How many eggs can I put under my BO broody?

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
Western NC
I just noticed her setting in the favorite nest box this morning. And this afternoon. And tonight she's still on it. But there can't be more than one or two eggs under her. My incubator is full and I have a ton of eggs.

1. How many eggs can I put under her?
2. Can I only slip them under her at night or can I do it anytime?
3. Do I have to stick with chicken eggs? I'd love it if she could hatch some runner duck eggs for me too! Probably not goose or turkey though, right?
4. The nest box looks kind of small and cramped, should I move her (and her nest) to a spare empty little coop where she could be alone? Or should I just leave her be?
5. I brought her a pan of water and a pan of food, and put them nearby. Is there anything else I should or could do to make her more comfy and successful?

She's my first broody ever and I'm really excited!
Any tips or how-to's would be appreciated. Thanks!
Really depends on her size, how many she can keep warm. I would guess 8, maybe 10.

It's recommended to move a broody a day or two before you set the eggs you want to hatch under her. I had one stop being broody entirely when I moved her. The spare little coop would be ideal. If you try to let them hatch in with the flock, all sorts of stuff can happen, they can return to the wrong nest after their daily outing for food and drink and poop, they can decide to move the nest or steal other eggs, others can lay on top of her and eggs get broken in the process, and so forth. No need to wait til night, just make sure she's settled in her broody place and go ahead. She can hatch (and raise) any breed you want. Now I don't know anything about other birds, seems like there's a problem with chickens and turkeys together, but she won't care what kind of eggs they are. All she should need is food and water available, along with enough space to get out of the nest every day to poop and eat and maybe get a little exercise. I've watched mine go outside and dust bathe and scratch around as well, but they do go back on the eggs in 20 or so minutes, or less. Once in a while a broody won't get off the nest at all, and you will have to make her get up and walk around once or twice a day, and of course eat and drink. Broodiness is rough on them, they lose some weight, so actually I kick them off twice a day. The eggs can cool quite a bit and still hatch, but a good broody won't want to stay off them very long at all.

There are bunches of threads on here about broodies if you want to read more about people's experiences with it. I love having chicks hatch under a broody, don't even own an incubator.

Have fun!
I've done 12-14 under my buff and white orp girls. They are big girls, but I do agree it depends on the size of your girls. I would see how many fit under her comfortable to ensure she can keep them all covered.
One of my BO's went broody last summer, she was sitting on 10 and it was a little much. She accidentally broke one egg while I was debating whether I should take one or two out, so I left the remaining 9.
6 hatched, 2 were bad, (didn't explode, I disposed of them after the others hatched), and one I found kicked away from the others with the shell halfway broken off and a perfectly formed dead chick inside.
I had to pull her out once a day or she would have wasted away on those eggs; she was a very devoted mom. I was 8 months pregnant at the time so I felt for her.

She nested in our doghouse; I had to block the other hens from getting in because they wanted to lay in there. I moved the doghouse to the other side of the yard and put up a little fence to keep everyone out of 'the nursery'.
One of my Red Stars went broody shortly after (I know, a Red Star?!) in one of the coop nest boxes and I couldn't move her. She only managed to hatch one chick out of 7 eggs. Definitely try to get your BO to a separate area.

(Edited to add: Sallie is my smaller BO, the other (Pot Pie) is about a 25% larger so yours may be able to cover more eggs)
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