Need help with Broody Hen, new at this

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Hawk&Hens, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. Hawk&Hens

    Hawk&Hens New Egg

    May 25, 2011
    This will be day thirteen (if I've counted correctly) of my Barred Rock broody sitting on seven eggs (Her first try). I'm pretty sure they were feritle and she started her clutch in a nest box, and we weren't smart enough to move her until yesterday to be sectioned off from the other hens. She took the move just fine. My worry is that she has been off the nest here and there due to other hens taking her nest while she was eating/drinking. She would come back, her nest occupied and sit on other eggs. I caught this happen twice, not sure how long she was off. I would just move her back. The weather has been between 35 degrees and 60 degrees, kinda crazy weather. Anyhow, I tried to candle the eggs, and am not that great at it. So, I really don't know if they are still good or not. She is still sitting and seems determined. Should I let this play out, or start her with new eggs?

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I would keep her on them. Also, I always give eggs three days past the 21 day mark as I have read so many on BYC have had them hatch then.
  3. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    If her nest was occupied by other hens, there's a good chance they've been sneakily laying their eggs in with her eggs, so you most likely have eggs at different stages of development in there. And if you don't know which are which, candling might not tell you much, as you could be looking at the 'newer' eggs and not seeing what you'd expect. In future, you can mark your broody's eggs the day she starts sitting. A sharpie or a pencil are both fine to use. And that way you can check there aren't more eggs being added to her clutch!

    That's no help for now though...

    If I were you, I'd wait till what I thought was day 18 or 19, then I'd candle. By that stage, it's fairly easy even for a total beginner to candling to figure out what's likely to be a viable embryo and what's a clear non-developed egg. An egg with an almost fully grown chick in it will be solidly dark for about two thirds of the egg, with a big clear bit (the air cell) at the fat end. Non-developed ones will look totally clear, and if you're not sure what that looks like, get an egg out of your fridge and use that for comparison. If there ARE eggs at different stages of development in there, you might not be able to tell them apart from ones that started developing and then quit, so it'll only be safe to remove the totally clear ones.

    Either that or just let her sit for at least another 10 days and see what happens. Don't be too quick to count 21 days and then think all the eggs are duds though. The one time I had a broody hen, it took her till day 25 or 26 (can't remember exactly which) to hatch the first chick. Due to getting off the nest for meal and toilet breaks, hens don't provide a steady heat the way incubators are supposed to, so will often take an extra couple of days to incubate the eggs.

    Good luck with her. I hope she manages to hatch some chicks. [​IMG]
  4. Hawk&Hens

    Hawk&Hens New Egg

    May 25, 2011
    Thanks so much for the input. I'll let her continue and see what happens!
  5. Hawk&Hens

    Hawk&Hens New Egg

    May 25, 2011
    UPDATE! On day 21, two chicks hatched, of seven eggs. So happy for my momma hen because I was so doubtful that she'd get her wish. It's day 23 and no other activity. I suppose I'll give them a couple more days and then take them away. Momma is showing her little ones where to eat and drink, it's amazing.
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Awww that's wonderful!
  7. Me & Jack

    Me & Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Congrats! There's nothing quite like watching a broody momma with her new babies.
  8. Egg Rookie 2010

    Egg Rookie 2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    North Idaho
    Hooray! I just posted a new thread with nearly the same problem! Well this is good news anyway. Ill remain hopeful. I have had one broody before but it was 100 plus degrees outside and I wasnt afraid of them cooling at that point.

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