How do broody hens build their clutches without their first eggs dying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kkelsh14, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. kkelsh14

    kkelsh14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 10, 2013
    Indiana
    First off, I'm new to hatching eggs. I bought this Black Star hen 6 days ago from a lady. When I picked her up, she had a nest of 3 somewhat warm eggs in the stall that she was kept in, which I put into the fridge at home, and thought nothing more of. Now I'm beginning to wonder if she is broody. She has, ever since the beginning, built up a big nest in the corner on the ground of our chicken house. There are 10 other hens with her. She would lay and I would go take the egg, she wouldn't growl or puff up, but raise her tail up and down weirdly and wouldn't move, I'd have to set her aside. I kept taking the egg every day, not sure what was going on with her, but yesterday she refused to leave and go out into the run after I took her egg, even when I threw out treats and the others were spazzing out over them. I decided today to let her keep her egg, and she barely keeps it warm, and doesn't stay on it constantly like I hear about. She is only on it long enough to keep it warm and then either stands beside the nest or goes into the run for a few minutes and comes back to stand next to it again. She moves it around some and covers it in straw. What is she doing? Is she broody or just being weird? At least 1 of the 3 eggs from her clutch at her previous owner's had a big vein going through it, so I threw it out when cooking. Not positive, but wouldn't only a broody hen stay with an egg long enough to get it to actually start growing? If she is broody, does she barely keep it alive for the # of days she builds up her clutch, then finally actually sit on them to incubate them? Sorry for all the questions, I'm sure I've actually forgotten some LOL.
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    A hen normally will lay a clutch of eggs over a couple of weeks, how many exactly depends on the hen. The eggs are viable for quite a while so even two week old eggs can hatch, though the younger they are the better chance of hatching they will have. She should not start incubating or sitting on the eggs until she has laid the last one, that way they will all hatch at about the same time. Some hens are just better broodys than others, and a lot of the hatchery or production birds (like the sex links) have a lot of the broody instincts bred out of them, if you have chickens for egg production, you do not want hens that will go broody since they don't lay nearly as many eggs. Your girl sounds like she may very well be broody or going broody, but she may not get everything right so far as when to sit on the eggs, how long to sit on them etc. Especially if she has changed homes and been moved around.
     

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