Pretty sure we've passed 21 days....


5 Years
Sep 12, 2014
Hi all, we have a young broody hen who was sitting on all of our hens eggs (five hens all up). She had a huge amount and after some research and candling we've managed to cull a few that weren't growing. We estimated day 21 to be last weekend, it's now the following Saturday and no chicks, although I can hear one tapping and scratching the shell with no pipping visible yet. Considering it is obviously possible that we have no clue how old the eggs are, it is hard not to worry and try to help. Is there anything else I can do to check progress or health? I'm suspecting eggs have been added after she started to become broody, resulting in the long delay...
Help please!!!
The best thing to do at this point is just let the hen be and let nature take its course. If any hatch, she will wait a day or so and then leave the nest. We often do more harm than good when we try to "help". I would suggest that the next time you have a broody, limit the number of eggs she's setting on (I had good luck this year with giving my LF broodies 10 eggs each), mark those eggs and remove any extras that show up in the nest each day. When a hen has too many eggs she can't cover them all properly, causing them to possibly not develop at all, or poorly. When using an incubator, if the temperature is too low, it can delay the hatch date. I would think it would be the same way when a hen has too many eggs.
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Well! We ended up taking the eggs as she wasn't sitting on them much and they were going cold due to is giving her two babies I bought and she is now mothering them. Due to the days passing (now +28 days) we didn't think any more would hatch and can't hear any scratching or chirping inside. I opened one up to see what stage they were up to thinking they'd died and it was still alive! So we lost that one, but now have the other under a heat lamp, but don't think the humidity is great enough to help. We decided to help the chirping above mentioned chick, and it was alive, but yesterday and most of this morning was kicking around strongly but could not hold it's head up and appeared as though it's head was upside down. It was still on the brink of deciding how far to let it go before we made that decision, but just went in to check up on it now, and the little bugger is standing up and starting to peck and look around!! Only in two hours it's totally transformed and looking great! I'm absolutely shocked seeing the progress.... Not sure about the other eggs.... Next time definitely use an incubator and monitor and mark the eggs. Thanks so much for the advice!!
You could still use a broody (my preferred method, as temperature and humidity are always correct!) to hatch your eggs and just make sure she doesn't have too many. (I give my LF broodies 10 eggs) They should all develop at the same time that way. And yes - mark the eggs to hatch, or separate during incubation. Glad the one is doing OK.

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