New to egg hatching.


Oct 28, 2020
So, yesterday I found a big clutch of eggs outside in the rain. I brought them inside and my hen just laid another one today. She wont sit on them do I tell if they are fertile or not ? Also, do I put them back outside to see if she'll sit on them ?


Fishin' for Chickens
Nov 9, 2019
Rim Country, Az
Do you have a rooster? try holding them over a flashlight to see in side, however, if they were in the rain, chances are that even if they were fertile, they quit with they cold.


Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
Central PA
Hens tend to lay all of their eggs in one place whether they intend to sit on them or not. A hen has to be broody to set on eggs. Most production layers will never go broody once in their lives. Some breeds go broody quite frequently. If you have a cochin or a silkie or a game chicken, you're likely to see her go broody, but probably not on this batch of eggs. Even a good broody rarely sets more than twice a year, rarely on more than twelve eggs each time. They tend to not set in cold weather.

If the eggs were in the rain, they're less likely to hatch even if she does sit on them. If you have a rooster, the eggs are probably fertile. You can check by cracking an egg open, and seeing if the little white dot on the yolk (the actual egg) has a white ring around it.

I'd eat the eggs, personally. And keep all of the eggs you collect in the house, under temperature controlled conditions. If the hen goes broody, and you want to let her hatch chicks, just wait until she starts setting, and then put some of your sheltered, not older than ten days, eggs back under her.


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
how do I tell if they are fertile or not ?

This thread explains what Sylvia is talking about pretty well.

Fertile Egg Photos

You cannot tell if an egg is fertile when candling unless it has been incubated for a while. You have to crack it and look for the bull's eye. If most of the eggs you crack are fertile, most of the eggs you don't crack should be also.

Also, do I put them back outside to see if she'll sit on them ?

No. You cannot make a hen go broody. You don't know when a hen will go broody. As Sylvia said, many hens will never go broody. As far as I'm concerned, if you put those eggs back outside about all you are doing is trying to attract egg-eating predators. I don't see any benefit at all to putting them back outside.

Do you have a rooster? How many hens do you have? I collect and use my eggs every day. When I think a hen is going broody I test her. If she spends two consecutive nights on the nest then I consider her worthy of eggs. I start collecting eggs from my other hens and when I have enough I mark them and start them all at the same time. Then, every day after the other hens have laid I check under her and remove any that do not belong. As long as you collect fresh eggs every day you can use them without worrying about them trying to develop. If you ever get a broody and want to hatch eggs come back and we can discuss details.

I have let fake eggs (and even real eggs once) build up in a nest a few times, adding one a day. I never got a broody hen doing that and my flock has hens that go broody regularly. The only way you can control when or even if you can hatch eggs is to get an incubator. If you wait for a hen to go broody you may wait years.

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