gather the other hens eggs so i separated them, she is now in a coop and run within the big run and gets the hump when she comes out as she cannot join the rest of the flock but quickly get over it and does her business and goes back to her nest!
I then had to take all of the other hens eggs out when i had the chance as she ended up with 12 eggs! Only 6 of which were fertile. However when i did this (having marked the fertile ones) there were only 4 there and i found some shell so presumed this was broken for some reason, too many eggs and it being broken or maybe her breaking it herself due to nature telling her it was no good.
I could not hear any peeping when i just checked and kind of expected to having read various forums etc.
is this normal, should i be worried? There are only 4 there now and I dont know what success rates are? :-/
Some good advice would be great from someone more experienced than me.
Also will she get off of the nest when and if they start to hatch or will she just let things happen underneath her?

Thanks, Paula
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I've had a broody sit and nothing happened 'till day 22. She may get a fright when the chicks start hatching, but it's unlikely. I've only seen that happen once and I've had many broodies.
These things don't always go by the book. I've had eggs hatch a couple of days early under a broody. Others on this forum have reported them being a day or two late. So don't give up all hope yet.

A common mistake many people make is to count the days wrong. There is even a calendar floating around this forum that has it wrong. An egg does not have a day's worth of development 2 seconds or 2 hours after it goes in the incubator. It takes 24 hours for the egg to have a day's worth of development. So Day 1 is actually the day after you set them. With chicken eggs, an easy way to remember it is that the day of the week you start them is the day of the week they should hatch. If you set them on a Sunday, they should hatch on a Sunday. But that is just theory. In actual practice, they can be early or late.

There are a lot of different things that go into hatchability of eggs. Things like age, health, and nutrition of the parents, how the eggs were gathered and stored, how thay were transported and handled, heredity, and who knows what else. This is all before your broody got hold of them. Many of these things were not under your or your broody's control. Those eggs can be exceptionally tough when it comes ot hatching, but with all the variables, you really can't say what the hatchability of any specific eggs will be. I've had 100% success with shipped eggs and 30% success with eggs I've picked up. That should be reversed. I've had different success rates with my own eggs under broodies and in an incubator, though never as bad as that 30% rate and usually pretty high. You just can't assign a hatchability rate to eggs, especially when a lot of the preliminary things are not in your control.

The hen will stay on the nest when they start to hatch. It will all go on under her. I always wait and let the hen decide when she will bring the chicks off the nest. I try to interfere with her as little as I can.

Good luck with your hatch. I really don't know how successful you will be but I do advise patience for a couple more days.
Thanks guys,

Its now evening and still no sign, but will give it a few days. If they haven't hatched by friday I will presume they are not going to.

1 more thing, if they do not hatch will she stay broody or will she then give up and carry on laying as normal or is she likely to remain broody until she has some chicks to care for?

Day 23 (am) and still nothing! :-(

I have lifted her wing everyday to make sure and I am now worried that this may have caused more harm than good?

I am going to wait until day 25 and then should i just discard the eggs?? Pls advise!!

Hold the eggs against your ear. I do that and sometimes I can hear the chick busy in there, getting ready to pip. Good luck! Hope you get some babies!
You can try the float test. Put the eggs in a container of warm (around 100 degree Fahrenheit) water if they have not pipped. They should float. Let it settle. If a chick is alive in there, you should see it wiggling on the water. If there is not a living chick in there, the egg will settle and not wiggle.

Broody hens cannot count, either eggs, chicks, or days. It is possible your hen will break from being broody on her own at any time or she may stay broody long enough to start some new eggs and hatch them. You are dealing with living animals. You just don't know.

If you want to break her from being broody, this thread might help. I prefer the wire bottomed cage method myself.

Break a Broody Thread

Good luck!
No. If the egg has not pipped and you don't leave it in the water for a real long time, it will cause no problems. At this late stage, it does not matter if the bloom is washed off. Bacteria won't have time to enter and multiply. Just gently dry them off before you give them back to Mama.

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