New broody eating eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Londonchix, May 28, 2017.

  1. Londonchix

    Londonchix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    hi everyone! I had a girl go broody 2 weeks ago. It was her first time so I got 6 fertilised eggs from a breeder and she accepted them right away. However a few days later she kicked out two eggs and had either laid 2 of her own or borrowed them from one of our other hens. I figured the ones she kicked out could have been bad...but also thought since they were still warm, it was her having a rookie mistake. I place them back and remove the other non fertile eggs.

    Everything is ok for few days and I noticed one of the eggs got cracked and I had to throw it out- it was otherwise developing. I thought she could have been rough with moving it and caused it to crack. And there are more non fertile eggs in her nest that I removed.

    This morning I look in and she has only 2 fertile eggs in her nest! One of these eggs was cold. I can find no evidence of broken shells. It's as if the 3 fertile eggs disappeared.

    My only thought is she has been eating them. The one egg I found cracked could have been her starting to eat it? She has hardly left the nest. My previous broody did a fine job, but did leave the nest once or twice a day to eat. I have only seen this one leave the nest a few times in the last two weeks.

    Also, I mainly allow nature to take its course and don't interfere with the process. I figured mama will know what to do so I didn't candle them. I prefer to be hands off, so maybe I should have been more attentive?

    Does this sound feasible? If so, is it down to her being a novice? And is it safe to have her try it out again? Thanks!
  2. JaeG

    JaeG True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    If you haven't removed her from the main coop, or separated her off it may be your other hens interfering. Unless she's top hen (and if she's young she won't be) they will bop her out of her box to lay themselves and could be breaking the eggs in the process.
  3. Londonchix

    Londonchix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    All three hens are the same age and she is the top of the pecking order. So, the other two have stayed far away from her. The other two have been laying in a different part of the house, I guess to stay away from her?
    The other birds haven't broken eggs before so not sure if they did this and if they would develop that behaviour later?
    I thought if it were accidental breaking there would be some evidence with shells fragments somewhere...but I can find nothing at all and I pick through it with a fine tooth comb. I never experienced this before. Weird!
  4. Top Rooster

    Top Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2015
    North East Oklahoma
    You guys must live in the Southern Hemisphere or you guys don't go to bed till way late. Anyway what breed is she? Maybe when she is off the nest the other hens are stealing or breaking the eggs
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    In my experience when eggs totally disappear under a broody hen it's because a snake is eating them. Practically any other thing will leave evidence of some sort. Depending in size, a snake eats what it can and disappears for a few days while it digests them, then reappears and takes some more. I saw the snake that was doing it, a five foot rat snake. it took 4 eggs at a time. They can come any time day or night. Yeah, kind of creepy. There might be another explanation but this is what I've seen.

    I've never had a hen kick an egg out of a nest. I think that's mainly because I have a fairly high lip on my nests so she'd have to really work to do that. I don't know what your nests look like so I don't know if that is a factor or not.

    Other hens will sometimes lay an egg with a broody, I regularly see that. That's why you need to mark them and check under her regularly to remove any new eggs. If you do that daily the eggs are good to eat, you will not find any surprises in there. Some people have had broody hens steal eggs from other nests, so that is a possibility, but I haven't seen that.

    It's probably too late to check, but how thick was the shell on the one that was cracked? Broody hens and just hens laying eggs walk on the eggs when getting on and off the nest. When turning the eggs or when a hen is getting ready to lay they will often scratch and arrange the bedding. I don't fine many damaged eggs but when I do it's usually an unusually thin-shelled one.

    Most if my broody hens welcome another hen to lay an egg in her nest but some are more protective of the nest. It's always possible the hen was defending her nest from another hen or even a critter and an egg was cracked. The only time I've seen that was when two broody hens fought over a nest while the eggs were hatching, they destroyed several. I don't know what happened to crack your egg, with living animals about anything can possibly happen.

    I've had really good success the first time a hen or even pullet has gone broody. I've had problems with a broody hen that had previously hatched and raised a brood with no problems the first time. I had problems with one broody her first and second time she tried to hatch a brood. She never got a third chance. I don't know what is causing your problems, if it has anything to do with that broody hen or not. I can't tell you if she deserves a second chance or not.

    When you deal with living animals and you are not watching them 24/7 it's often hard to figure out what is really going on. Sometimes you can have some pretty big surprises. I sure can't tell you what has happened.
  6. Londonchix

    Londonchix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    In England, we don't usually have a problem with snakes but I suppose it could be a rat stealing the eggs?! Because there's a huge fox problem, we close up the hen house doors as well as the coop each night because the foxes will find a way in to steal the hens. We had too many hens become fox dinners. However, I suppose a smallish rat could find its way in. Oh well, I won't give up on her going broody again. Maybe one of the two may hatch still, fingers crossed!
  7. Londonchix

    Londonchix Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 1, 2014
    Just to update..this hen one day walked off her nest and started sitting on another! The 2 remaining fertilized eggs were cold and I have no clue how long they had been abandoned. In one last effort I stuck those two eggs under her new nest thinking they were goners anyway.
    Today I heard little chirps in the back and I find one tiny but healthy chick! She is still sitting on the other egg so fingers crossed it will hatch. And by the markings on this baby, she is a girl. Yippee! Hopefully mama will be more attentive to this hatching than she was to the nest.

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