Letting Broody Hens Hatch Eggs.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Shawnna R, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Shawnna R

    Shawnna R In the Brooder

    Jun 5, 2013
    Until recently I haven't thought much about hatching eggs. But I have recently ended up with a rooster in my group of pullets I added to my flock this year. I have two Dark Brahmas that ALWAYS seem to be broody. Then I got to thinking about letting them sit on eggs, but I wanted to know a little more about it.
    Is there a easy way to see if an egg is fertilized? How long should it be until I can candle an egg and see? My two broody ladies are always in the coop sitting on eggs, which I usually remove from under them. I have never owned a rooster until now so I know nothing about this. If you have had experience with letting your ladies sit on eggs, please share! Thank you in advance :)
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    It is very likely that all your eggs are fertile. The only two ways to know for sure are incubate, or crack them open to eat (see link below.)

    Look at the stickies in the Incubating forum (blue box at the top) to learn more about candling. I've let broodies raise several clutches but have never candled an egg. I do know some experienced hatchers who candle around day 10 only.

    If you let the flock collect and set on eggs in the coop without supervison, you end up with some broken and stolen eggs, hens returning to the wrong nest or kicking a broody off the nest, partly developed chicks who get abandoned so the mama can raise chicks that have already hatched -- and so forth. It's best to collect eggs you want to try hatching yourself, on your kitchen counter, then put them under a broody all at once. It's also best if the broody is already in a separate small coop or room, and stays there til the chicks hatch. Then you can return mama and chicks to the flock and let her care for them, teach them, protect them if needed, etc. Sometimes the rooster helps raise the chicks' it would be very unusual if he harmed them. the other hens may try to go after them, but the mama sill run them off. When the mama is through being a mama, your chicks will already be integrated into the flock. They may hang together and even sleep on the floor a while, but they should be safe.

  3. Shawnna R

    Shawnna R In the Brooder

    Jun 5, 2013
    How long does it take for eggs to hatch with a hen sitting on them? How long can the hen leave the eggs to eat or drink? (if they can at all)
    I plan on separating one of my broody hens and giving her a clutch of eggs to sit on, will she get tired of sitting on them an abandon her eggs?
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It will take about 21 days for the eggs to hatch. The hen gets off the nest once a day or so to eat, drink, poop, dust bathe, and stretch her legs. She knows how long she can be gone. If she is truly broody, she will not get tired of setting and abandon the eggs.
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    The average incubation time is 21 days, but that is "average" - which means eggs could hatch anywhere from 19 to 26 days. Generally, though, they're right around 21 days..

    Broody hens leave the nest once, maybe twice a day for the first two weeks, then as Hatch Day gets closer, they may not leave the nest at all for two to three days. She hears the chicks in the eggs and stays there with them. Depending on the weather, she may stay off the nest for a couple of hours on hot days, and on cold days no ore than enough time to defecate, eat, and drink. Sometimes she will take a short dust bath too. Some hens have to be taken off the nest to make sure she DOES eat and drink.

    Because they don't eat all day like the rest of the flock, I will give special, high protein treats to my broody hens on their nests. I also set up a feeder and waterer close to 'em, especially once the chicks hatch.

    Some young broody hens give up early. Some are great setters but lousy mommas once the chicks hatch.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  6. Shawnna R

    Shawnna R In the Brooder

    Jun 5, 2013
    Should I separate her and her clutch?? i considered putting her in a large cage (Dog kennel) in the coop, we have a fairly large coop so it would be fine space wise. But would she get upset if I moved her and then kept her in there?
  7. nova022

    nova022 Songster

    Aug 3, 2012
    Quote:I have three week old chicks that my Buff Orpington hatched. I could let them back with the flock because I have been plagued iwth rat snakes this summer and was afraid they would eat the chicks. I am not sure how they get in because I have 1/2 hardward cloth completely enclosing the run and on the windows and vents of the coop. How long should I keep the mother with the chicks and would I be able to intergrate them with her once they are older or should I let her go back to the flock once the chicks feather out?

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