how long can a broody hen be off her eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by siouxbee, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. siouxbee

    siouxbee Songster

    May 8, 2007
    Tomorrow she'll have been sitting for one week on the eggs. When we came home today she was out in the yard. More my fault though, because due to space limitations, she's still in the regular coop nestbox where she started, and since everyone was piling on and still laying in that box, I've block off that box to keep them out.

    Except that it keeps her in. I've put food and water in reach for her, but she wanted to stretch her legs and couldn't get back in. I've no idea for how long.

    It was hot and humid here today (87 degrees) and probably slightly more so in the coop. Is this a big deal or are these eggs no good?

  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I've only had one hen go broody (this spring) but I found her off her nest four different times and the eggs were actually cold to the touch. I put her back on each time and actually had one chick hatch (she was only sitting on five eggs total). I don't know if the low hatch was due to the eggs getting cold (that my assumption) or problems when they were mailed to me.
  3. unless she's like most leghorns, she knows what she's doing. i think in the summer it's more okay too. i have a muscovy setting right now and she is out and about with everyone else all the time, but only for 10-15 mins at a time, except today it was really hot, probably 100, so they'd be fine for the 30+ she was gone I think. She had 2 clutches of 100% last year so I'm hoping she knows what she's doing [​IMG] we'll see
  4. laughingllama75

    laughingllama75 Songster

    Feb 13, 2008
    I have several broodies, and they generally do know what they are doing. Some hens will get off once a day, for up to an hour, to eat, bathroom and drink. Some will get off every few days, for just a few minutes. I have seen eggs get cold, and they do hatch. Dont worry......just let mother nature take its course. It has been so hot here, I had bad hatches this spring......but it has been in the high 90's and I am sure that has something to do with it.
  5. bubba1978

    bubba1978 Hatching

    Oct 5, 2009
    I know this is an old thread but had to post my experience. Short version: Neighbors new chickens escaped and I heard them all over the area.

    About 3 weeks ago my dogs let me know I had adopted a brooding hen. She had set up shop under my deck steps. She had 9 eggs in the nest. I let her stay.

    Let's just say, I've learned a lot about chickens in the last few weeks. I'm in the central east coast area. The last few weeks, check the date, has been in the 40-50s (F) over nights. 60-70s (F) daytime temps.

    Well a week ago she was off the nest for a few hours. No idea how long but she was off the nest when I got home and wasn't on it again until well after dark. Probably 4 hours or more. The eggs were cold to the touch. Based on EVERYTHING I read, if they were viable, they were now dead. Not having the heart to crack one to verify, I left her on them until I was sure it was WAY after the 21 days.

    I'm now a daddy. ALL 9 HATCHED!!! Probably 21 days on the nose (give or take a day or 5).
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2009
  6. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:Congratulations daddy! [​IMG]
  7. racingpigeons98

    racingpigeons98 In the Brooder

    Jun 15, 2011
    Congratulations! I'm just getting started with the whole broodiness and my broody hen went in the wrong nest for about 3 or 4 hours, leaving her eggs cool. I have read what other people say, but I'm still worried they won't hatch. I'm new to this so, please reply.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  8. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Crowing

    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    My broodies stayed in the coop to brood. Whenever someone else would lay an egg my silkie would sit on it, leaving the eggs she was supposed to be brooding pushed off to the side. They felt cool several of the times, but I'd just push them back under her. Ended up with all their eggs hatching. I think it's more of a problem in winter, when they get colder and cold faster.
  9. racingpigeons98

    racingpigeons98 In the Brooder

    Jun 15, 2011
    Thanks for the reply. I'm learning a lot from this forum.
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    It is amazing the extremes the eggs can go through and still hatch. However, these instances are also reasons why it's ideal to keep your broody separate -- if at all possible -- during her set.

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