Leave eggs under hen or move to incubator?

Bluebellhoney

Chirping
Oct 12, 2020
102
156
93
My chooks free range in a big field during the day, and are penned at night. Recently we had a big storm that brought down lots of trees and branches, and we had piled them up intending to burn them, but then had a total fire ban so they had to stay.
All of a sudden I was getting no eggs, and one of the girls (a bantam x Wyandotte, Bambi) was missing. I searched for her everywhere and finally assumed a hawk had snatched her...
Christmas Eve we decided to clear to the pile as I was concerned it was a risk for the chooks, and who should I find but Bambi, sitting on 19 eggs!
So I have moved her to my luxury maternity ward, and I am here to ask- is 19 too many? Should I move some to the incubator? I know it’s silly but I can’t bring myself to just take them away and not try to hatch them! I have candled them and lots look fertile, and those that don’t may well be too early to tell as she was only missing a few days (she has everyone’s eggs pretty much!).
She just about manages to cover them, she is a first time mum, she is doing a great job of sitting and has food and water within reach and room to roam a little if she requires. I have her in the garage so she is getting regular check ups.
I’m in Australia so the weather is very warm, even over night.
Also, I haven’t yet tried my incubator...

Tl;dr - my medium sized chicken Is sitting on 19 eggs, is this ok or should I move some to the incubator that I have never tried before?

Thanks!
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
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New Jersey
I'd candle and move some of the 'clear' eggs to the incubator as she will most likely stop setting within 36 hours after the first egg hatches. Good luck.
 

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