How long can a hen hold an egg?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JessicaAndHerChickens, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. JessicaAndHerChickens

    JessicaAndHerChickens Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2009
    I thought I read this answer before, but I cannot find the post. Anyway, I have a friend whose hens have been laying pretty well and she decided to let them free range a few hours during the day after she has collected her eggs. Well, those buggers are holding out on her...they lay a few eggs in the coop (so she didnt think anything of it) and her husband went out and found a dozen more eggs where they have been laying when she lets them out. Now my hens were hatched in march and havent started laying yet...I let them free range almost every other day. I am wondering if they have started laying and are just waiting until I let them loose to lay in the woods. So, how long will they hold an egg until they just have to let them go? If it is a few days, I may just keep them in their coop and enclosed run to see if any eggs are, how long??
  2. Metanoia

    Metanoia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2009
    South Australia
    That is a good question! I don't have an answer, but...

    I have seen mine waddling around trying to find a good spot to lay. I've also seen one take up to an hour to finally settle and lay when she started acting like that.

    We keep ours in until we've had all our expected eggs or till the afternoon, and then keep an eye on the usual suspects who have been known to seek other spots and put them back in their pen if it looks like one needs to lay.
  3. fordmommy

    fordmommy Dancing With My Chickens

    Jul 16, 2009
    My girls just atarted laying. They can sing the egg song, go in and out of the nesting boxes and scratching everywhere, all 2-5 hours before the egg comes.
  4. MIkeP1971

    MIkeP1971 Just Hatched

    May 10, 2013
    How about if they actually have an egg inside? I have a young R.I.R. and she has been holding in an egg for 2 days! Any suggestions? My coop is always open and i have like 10 nesting boxes in all shapes and styles.
    1 person likes this.
  5. mneisinger72

    mneisinger72 Just Hatched

    Jan 24, 2013
    My hens had free ranged for several months until I built my run a couple days ago. I noticed one of my girls acting very anxious all morning; running the length of the fence looking for a way out even trying to scratch her way out of the coop. She's been very noisy as well. I finally let her out and she dashed across the yard and under my scrap metal pile. When I peeked in I saw an old broken egg outside her nest and another one in. I reached for it and felt her wet back side. She then laid an egg. It was small, thin shelled, very warm and wet, and had many cracks. I ran inside to get my 3 yr old daughter and when I came back she had laid another one. This one was miss-shapen but not cracked.
    So apparently they can hold more than one egg at a time. She obviously doesn't like the boxes in the coop. Maybe they are too open and spacious.
    The area she picked to nest is dark, secluded, and very small. Maybe yours is shy too.
    1 person likes this.
  6. MIkeP1971

    MIkeP1971 Just Hatched

    May 10, 2013
    • mneisinger72 Thanks for your reply. Since I posted my question, she has laid the egg. She held it for 3 days. She has laid roughly 5-6 times a week since. I'm thinking it may have been because I added 2 new hens the day before and she may have been like you said "shy". I appreciate the post. Great information.

  7. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    May 18, 2009
    I don't know how long my "house chicken" holds her eggs, but we have come home sometimes from a trip into town to have her pacing the fence, or even running up the driveway to meet us, and as soon as we open the door to our house, she runs inside to her "special box" and lays her egg within minutes. Other times, she will come in and sit in her box for hours before laying.

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