How to switch eggs under a broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Honora, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. Honora

    Honora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2014
    SF Bay Area
    I have a broody (first time) and she is sitting in a nest box that is open to the other hens. The other bantams like to lay in the same nest, so they have still been laying in there and I have just been letting the broody keep all the eggs cause I don't want to disturb her. It's been about 6 days so there are probably quite a few in there, although I only have 2 other bantams that lay in there.

    I have some fertile eggs on the way now though, so I am going to want to switch the infertile eggs out and get the fertile ones in there instead. What is the best way to do this? She seems to get off the nest at mid-morning when I am almost always out. Do I just pick her up & make the switch any time? Should I wait till night time? Am I overthinking this, lol?
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    Nov 7, 2012
    Although I have never switched out eggs with a broody, I think you're over thinking it. You can either switch them when she gets off the nest for her daily jaunt, or you can wait till night time, and switch them then. You're gonna need to let them sit for 24 hours undisturbed before setting them under her. Are they coming right away? It's hard on a hen to sit for a lengthy time. They're designed to sit for 21 days. You might want to offer her some high protein while she's sitting. I gave my gal an egg several times/week, and believe it helped her.
  3. Honora

    Honora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2014
    SF Bay Area
    Yes, the eggs should be here today. They are coming by truck, so I am told they should not get too shaken up. I guess I will do the switch at night then. Why do they need to sit for 24 hours? Thanks for the information; I am new to all this!
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    When I switch eggs under a broody, I switch them when I am ready. I may toss her off the nest but normally I just reach under her and remove the old eggs, then put the new eggs in her nest. If you take her off the nest and set her on the ground she will probably just sit there for a bit then eventually either run off to eat, drink, and such or she will move back to her nest. If you put them in the nest with her on the nest you don’t even need to put them all under her. Just put them in the nest, she’ll move them under her. I hardly ever do this at night, usually in the middle of the day.

    Before you put the new eggs under her mark them so you can tell at a glance which ones belong. I use a black Sharpie and make a couple of circles around the eggs, one long way, one short way, so no matter how they are laying I can see a mark. Then after the other hens have laid for the day, check under the broody and remove any eggs that don’t belong. You can toss her off the nest or just raise her up and look underneath. As long as you remove these other eggs every day you can still use them.

    Some broody hens will peck you when you reach in her nest, some don’t. When they peck it might be hard enough to hurt, or it might not. You might want to wear gloves and/or long sleeves when you do that.

    It is sometimes a good idea to let shipped eggs sit for a day or so to give them time to reset the air cell if it has moved during shipment. I don’t know how much those eggs coming by truck will be shaken up, a lot of that depends on how bad your roads are. It’s kind of standard to let them sit overnight pointy side down to let them settle before you start incubation.
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