If hen runs off to brood, how long before she returns?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by adstowe, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. adstowe

    adstowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, exactly 3 weeks ago one of my buff orpington hens vanished. No feathers. Other chickens were undisturbed and had no change in laying pattern. They didn't act like there had been an attack or anything. I came to the conclusion that a coyote must have snagged her while I was at work and while I told myself not to get my hopes up that maybe she'd gone broody on a hidden nest... Now that the eggs should be hatching I've admitted to myself that I did, in fact hold out hope that's what happened. I've kept food and water available for her outside the run (I stopped letting the others free range when I'm not home, so she wouldn't have been able to get food and water from in the run). She was a special hen to me, who started as a runt and made her way to lead hen. She's actually the only hen who I've ever named. Anyway, the question is: If she disappeared to hatch a hidden nest 3 weeks ago, how long before they'd show up? I want to know when I can officially accept that she's not coming back. I should add that the eggs would be fertile. Thanks
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Usually a hen that goes off to SET---she will return about daily for food for a few minutes and go back to her nest, but there is cases of her showing up 3 weeks later with chicks.

    Keep in mind she has to get the nest of eggs to start with, which she would do daily until she decides to set---that's when she disappears for long periods time.
     
  3. adstowe

    adstowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just need some closure LOL. I'm gone all day at work and I stopped opening the run before leaving in the morning after she disappeared (to protect the others), so I left food and water out for her... Just in case. So, now that they'd be hatching I don't know how long it would be before she'd show up. I don't honestly expect her to, but I've managed to build up hope (against my will). Just looking for a time frame when I can accept reality
     
  4. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    I would say another week or so.

    Has any of the food you put out been eaten? Have you found any poops that weren't there before?
    I am thinking there should be signs if she has been about the place.
     
  5. adstowe

    adstowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The food gets eaten, but I have tons of wild quail on my property and I still let the other chickens out after I get home from work, so the have access to the area too. I really don't expect her to show up, but I can't help hoping. Trust me. I tried to not hope and it didn't work LOL
     
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  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    :hugs I do hope she comes back but I fear the worst.
     
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  7. adstowe

    adstowe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I expect the worst. I really tried to not develop hope, but I've been leaving food and water for 3 weeks so, I guess I didn't do a very good job!
     
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