How long can a hen stay off her eggs and still hatch chicks?


10 Years
Nov 3, 2009
We put four eggs under our broody hen over the weekend. When I checked on her yesterday she decided to set on another egg a hen had laid that morning. I put her back on her original eggs, but I am not sure how long she was off of them. At most I think just about 3 hours. I was just wondering if they may still hatch.
Last edited:


Nothing In Moderation
12 Years
May 14, 2009
(SW MO) Nevada, Missouri
My Coop
My Coop
Broody hens usually get off the nest once or twice a day, to eat, drink, and poo. How close to hatch is your broody's clutch? Off for 3 hours ? Well, I would leave them be, and I do believe they could hatch.

It is common to see other hens laying in the broody nest. You may want to mark the eggs you originally set, so you can remove the new ones daily.

Good luck! Welcome to BYC!!!

Garden Gal

10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
One of my "non broody" hens is dedicated to the fact that she IS going to continue laying her eggs in one particular next box even though it is now occupied by a broody hen! It is hysterical to see her cram herself in there on top of the broody gal and simply sit until she is ready to lay!! I marked the broody's eggs early on in the process so that each day I can remove any "unmarked" eggs. :) Chickens are soooo strange!


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jun 15, 2011
I have a broody hen that has been sitting on her eggs for about a week and one day I find her sitting on another clutch of eggs. She was off her eggs about 3 hours, because I went three hours earlier to check on her. I put her back on the nest and she happily sat back on. Since then she hasn't moved, but will her eggs still hatch?
The same thing happened with my incubated eggs. But for 5 hours. Somehow someone moved the temperature to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Will the eggs still hatch.
Mother of 30 chickens, 2 roosters, 60 pigeons, 15 peacocks, and one parrot.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom