Production red broody?


8 Years
Jul 22, 2013
Recently my pr had been Laing egg, but the she became broody, butI took the egg out since there was no rooster. She laid a total of 13 eggs. My neighbor though has some hens and rooster but the will only go broody for a while and abandon the egg, they won't sit for the whole 20-21 day for the eggs to hatch. She gave me 13 eggs to put under her, but I don't know if they are fertile or not! What do I do?


Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
May 3, 2009
New Jersey
If your neighbor has roosters with the hens, it would be highly unusual that the eggs are not fertile. Some broody hens will 'break' prior to 21 days and others will set seemingly for ever. Why not give it a try?


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
My test to see if a hen is truly broody and deserving of eggs is that she must stay on the nest two consecutive nights instead of roosting in her normal spot. I’ve had hens act broody, demonstrating all the behaviors, maybe even spending one night on the nest, but not really staying broody. Going broody is caused by hormones and sometimes they don’t fully kick in. I’ve never had a hen abandon a nest with my two consecutive nights rule, but they are living animals that can’t count. I’m sure some will.

There is no realistic way for you to be able to tell if any individual egg is fertile. If you open an egg you can look for the bull’s eye. If most of the eggs you open have a bull’s eye, then most you don’t open will be fertile. Here’s a link that shows you what to look for.
Fertile Egg Photos

If a rooster is running with the hens, most eggs are probably fertile. What I’d do once I was sure she is truly broody would be to mark the eggs so I can tell at a glance which eggs belong. I use a Sharpie and make two circles around the egg, on the short way and one the long. Some people will tell you to do this in the middle of the night using stealth technology, but I just do it in the middle of the day and have never had a problem. Remove any eggs that might be under her and put the marked eggs under her. You can either toss her off the nest to do this or just use your hand to slip one at a time under her.

Then at the end of the day after the other hens have finished laying, check under her for any new unmarked eggs. Remove these every day and you can use them, they are still good. If you let them build up under her where she can’t cover all the eggs, you have a problem so remove them daily. If she can’t cover them all, some will cool off and die.

Next mark your calendar. If you start them on a Tuesday, write “set eggs” on the calendar the day you set them. Then go down three weeks and on that Tuesday write “hatch” or whatever day of the week you start hem. That’s the target date. I had a broody hatch last week that the first two were a full two days early and all seven were out a full day early. That’s why I called it a target but at least you know when they should hatch.

Hens and eggs come in different sizes. A bantam may have trouble covering four full sized eggs. I normally give a hen 12 eggs of the size she normally lays, but not always. I have given 15 and she did fine. As long as the eggs you are getting are the size she normally lays, you should be fine with 13.

There are other ways to do this. It’s popular with many people to isolate the broody. Build a pen for her where the other hens cannot get in her nest to lay and she can’t get out. Make it big enough for a nest, food, water, and for her to go poop without messing the nest, food, or water. There are some advantages to this but the big risk is that you may break her from being broody by moving her.

There are other variations on the isolate or don’t isolate themes. There is no one right way or wrong way to do this. Most people are successful whatever way they choose, though some also have disasters whichever way they choose. But most are successful. Good luck and welcome to the adventure.


7 Years
Sep 12, 2012
Ridgerunner's rule about two consecutive nights is HIGHLY recommended! I took his advice with my own broody hens several months ago, and I tell EVERYONE I respond to here on BYC about that same rule! While many of the chicks were sold off from that round, I have two silkies, one columbian wyandotte, and a mixed breed bantam hen that those mommies hatched out!

And then, just as the older ones were getting out on their own and the hens started laying afterwards, one hen went broody all over again! She now has three new chicks under her wings at night!

That two-night rule has been a sure-fire thing for me, and has helped me hatch out plenty more than my incubator alone!

(By the way, I don't isolate my hens, unless more than one is broody - so they don't try to crowd the same nest and squish babies.)

As for fertilization, put them under the hen, wait seven days, and candle them to look for signs of blood vessels.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom