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do hens know when 21 days is up if nothing hatches?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pinkyglory123, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. pinkyglory123

    pinkyglory123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2010
    Have a broody that ended up setting on a huge pile of eggs without me realizing it. Do hens know when it is futile to set any longer if nothing hatches? Will they eventually give up?
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Yes, they know when to stop setting. It is built into the hen and at some point she will either know the eggs are viable or not. Sometimes they will kick out bad eggs. But if the entire batch is full of duds, she will know and get off the pile of eggs. :)
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    A broody hen may stay on the nest for 1-2 weeks past the normal 21-day incubation period before giving up.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees they may stay on eggs for a long time past 21 days...up to the keeper to monitor and remove old eggs that may explode.

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