Hen not sitting after four hatched


Jun 12, 2013
I have a hen who was sitting faithfully on about a dozen eggs. Four have hatched so far. She started pushing a couple away from her, I decided today to not put them back. She must not want them for a reason. The hen herself is only about 8 months old.

Tonight I went out at about 6pm to check on them and there are two eggs with holes in them. The hen has moved her and her four chicks to another spot, she is ignoring the eggs. I took them in the house and have them under a light. I have raised baby chicks many times, but have never hatched eggs.

Should I just leave the eggs under the heat lamp and see what happens? I am sure there is at least one alive, she is peeping and has a nickel sized area of the outer shell off. The second one just has a small hole in it, I haven't detected any movement or sound from that one. There is also 6 more eggs that I brought in, no signs of hatching yet.
it is normal for the mama to leave unhatched eggs a day or so after the first chick hatches, in order to raise her chicks. If you can hatch them, you may be able to slip the new ones under her at night. Hens can't count. It's possible they will hatch with a little warmth source such as a heating pad and a wet paper towel or rag for humidity. Not ideal, of course; ideal would be to put them in an incubator, but I'm sure if you had one, you wouldn't have them under a light. Pleople have hatched eggs under wood burning stoves, inside their bra -- all sorts of places. Worth a try, in a pinch. Good luck!
Thanks, I did not realize that they would leave after a few days, but it does make sense. The one chick is still in there, and the beak came out last night. The shell is taken was off and the half of the egg that is pointing toward the heat lamp is mostly membrane, and is drying out. I am just putting warm drops of water on there once in a while so it doesn't dry out and stick. I tried a paper towel damp but it got a little cool, since it is daytime now I put a paper towel on it again and will monitor closely. I do have a small humidifier nearby but it isn't doing much, I am in San Diego so it is super dry here.

It has been 12 hours, she is still moving and peeping and poked her little beak out. There is a little more shell taken off, but looks like she is resting. I would assume that she will try to break out later today.

Thanks for the info, it did help
I'm not sure I would use a heat lamp - that is a very drying heat. If its all you have then you can try it, but dropping water into the egg itself is a last resort thing - in air humidity is better. The eggs that haven't pipped yet will dry out too.

You can try an oven. Put bowls of water in it or a wet towel and heat it low then let it cool to around 99 degrees F.

You can candle them to make sure there is development - are they all the same age? The hen may accept them after you get them hatched :)
This morning I removed all the other eggs, I candled them last night but this was my first time doing it. I am just going to try to save the one.

Here is a picture of the egg, it is covered with membrane except where the chick got her beak out at the top left. I agree a heat lamp is very dry I do have a small humidifier set up right next to the basket that the egg is in. But, it isn't doing much. I placed a damp paper towel on the egg (you can see it in the picture on the ground)

when a mom is hatching out I remove the chicks to a brooder while she hatches the rest of the eggs. if the hen has decided she wants to take the chicks out of the hatching nest- she is done setting at that point.it is easier to let her hatch out the rest.
That is a better idea, remove the chicks so she stays on the eggs. Thanks.
Mahalo for posting your concerns and ideas. I am learning a lot. My 1st time brooder, Val has been sitting for a week now. A few days ago I marked 11 eggs. Her nest box is small fitting closely around her. Since all the eggs did not get laid the same time, I am assuming that many will hatch first and I am wanting to be prepared for scenarios like the above. Would it be more likely for her to stay on her clutch with the new chicks and unhatched chicks if I put her in her own maternity house with only one nest option? I will look up the candling to prepare for that too.
I appreciate you taking time to post.
Wishing you all healthy flocks and lives,

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