I originally started a thread on the "incubating forum" as my original question pertained to incubating. The circumstances have since changed and am now curious to get the opinion of the "behavior forum". The Background: One of my hens went broody about 11 (or so) days ago. I have no rooster, so I promptly came to BYC to find some local BYCers with available eggs. Two were kind enough to give this newbie a total of 13 eggs to try and have her hatch out. I was excited, and I think Rudy (my broody) was excited that for once I was putting the eggs under her instead of taking them away. I put the eggs under her on Friday afternoon after I received them. She seemed quite content. Her current setup was a regular nesting box in the corner, under the light (which she chose). I added small dishes for water & food. She has steadily been drinking and eating (especially treats) so I figured this whole broody hen thing would be easy. Not to mention I was already counting how many chicks I would hopefully end up with. So my girls are free range, though they do have a run attached to their coop in case Daddy decides he doesn't want chicken poop on the lawn or in the driveway. And generally I close the girls in around 10 or 10:30 at night. The Story: Last night I got home a little after 11 and went to close the girls in. Their timed light was already off so I only had a flashlight. First things first, I did a headcount of the roosting girls and all were accounted for. I went to shut the pop door and when I looked in the coop I realized that one of the nesting boxes was tipped over and in the middle of the coop. They've tipped them before, but never been able to move them to a new location! Around the box were fluffy red feathers and my heart dropped a little. I looked over to Rudy's nesting box and she was gone! The first time she had been off that box in 2 weeks! What's worse was there were borken cracked laying eggs lying in and around her box. I shut the pop door, locked the coop and went outside to investigate. There was no blood, no other feathers (which I was hoping were just the feathers she had been losing since she went broody), but there were more egg shells outside around the run. I looked everywhere for signs of her, hoping maybe she wandered out and fell asleep...nothing. I went inside for the night, called my husband at work and told him he was making me an incubator so that I could hopefully rescue the remaining potential chicks. This morning I went out to check on the rest of my girls and salvage the eggs that weren't destroyed from the previous nights happenings. To my absolute shock and amazement, there was Rudy. Perched on the step outside of the run just as calm as could be. She looked at me with that, "Where have you been? I can't get inside" look so I immediately opened the pop door and in she went. She hoped up on the roost with her sisters and my first thought was, "Great, she left because she's not broody anymore and I got these eggs for nothing!" Next thing I know she hops down to the box, rolls around the eggs, and sits right down on them as if nothing had ever happened. The Lesson Learned: Don't count your eggs before they hatch & design some sort of mama hen containment fixture (which my husband is doing at this moment). The Question: Has anyone else ever had a broody hen that left her box overnight, or is mine just one of those "special" chickens you hear so much about!? My husband suspects a racoon came in the coop and tried to go for the eggs. She, obviously, wasn't going to give them up easy. Our first thought was that she got dragged out and killed, but we've been proven wrong on that theory. So now my husband thinks that the racoon grabbed a few eggs and she chased him out of the coop and out into the woods. I looked around last night but could not see nor hear her anywhere. Yes, she's going to get confined to her own broody box within the coop so she can't leave again. I'm not overly concerned about the eggs at this point, as I'm just glad she's safe. I've done a little research and being off the nest for 9-12 hours (while not ideal) doesn't mean the eggs won't hatch. IF they do hatch though, expect to see pictures in about 2 1/2 weeks!