How many eggs can a broodie hatch?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tellynpeep, May 8, 2009.

  1. tellynpeep

    tellynpeep Songster

    Oct 4, 2008
    SW New Hampshire
    Finally I have a broodie. I've had miserable luck so far with my incubator, so put some eggs under her. How many is too many? And can I put staggered hatches, or will she stop sitting as soon as the first ones hatch?

  2. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:It has generally been accepted that 12 or 13 are the maximum.
  3. chickenlittle32

    chickenlittle32 Songster

    Apr 19, 2009
    Rayne Louisiana
    If you decide to do a staggered will have to take the chicks away from her as she hatches so she will continue setting on the rest of the clutch.
  4. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Songster

    Mar 19, 2007
    for a full sized hen 10-12 is about max. For banties I would cut it down to no more than 6-8.
    If you put too many under them, they will sit on them but you may have a poor hatch rate because some of the eggs will spend time on the outside edges and won't stay consistantly warm. You also can have more breakage because the hen is trying to squeeze and shuffle all those eggs under her.

  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    My cousin in the far west valley of the metro area just had a hen with 21 eggs hatch 20. Fancy that.

    When I was a kid we had a Light Brahma that hatched out 10 more than that! She was big and fluffy.
  6. vickie2133

    vickie2133 Songster

    Jan 30, 2009
    I have a broody with 19 under her right now, they are all covered, they are supposed to hatch next weekend, so we will check out the hatch rate with her, first broody with my chickens. I had them when I was a kid though.
  7. 92caddy

    92caddy Egg Lover

    May 18, 2007
    Portland, IN
    I had a guinea hen hatch 34 chicks one time, I didnt think half of them would hatch, I was very surprised that that many hatched....

  8. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    This copper black marans was just a pullet last fall and she hatched 17 out of 20 from this clutch. It was a staggered hatch that went on for about a week and a half and I had to keep on pulling the chicks out and she stuck with it and hatched them all like a champ.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    As you can see with the replies, it varies depending on the broody and the size of eggs. She can handle what she can cover. With some bantams and full-sized eggs, that could be as little as 3.
  10. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    It depends on the breed. Standard cochins can handle 15-20, Wyandottes 10-15, sometimes more depending on the hen . Its better to put less eggs rather than more. When they have a lot of eggs sometimes its harder to enter the nest and eggs get broken, or some get pushed to the side and get chilled. If you plan on letting the hen raise the chicks remember she will have to cover all the chicks to keep them warm too, so while 20 eggs may fit, 20 2 week old chicks will not; you can always use a heat lamp too. Experience also has a lot to do with it too. An experienced hen "knows" what to do and can handle sitting on more eggs. An unexperienced hen may not be as good at making sure all the eggs are tucked under.

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