How long can a chicken leave the nest...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PatS, May 19, 2010.

  1. PatS

    PatS Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    How long can the chicken leave the nest without the embryos dying? We've had several batches of babies and broody chickens and one chicken got off the nest and climbed into another. We don't know for how long, but the eggs weren't warm to the touch. It's been in the low 60's in the coop today. I did shine a flashlight on them and can check again in three or four days to see if they look any further along than they do now, I guess.

    Today is Day 6 or 7.
  2. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    My BA did that around day 20 (ducks) or so. I was at work and have no idea how long she was off the nest but the eggs were COLD to the touch when I got home and put her back on them. She hatched out 9/11 and one of the unhatched eggs was a very early quiter that I'm sure had nothing to do with the eggs getting cold.

    I've read many threads where the hen got back on the wrong nest or the bator got unplugged but the hatch rate was still very good so I wouldn't give up on your eggs just yet. You are going to want to try to fix it so she can't have another oopsie moment because while I think your eggs still have a good chance I'm pretty sure repeated coolings will really mess things up.

    Good luck and happy hatching! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  3. ChicknCharm

    ChicknCharm Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Our broody hen just left her eggs for 12 hours and we are still hopeful, last night was warm and humid. I do know we had a broody off her nest about 4 hours and all her eggs hatched...that was in the colder weather, too.

    So, keep them in a broody cage and see if they will stay put. This is what we do, but our hen got locked out of her cage somehow last night. We suspect children are the culprit here.

    Good luck! Another person who responded to my sad post about our hen being off all night and then some said she had one off all night, too, and had a good hatch.
  4. PatS

    PatS Songster

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    Great! Thank you, that is good to know. She was on the nest when we left about 8, and off when we got back at 3. I'm thinking another chicken must have hogged the box while this one was off the nest for a food break, which would mean that the eggs were covered by the other chicken for at least a while. So it is probable the eggs were uncovered for no more than 4 or 5 hours judging from when the girls usually lay. It was a rainy day, so the temps were in the low 60s and it is humid.

    We just moved the other Mama and her 8 babies to the covered kennel, so this one will get locked in the little pen with food and water. No more oopsies. I'm off to straighten up the pen now, and we can move her after dark. Thanks!
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  5. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Songster

    Oct 16, 2009
    Yes, I had eggs hatch last week which had felt really cold when broody mum left them for an unknown period of time. They are tought than we think!,
  6. kdc412

    kdc412 Hatching

    May 29, 2013
    I logged in looking for exactly this info. Thanks for sharing, everyone :) I put my broody hen in a plastic dog house ( It was the best option available), but it's pretty dark in there and when she got out, I don't think she could see in the back of the house, because it was too dark, so she hopped up into the nest box instead. I moved her back onto her original batch of eggs, but they had grown cold. I hope a few still hatch.

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