Trying to get my chickens to sit on eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by drymanhattan, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. drymanhattan

    drymanhattan Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2015
    Westchester, New York
    I have three hens, including a Buff Orpington I am counting on to go broody. I thought I could just stop collecting eggs until there were enough to trigger her desire to sit on them, but I now doubt whether this is the right way. How long can the eggs remain viable without being sat on? I'm in the metro NY area where the nights are still dipping to frost temperatures. How do I go about this? I'm in a bit of a hurry because my rooster's days are numbered around here!
  2. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

    Mar 3, 2011
    The Land of Enchantment
    All I can say is good luck. I have not heard of a reliable way to make a hen go broody, so I'll be watching your thread to see what kind of responses you get.

    Do you know anyone with an incubator you could borrow or someone to hatch eggs for you?
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    If your rooster has a bad temperament, think twice before hatching eggs fertilized by him. Roosters tend to pass that aggressive temperament on to his chicks.
    Provided the eggs don't freeze, they can stay viable for up to 2 or 3 weeks at cool temperatures.
    Good luck. Hens tend to do the exact opposite of what you want.
  4. Cowgirl71

    Cowgirl71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2010
    Missouri Ozarks
    I am farther south than you, and generally my girls don't start going broody until March at the soonest (no one has yet), but most commonly they usually wait until April and May (and then my nest boxes get "clogged" with hens wanting to set, with lengthy waiting lines of ladies wanting to lay in the 1 or 2 available nests, LOL). If it's still getting down into the 30s at night, I doubt any of your hens are going to go broody. Their instinct usually tells them it's too cold, and so wait a little longer. I've heard Silkies will go broody in January, but most breeds will wait to set until late spring and summer.

    And yes, leaving a nest of 10-12 eggs in a dark private cozy nest is the best way I know of to encourage a hen to go broody.

    Eggs kept in perfect conditions can give very good hatch rates 7-10+ days post laying. Outside in your nest boxes, probably factor up to 5-7 days (for very good hatch rates). Make sure to turn them every day, twice a day is even better, so that the yolk doesn't get stuck to the shell from sitting in one place too long.

    I would probably (A) Look into possibly buying or borrowing an incubator, if you want to hatch your hen's eggs, (B) Buy some chicks, if you're wanting chicks, or (C) Plan to possibly get some fertile eggs later this year, if and when one of your hens goes broody; or you can also buy some chicks to slip under her, when she's been broody for at least a week, if you're wanting hen-raised chicks (I've had great success with getting hens to adopt hatchery chicks!). The chances of one of your hens going broody in the next several days - with temps that low - is not very good, so I'd plan on a Plan B.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016

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