How many eggs can a standard size hen hatch?


In the Brooder
12 Years
Jul 18, 2007
New Orleans
I have several hens that are in the broody mood.
It will be one week tomorrow (Sunday)
I have three hens setting.
1. How many eggs can they handle?
2. Is nine eggs too many?
I notice the hens seem to rotate the eggs and move the eggs around.
I also noticed they leave the nest to drink water and eat ( less than 5 minutes away from the nest).
I took the advice (from our host)and marked the eggs.
However, there are new eggs in the nest box.
3. Should I remove the next box and place it in another area? I can place them in a shed but it might upset the hens and the new environment might cause them additional stress.


Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
A standard size hen can handle about a dozen eggs easily. I've had girls sit on 14 as well, so you shouldn't have any problems with around 9 eggs.

I would definitely move your broody to a private location, so other chickens don't disturb her nest or add eggs. It will also be safer for her and her babies when they hatch. Do it at night, when she is least stressed. She'll wake up a little confused but will likely sit tight.



12 Years
Nov 12, 2007
I move my hens whenever they start to set. Before I learned to move them they broke a lot of eggs fighting the other hens that continued to lay eggs in the nest. We try to train our hens to lay in the nest in the henhouse. Then when one wants to set we expect the other hens not to use the nest we have trained them to use. Using nests that have sides tall enough to shield the hen from sight will help when you move her. It also helps to move the nest the hen started setting in if you can. Or move her to one that looks the same to the hen.

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