HIdden egg nest question!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nakedneckmom, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. nakedneckmom

    nakedneckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2012
    My six girls hadn't produced a single egg in about three days. I thought maybe the winter hours has finally stopped their egg laying and didn't think too much. Until this morning, when I couldn't locate the sixth girl. I found her laying on a clutch of eggs of about 16 where they sleep! She seems pretty protective of it (not moving off of it). But then, she went out to get some water and one of the older/more dominant hens was laying on the nest. The younger hen seems concerned but the older girl wont get off. However the older girl is keeping the eggs under her and appears to be turning them as well.

    So my question is, do hens on a clutch of eggs just habitually turn the eggs even if they are not broody? I was really excited when I found her and she didn't move for about an hour. I went into "omg shes going to be have baby chickens and blah blah blah" mode, but now maybe she was just laying an egg and they just turn them instinctively?

    So...thoughts? I will be watching them the rest of the day to see if Gabbie goes back, or if it was just a false alarm.
  2. americana-lover

    americana-lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    To me, it seems like she is starting to get broody. If you don't want the eggs to hatch or keep collecting them everyday, you should stop her from laying on the eggs. There are a lot of great articles on here that give great advice to stop a broody hen.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    if you do want to have her hatch eggs, I agree with the above post, she is acting like she is getting started..... but the first time can be a bit rocky.

    I would take the eggs, unless she is truly tighter than a tick. 16 is probably too many eggs, and what happens is that they outside ones get too cold and die, but the hens keep moving them around so the outside ones move in, and inside ones move out and get too cold.... and you get no hatch.

    If she is a full size hen shoot for 8-12 eggs. This next is the advice I never take, even though each year I PROMISE myself to take, but it get so excited, but anyway..... one should NOT put the eggs you want to hatch under her UNTIL she has been established on her nest for THREE DAYS. It kills me, but what happens is, I think ohhhhh this is it. Slip the eggs under her, she sets, I am estatic, counting down the days, and then she gets off for a day.... ugh! Then she starts again, and I of course put more and she quits. Then the last time, I am out of the eggs I want to hatch, and now she really has it figured out, won't move, will take your arm off at the elbow.....

    so try to wait, but I will understand.

    I have small nests, about 10 inches wide, and only one chicken will fit in there. So I leave them there. but if you have a big open nest, where chickens routinely lay together, it won't work, and you will have to move her, where no one else can get in the nest. What you describe is typical. The other hens seem to think, "Oh henny is going to do all the work, I'll just leave her my egg too, and she can get on with it. But then you get eggs of all ages, too many eggs, and nothing hatches or only a very few. If you move the broody hen, do it at night, and wait 3 more days to see if she will stick, cause once I moved one, and 10 days later, she decided that she really did like her first nest best, and I lost the clutch.

    Best wishes! I love a broody hen, and nothing is easier than raising chicks with a broody hen, it is just fun then, she does all the work!

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