How many eggs under broody hen??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Rocky Road, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Rocky Road

    Rocky Road Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Partridge Rock hen has been sitting for a few days now and she seems very determined to hatch her own eggs. She has picked all her feathers off her belly to keep the eggs nice and warm. Her sisters lay their eggs on top of her as they have one favorite spot, and she collects them for her nest. So I have decided to let her hatch a few new hens for me to make the flock bigger.

    My question is . . . how many eggs can I let her hatch (considering I've had horrible rooster to hen ratio's)? How many would be too many for her? She seems to collect about 4 a day (there are 6 hens but she's not laying right now and one other is molting). I am going to mark the ones I will let her keep and pick the fresh ones from under her when they are sleeping. I just wondered how many eggs would be ideal.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    She could probably sit on about 10 but I add eggs till she can't cover them all and then remove one so there won't be any errors.
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Realisticaly, as many as she can cover. I would guess that a dozen would not be too many, and perhaps she could cover more. It would be best if you could keep the other hens from accessing her nest. In doing so there may be some fighting/jostling and eggs might become cracked or broken. Good luck on your hatch.
     
  4. Rocky Road

    Rocky Road Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The nesting area is not a box its in the corner of the coop with a lot of straw. . . so they aren't sitting on top of each other exactly . . . but beside each other. She just takes those eggs and rolls them under her. None of them bother her as she's one of the dominant hens. And I catch the rooster keeping guard in front of her sometimes during the day . . haha.

    Now if the nest is that full are they still able to turn all the eggs properly? They have very hard shelled eggs so I'm not worried about them breaking at all. One of them recently laid an egg off the top of the roost and it fell about 4 ft and never broke haha.
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens


    I wouldn't have worried either about mine being thin shelled.. But one broke and got gunk all over the others, and I had to clean them all. Not to mention the broody has goo on her underside. :rolleyes:

    All this because my polish pullet decided she wanted to lay ON TOP of her. My girl is also very dominant. She growls when any other chicken goes near, but it didn't deter Harriet!

    My cochin could only handle 10 comfortably. She could cover 14, but when moving around, she would leave a couple out. I thought ten would be easier for her to manage.

    I'd say set 12. That seems to be a good amount for a large breed hen :)
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Broken eggs in the nest can lead to physical and bacterial contamination of the entire clutch. Generally not a risk worth taking.
     
  7. Rocky Road

    Rocky Road Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll check every day and see how the nest looks then and go from there. I will have to mark the older eggs too so I don't accidently take one of those out! She isn't bothered by me going near her at all as I've lifted her off her nest and set her back on it the last 5-6 days or so and is still as determined as ever! I do have an incubator that I can start up if she decides she has enough. I would prefer her to hatch them so they can gradually get used to the expanding flock.
     
  8. Rocky Road

    Rocky Road Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well . . . I settled on 10 eggs . . . until I had another hen join her two days ago and she took half of her eggs . . haha. So now they have 14 between the two of them.
     
  9. bmeredith

    bmeredith New Egg

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    Can I just mark my eggs and leave them in the nest and will my hen start setting on them eventually?

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  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    No. There is no point in leaving eggs in a nest hoping a hen will go broody. She will set in her own time, when her hormones tell her to. Some people leave fake eggs in a nest and have luck with a hen deciding to set, but if you want eggs hatched in your own time, you're better off getting an incubator.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017

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