My hen is sitting on 20 eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tufamily5, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. tufamily5

    tufamily5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2014
    One of our hens began to sit on the nest all day about a week ago. We normally get about 6 - 9 eggs per day, but when she began to set, it changed to about 3 - 5 eggs a day. The children and I finally went out today to see if we could mark and count the eggs, and we marked 20 eggs, all different colors from different hens. Our setting hen is flat and spread out trying to cover all of those eggs. I feel badly for the girl.

    Should we intervene and take some? Is it okay to eat them at this point?
  2. CrazyChookLady5

    CrazyChookLady5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2013
    Australia, NSW
    WOW!! 20 eggs, so she's broody and the eggs are fertile??
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    If she's been sitting for a week....and the eggs are fertile....they have probably started to develop and you won't want to eat them.

    If you want to let her sit and hatch eggs might be best to mark the eggs she's sitting on and remove any others every day from now on.

    If you don't want her to hatch eggs....or they are not fertile...there are ways to 'break a broody'
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    In addition to aart's recommendation, if you allow her to continue setting, (and it sounds like you are leaning in that direction) You might want to move her to a spot where the other girls can't have access to her nest, and where the hatchlings will be safe from the other hens, or a nasty fall out of the nest, where they may get out of the nest and not be able to get back in... If you can, try candling the eggs, and removing any that haven't developed. That will increase the likelihood of her having a successful hatch. If she has too many eggs to cover well, the ones that get rotated to the outside get chilled, and the embryo's may die... and they all will get rotated to the outside... so smaller clutch = better hatch rate. Do you have access to an incubator? If so, you could move some of her eggs to the bator. The difficulty for you, even if she successfully hatches, is the fact that eggs have been added since she started setting, so she may abandon the nest before they've all hatched. Yet an other reason to remove her from proximity to the rest of the flock! Good luck, and have fun. Watching a broody raise chicks is a lot of fun.
  5. tufamily5

    tufamily5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2014
    Great recommendations. Will see what I can work on tomorrow to move her to her own "place". Will I have trouble candling brown eggs, I wonder?

    Many thanks for the feedback.
  6. tufamily5

    tufamily5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2014
    Well, I'm not sure if they are fertilized, although we do have a rooster. I guess I need to see about candling them. Just learning as I go.

    Thanks for the reply.

  7. txcarl1258

    txcarl1258 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2010
    I would definately candle them and remove any that are not developing. Like lazy gardener said she will rotate them causing some of them to die. In turn she rotate the dead ones to the middle causing the live eggs to be moved to the outside where they may become chilled and die creating a viscous cycle. What breed is she? Even the biggest large fowl hen would have trouble covering more than 15 eggs.
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    In response to txcarl258, I agree. Even if all of her eggs are viable, you might want to decrease the clutch to 10 - 12 eggs. Is she a first time broody? Candling is not hard as long as they are not Marans! You need to do it in complete darkness and with a very strong flash light. It can be done simply by forming one hand into a tunnel, and holding the flashlight inside the bottom of the tunnel with your pinkie wrapped around it. You then place the egg over the open end of the tunnel, and you can view the contents. (try it in the kitchen with a non-incubated egg first.) Take a basket with you, b/c if you don't, you may end up grabbing the same egg over and over again. I'd candle one or 2 to figure out how to do it, then you can remove the rest to the basket (line it with a warm towel, candle, and slip the good ones back under the hen. Go to the search bar at the top of the page and enter "candling eggs" for lots of information. It is best for you to have a helper. You can mark each good egg, remove every bad egg, and mark the ones you're not sure of with a "?" If you have some that started, but failed to develop, you might want to open them up later, to see what's going on inside. It's a good education for folks who are not squeamish about that sort of thing. Have fun Sarah. Keep us posted! We all learn from each other's experience... and even live vicariously through each other's flocks!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    I agree wholeheartedly. She can't hatch that many eggs. Candle them and pare them down to 12 or fewer, or she may accidentally kill most of the hatch.

    Personally, I find I get better hatches with 10 eggs, even under a large bird.
  10. Skhan

    Skhan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2014
    i would also like to share my opinion that she might have problem in on sitting on those 20 eggs...if u have one more broody hen u just pick 10 eggs and give it under that other broody hen it will surely help u...........i hope my message is conveyed to u.....

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