help! How long can a broody hen be off her eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by chookpalace, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. chookpalace

    chookpalace Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Hi, I have had a broody Australorp sitting on eggs for 2 weeks. In that time I have never seen her get off them, although she probably has, but she's very committed. Today we noticed that she had got off. We don't know when but right now it's 40 mins since we noticed, and it's possibly been all morning. I had a feel and they were cool (but not totally cold) and I panicked and put them in a container with a warm pad, and put some others in the nest in case she sat back down. I was thinking to borrow an incubator if i could keep them alive until I get one. Have I done the wrong thing? Perhaps she knew she could get off for a while as it's going to be a stinking hot day here (Canberra Australia) today (32-35 C). I'm new to this and thought 15-20 mins was the most they could get off for. But I've read some old threads here where people say their hens have hatched totally cold eggs. Can anyone advise? I'm thinking maybe I should just put them back and let nature take it's course, but I was so looking forward to those chicks.
     
  2. FortWorthChicks

    FortWorthChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2009
    Fort Worth
    I read that they generally get off the nest from 15/30 minutes. I would just wait and see if she gets back on pretty quick [​IMG]
     
  3. chookpalace

    chookpalace Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    I decided that I had been too quick to panic and put the eggs back in the nest. But it is almost 2 hrs since I noticed she was off and she's still not back. I counted the eggs and there was one less than I had put under her, and she was noisy this morning- I wonder if a snake has scared her off and taken one?
     
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    As warm as it is, she can get away with a much longer break. I would keep an eye on her, since 2 hours is quite a break. But they may very well be just fine with your temperatures.
     
  5. happyhens44

    happyhens44 BroodyAddict

    Apr 25, 2010
    Northern WI
    Im not sure if this is a good thing to do but mine got off the nest for a little while so I just picked her up and "put" her by the nest and she went into the box got confy and has been there ever since/ 8 hours ago. But I am new with broody and I wassent sure if the got off the nests (duh moment ) [​IMG]
     
  6. chookpalace

    chookpalace Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    She's back on again now, 2+ hours later. I guess I'll wait until hatch day and see what happens- I'll keep you posted. Happy new year!
     
  7. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Quote:I have a hunch they'll do great! This is one of the benefits of living in a warm climate. [​IMG]
     
  8. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    It's impressive how these little bird-brained hens can calculate just how long they can time their coffee breaks based on the current temperatures. But it is still good to keep an eye on them, sometimes their broody skills aren't as great as they should be. Perhaps something did spook her off the nest, it was good to help persuade her to go back to the nest.

    I've had chicks hatch from eggs that were cold after the hen stayed off too long, let's hope that's the case with your hen's egglings! Happy New Year!
     
  9. chookpalace

    chookpalace Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    That's good to hear, Sunny side up-They are impressive little creatures, aren't they?!! Happy New Year!
     
  10. chookpalace

    chookpalace Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 2, 2010
    Well, miracles happen. Yesterday was hatch day. Initially I thought I heard peeps, but then I couldn't hear or see anything despite going down and checking (from a respectful distance) all day. I decided the eggs must have died when she got off for all that time. This morning I couldn't bear it any longer and went down to actually have a look underneath her...but I didn't need to because she had 3 little peeps! sadly another had hatched but died. Not a great hatch rate from 10 eggs (though 2 mysteriously disappeared) but it just goes to show that hens really do know what they're doing and for the most part it is best to stand back and let nature take it's course. For the record, she was off the nest for a minimum of 2 hours (but it could have been quite a bit more) and the temperature at the time was around 30 C (86 F) and climbing (it got to about 37 (99 F) that day).
     

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