How long can a broody hen be off the nest?


11 Years
Mar 24, 2008
Columbiana, Alabama
First time with broody hen. She sat on nest for 3 days without eggs and without coming off to eat or drink. I let her have 3 eggs to set and lift her off the nest each morning to eat, drink and poop. How long can she be off the nest and still keep the eggs viable? I always find her back on the nest later in the day. This morning I stuck around to see how long she would stay off. When I had to leave she had been off for an hour mainly dust bathing. I suspect an hour is too long for the eggs to survive. Thanks for all your experience here.
hours not too long.

I moved my broody about a week into incubating, I always let her out about 8 'o'clock but I had to wait to show her were her nest was after she was done eating drinking and reliving herself. She started going back to her nest on her own... so I didn't think I need to watch her anymore. well the next morning I came out around noon and saw her brooding in her old spot....

6 out of the 7 hatched fine. and the temp had to of dropped to around 40 degrees.
I would just let her do her thing. The length of time they can safely be off the nest depends on many things. Many people have reported successful hatches with the hen off the nest for long periods of time. Mama usually knows best.

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