Giving a broody hen some eggs

Feather babies

In the Brooder
Aug 4, 2015
17
2
49
Vancouver Island Canada
Ok, so I have a broody hen with about 8 eggs under her. I have marked the eggs she has been sitting on for about 5 days. I collect the unmarked eggs from under her daily. (Yes I have a rooster) I have an opportunity to get some fertilized eggs for a breed I really want. Is it ok to add these fertilized eggs to the current eggs? Or is the time difference going to be a problem. Or could I replace the current eggs with the new ones? Any advice would be appreciated. New at hatching.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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I would not try to add eggs to the current batch. Once the first chick hatches, the hen usually only waits 2 days before abandoning the nest. Your special added eggs would not be quite ready to hatch at that point.

If you really want the breed in question, and the eggs already under her are just barnyard mix or hatchery stock, I'd say toss the current clutch and set the special eggs. Mark them (unless they're a different color than anything your hens lay) and continue to check every day to remove "donated" eggs the other hens may add to the clutch. Mark the calendar for 21 days and wait for the magic
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donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
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Best of luck! If you've not had a broody raise chicks before, you're in for a real treat. That's hand's down my favorite part of keeping birds
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chuckachucka

Crowing
Mar 22, 2016
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Hi I have a hen who recently started laying eggs. We also have a cockerel and I know the eggs are fertilised. We were hoping to hatch the eggs and the hen has so far laid eleven eggs. Yesterday and the day before she sat on them for a few hours and when I came near her she growled at me and ruffled up her feathers whilst sitting on them, but then late afternoon she got off and wandered out of the coop. She didn't return to the eggs until this morning. She is now sitting again doing the protective thing but I'm worried she will leave the nest again later. What's going on? Is it possible for a hen to become half broody? Is she just practising or still getting there? When she started laying the eggs she would sit there for like an hour while laying then leave. Increasingly she is sitting longer and longer until the growling started two days ago. I really thought that was it yesterday! She sat seven hours before abandoning the nest. :(
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
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Consett Co.Durham. UK
@chuckachucka

Hi

It sounds like she is thinking of going broody, but not quite there yet. That said, it might just be a passing phase on this first occasion, particularly if she is young, which it sounds like she is, as her hormones will not be fully settled into an egg laying routine, let alone broody mode.

Whilst I think leaving eggs in the nest can tip a hen that is on the verge of being broody, into fully broodiness, I also think it can encourage a young pullet that is perhaps not quite ready for it, into having a go when she is not really fully committed to the idea. This may result in her not going the full distance or being erratic when she takes breaks and how long she stays off the nest. It sounds like your hen may be in that category.
For me, particularly with first time broodies, once they will stay on the nest a night or two, without anything under them, then they are truly broody and are given eggs to hatch.

Good luck with your girl and I entirely agree with @donrae, broody hens with chicks are the best part of chicken keeping.

Regards

Barbara
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
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Southern Oregon
Hi I have a hen who recently started laying eggs. We also have a cockerel and I know the eggs are fertilised. We were hoping to hatch the eggs and the hen has so far laid eleven eggs. Yesterday and the day before she sat on them for a few hours and when I came near her she growled at me and ruffled up her feathers whilst sitting on them, but then late afternoon she got off and wandered out of the coop. She didn't return to the eggs until this morning. She is now sitting again doing the protective thing but I'm worried she will leave the nest again later. What's going on? Is it possible for a hen to become half broody? Is she just practising or still getting there? When she started laying the eggs she would sit there for like an hour while laying then leave. Increasingly she is sitting longer and longer until the growling started two days ago. I really thought that was it yesterday! She sat seven hours before abandoning the nest.
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What breed is she? Some breeds really tend to go broody, others not so much.

If you're wanting her to go broody, here's what I would do. I'd mark the 11 eggs that are there--it sounds like you've left them all in the nest, correct? If so, mark those with a sharpie so you'll know which they are. Then you leave them there as bait, and collect each fresh egg she lays. That way there is bait in the nest, and you can have some eggs for eating while you're waiting for her to go broody. Depending on your weather you can leave bait eggs in the nest a few weeks. Of course if they start getting stinky or nasty, toss them
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.

A lot of hens, especially first timers, practice being broody before they actually commit. I think they just like to drive us insane
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. Growling and flattening out like a chicken pancake are good signs of being a broody. Tucking eggs underneath herself or pecking at you while on the nest aren't especially broody signs, most all hens will do that while laying.

My criteria for declaring a hen broody is sleeping on the nest. If a hen spends two nights in a row on the nest, I then remove the bait eggs and give her the eggs I want her to hatch. If the bait eggs have not been there very long, I may go ahead and use those, but they'd need to be less than a week old. Otherwise, I'd toss them and mark fresh eggs and give those to her. Mark the calendar for 21 days and keep an eye on her. She'll get off once a day or so to take care of business, otherwise she'll spend all day and night on the nest.

Good luck!
 

Feather babies

In the Brooder
Aug 4, 2015
17
2
49
Vancouver Island Canada
My hen is a barred rock. She is sleeping in the nest on the eggs and has been for about a week. I have marked eggs and carefully collect the unmarked eggs from under her. Hoping to pick up 12 fertilized eggs tomorrow. Americauna blue eggs. I am really hoping she will hatch them. May need more advise as time gets closer.
 

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