How long do I let her play brooder?


11 Years
Jul 20, 2008
It's essentially spring in Alabama, and my chickens have been laying up a storm. Tank Girl and Cyclone Aggie have no interest in their eggs; they lay them and ignore them. However, Grisaille has a few SPECIAL eggs that she is determinedly brooding. She sits on them all day, fights off the owner girls if they crowd close, and only comes out very briefly to eat and drink. I thought it was kindof cute so I figured I'd let her have her fun for a bit as we're getting more eggs that we can use.

However, I'm wondering when I should pull them on account of probably rotten-ness. Our rooster came to us as an adult of unknown age 5 years ago, and Gris is 2-3 years old by her previous owners' count. I'm assuming this means it's pretty unlikely that those eggs have chicks in them, right? I was thinking of candling them just in case, but if any are fertile, then what? Is it actually safe for her to have them out in the coop with the other birds, or will they just kill them? Cyclone Aggie is a gamebird mix and VERY aggressive, and Nuru (my rooster) has a history of killing wild birds that get into the coop.

Any input appreciated. If it's actively bad for Grisaille to be brooding, I don't want to continue the behavior.
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If I had to guess I'd say the eggs were probably fertile.

Most say it is safer to put a broody in a separate pen. I've done it both ways. If left in the coop, I just marked the eggs to be hatched and checked at least twice a day. They will steal eggs, lay in the broody's nest, and the broody may go back to the wrong nest. That said, when I've done it, I've always had at least some hatch. Mamas generally protect their chicks very well from others in the flock, and actually roosters normally help guard the eggs/chicks. I wouldn't think his history of killing birds of other species would be a problem, but heck, you never know. The only hen I had kill a chick was the one who sat on them for 3 weeks. But every flock is different. Up to you, of course.

You might check another egg for fertility:

First I would candle the eggs, and if they're not fertile, throw them out, because they would be so stinky if broken. If they're fertile, maybe you could let her hatch them....You could relocate her into a more private area for her and the chicks......
Ooh. If that's what a fertile egg looks like when cracked, I'd say there have been some fertile ones. I suppose I better go check on these.

Would she stop sitting on them if I moved her to a different pen and moved the eggs along with her if any are fertile? I just don't know if I trust Aggie in particular around chicks.
Hi there GallusGirl

I would almost think that the eggs were fertile also. I am sure that even though the rooster is 5 he is still probably doing his 'job'. I had a friend that had a rooster that was 15 years old and he still had babies hatching.

I have found that the chicken and eggs are safer from the others just so that way they don't keep laying eggs for her to sit on and also they won't get broken by other hens coming in the nest box area. Momma hens are pretty protective but if another hen can get to the babies they could possibly hurt or kill them. I have had the chick pip through the shell and then the other hens come in and destroy the egg and kill the chick so I always move my broodies and eggs from the rest of the flock. But that is just what I do. If there is a way that you can make her a pen or something in the area she is at then that would probably work until the chicks get a little older.

I would candle the eggs to see what if anything has developed and then no rotten eggs under her cause they stink and you don't want to contaminate the other eggs under her.

good Luck and hope everything goes well for your broodies and for you.
Just an update - my girl chucked out most of her eggs not long after this post, but kept ONE egg. She has barely left the coop in over a week, I went out and candled that egg today. Almost the whole thing was dark, just a small halfmoon of light at one end. Does this mean it is good, or is it a super gross, uber rotten egg? I can not seem to find any candling photos beyond day 14 or so.

I moved her down stairs just in case because she was VERY serious about defending this egg. Should be interested to see if anything comes out!
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Not intending to bump, but if anyone could give me some feedback on how to tell if this candled egg is "chicky or icky" that would be great
I don't want to keep her away from the flock if she's sitting on a rotten egg!
Are you able to see any sort of veining in the egg? That does sound like it is possibly a chick in that egg: oh I hope so. Do you know what day this is for her ssitting on the egg?
I'm new here but read a lot about broodies when I had one myself. There are very few candling photos after day 14 because there is not much to see in an egg at that stage. Just a big black thing and the air sack. I hope someone with more experience can give you some more information on candling. Fingers crossed your broody hatches a chick.
Sounds like their is a chick in that egg how many days has she been sitting they hatch around day 21 good luck and hopefully you will have a chick in a day or two

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