1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Eggs missing from broody hens nest

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LisaFoster, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. LisaFoster

    LisaFoster Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 23, 2012
    Batesville, Arkansas
    My BCM hen started sitting on five eggs about a week and a half ago. I checked on her this morning, and she only had three eggs left. Are there any possible reasons she would dispose of some of her eggs?
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    She could have have eaten some if they were somehow broken, but I would suspect rats or another egg predator.
  3. LisaFoster

    LisaFoster Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 23, 2012
    Batesville, Arkansas
    If I move her and her nest to an isolated and more secure location, do you think she will continue to sit on her remaining eggs?
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’d agree it is more likely another predator. I’ve had a snake eat eggs out from under a broody, but it’s still a bit early for snakes in Arkansas. Rats are a possibility, but so is a possum or skunk. Or it might be something else.

    It’s also possible they were broken by the broody or another chicken laying in there. Sometimes a broody welcomes other hen laying in her nest and sometimes they fight to keep them out. An egg broken is likely to be eaten. There are just a lot of possibilities.

    If you move her, prepare the place ahead of time. You need an area big enough for her nest, for some food and water, and for her to go poop without getting that in her nest or the food and water. You’ll probably wind up cleaning it out some so you need access. She will need to be locked in that area to keep her from going back to her old nest and to keep other things out, whether predators or other hens wanting to lay. And make the nest as dark as you can. That seems to calm them.

    I suggest moving her at night after things are really dark. Use as little light and commotion as possible. I also suggest doing something that some people might first think is cruel but it really isn’t. I’d lock her in the nest itself for all the next day, maybe letting her out just before dark to eat, drink, and maybe poo. Make sure she has some ventilation so she doesn’t smother. This time of year you should not have to worry about her cooking if it gets too hot. A broody regularly stays on the nest for all day anyway. If you lock her in that dark place where she has no choice but to stay on the nest, she is more likely to accept the new location.

    They are living animals. I cannot give you a guarantee that she won’t break from being broody or won’t refuse to accept the new nest. But I think this gives you a fairly good chance of success.

    Good luck!!!
    1 person likes this.
  5. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Ridgerunner pretty much covered it. I'd only like to add that I have moved several broodies to more secure locations, and most went right on brooding without any problems.
  6. LisaFoster

    LisaFoster Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 23, 2012
    Batesville, Arkansas
    Thank you all so very much. This is my first experience with a broody hen, so I'm really excited and proud for her. I'm going to risk moving her this evening. I figure the odds are better of her staying broody, than of me catching the snake, or whatever it is.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by