Setting hen can't quite cover all the eggs...


Aug 13, 2008
Ellijay, GA
I noticed today that my setting hen cannot always cover all her eggs. I saw one today that was half exposed. Does that mean prolly they wont all hatch, or does nature have a way of somehow taking care of that? What is y'alls experience?
Make her an insulated apron.
Any exposed eggs is a clear sign of too many eggs for her to adequately cover. Exposed eggs can and do get killed and can end up giving a lower hatch rate. For example the hen rotates the eggs around.. so the eggs possibly could take turns getting exposed and weakened/killed. However hens don't equally rotate all of the eggs around so usually only a few eggs get exposed and killed.

Sometimes brooding is awkward due to the nest not being conductive to making a decent depression or a raised circle of material around her. Such on a hard surface with only shavings available etc.

If she has been setting for more than a few days, you should candle all of the eggs, discard any that don't show any growth.. if it turns out several of them needed to be tossed, you probably can return rest of the good eggs without any further adjustments necessary.
when hens make their own nest ,there is usually somewhat of a depression underneath,i usually place straw or similar nesting material areound the outside to make the nest deeper and easier for the hen to cover the eggs.
i to have a oegbxrosecomb hen i gave her twelve she is down to 9 now the other were ice cold and setting beside her. i hope i did not mess up the others because the nest is not very deep. well she is keeping the others under her so far rookie mess ups got to learn by doing
I had one that had problems with her eggs not being completely covered, and she hatched them just fine. The only ones that didn't hatch weren't fertile anyway.
Shelley- how do you know they were infertile rather than killed though? Not hatching or developing does not automatically make them infertile.

Yeah, 16 is too many. Many hens will attempt to sit on a clutch way too large for them to cover adequately. Even so, many game hens are exceptional and are very good at keeping too many eggs under her pretty well compared to other hens. However, the rule still holds- if the nest is good and any eggs are visible while she is completely settled in, there is too many eggs.
Today when I checked on her, she was all spread out over those eggs, and I couldn't see a one. Amazing how she does it, but they are all cozy under her today. I am kinda thinking she may be ok with them.

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