How long will a hen try to set?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Amy Farah Fowler, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Amy Farah Fowler

    Amy Farah Fowler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2011
    I have a hen that went broody a couple of weeks ago. I put her out of her nest box everday, but she always seems to manage to get the other hens to lay a few eggs in her nest and she's right back at it ! Now I was thinking about buying some eggs to let her hatch. Do you think it's too late? Will she get up before the eggs are ready to hatch, or will she know to stick it out?
  2. bkreugar

    bkreugar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Asheboro NC
    I had an orp raise one clutch this spring/summer. Then sit again for At least 2 weeks.THEN we put some new eggs under her.We candled them at3 days 3 of the 5 were good. SHe sat for another month. NONE hatched. She just gave up this last week. But many people have posted about giving eggs to a broody and her giving up after a week t 10 days so no telling.
  3. calicokat

    calicokat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    Kinda depends on the hen. Some are super stubborn and will sit till there's some babies underneath! You have a couple of options, 1. get her some eggs, or 2. get her some chicks.

    I think the key is to put whatever you are giving her, under her at night. They get fussy and weird when you mess with them, so doing it at night will ruffle her feathers less, and might get a better reception.

    We usually leave golf balls under our broody girls and then find day old chicks. Over the course of two nights, we swap the chicks for the golf balls (we usually only put 3 or 4 golf balls, but have swapped in 6 to 8 babies - chickens can't count, LOL) Right now, we have a broody who has been sitting for about 3 weeks. I have eggs being shipped, due to arrive any day and we'll try that method this time.
  4. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Much depends also on the physical condition of the hen in question. Brooding hens eat less (true, they move less as well), and typically loose weight during this period. Generally, if their fat reserves run too low, the broodiness "breaks". Hens in very good condition prior to broodiness that have good access to proper food and water without disturbance will generally brood longer.

    Keep in mind that normally a hen sits 21 to 23 days. Since your hen has been broody for a few weeks already, this is typically not a good time to give her fresh eggs. The ideal time to give her fresh eggs is when she is newly broody (now that you know she is a stick-to-it type of sitter, you can confidently let her try hatching later). Usually people have slipped eggs from their incubators under their broody hens after a few weeks, or have hatched out eggs in their incubators (or purchased chicks) and slipped them under the broody after a few weeks. (Yes, always slip eggs or chicks under at night - in the dark as much as possible.)

    Can it work? Possibly. Is it ideal? No.

    Note: If you do try it anyway be sure your hen is absolutely free from disturbance from other chickens for the duration of the time she sits with close access to food and water and that you have a place for her and the chicks away from all other chickens for a few weeks. If it succeeds, the hen may be pretty weak by the time those babies arrive and that would not be the time for her to try challenging other hens to defend her babies. IMO
  5. Amy Farah Fowler

    Amy Farah Fowler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 31, 2011
    Thanks everyone! Great advice!!

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