Trying to hatch eggs with no rooster

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Salsa, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Salsa

    Salsa Hatching

    Jun 30, 2008
    I have one hen who has recently started spending most of the day sitting on eggs in the nest. It's a pain to get her off the nest and collect the eggs, none of which are usually hers. I have no rooster, so I'm not expecting any baby chickens. So why is she sitting on the eggs all day long? And what can I do to make her stop? I noticed this morning that one of the other hens was developing a new nest in the coop. I think they're getting annoyed at her.
  2. Linda in San Diego

    Linda in San Diego Songster

    May 11, 2008
    San Diego
    From what I have read it sounds like your hen is getting "broody". Even with no rooster the urge to sit on the eggs has kicked in, but of course you and I know it won't work, but her clock has kicked in.

    Hopefully someone with actual experience will read this and give both of us information on how to "break up a broody hen".
  3. babyboy1_mom

    babyboy1_mom Songster

    Apr 13, 2008
    Salsa - Welcome to BYC.

    Sometimes it works to just keep kicking the hen off of the nest, but it depends on how determined she is to sit on eggs. I usually put my broodies in a wire bottomed pen with no nest box in it for several days to a week and that breaks the broodiness.

    You could always give her some fertile eggs to hatch, if you want some babies.

  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Going broody is purely hormonal and has nothing to do with whether there is a rooster, or even if there are any eggs to sit on. They will often just sit on air [​IMG]

    Just keep kicking her out of the box and/or use the wire crate method to break the broody as previously mentioned.

    OR get you some hatching eggs quick!
  5. karrie

    karrie In the Brooder

    May 28, 2008
    Yep, it's hormonal. I use the separate wire cage for 3-7 days, letting her out for a little exercise. Food & water are in the cage, but no nesting material. Sounds cruel, but it's not.
  6. Mikah

    Mikah Hatching

    Mar 9, 2012
    Thank you...I think these tips will solve my problem. I think I like the cage method the best. Direct, to the point, and done. However....if I were to find a fertle egg for her hatch, what is the incubation time? I have 4 other chickens. I am afraid one might kill a baby if left for more than a few hours. And should she stop her behavior when baby comes? Or will she go more crazy because I have to take it away? Plus she is the one that gets picked on the most. I'm afraid she may loose an eye before her journey is through! Any thoughts?
  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Songster

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    first, if you want to try to let her hatch, I recommend more than just one or two minimum I would try four. Some may not make it all the way to hatch.

    21 days is how long they usually need to hatch out. Once the babies hatch, her job is to go from heating pad to teacher and protector. So yes, her broody behavior should stop (and be replaced with motherly behavior if her instincts are good and intact) once the babies hatch. Because she is the lowest on the pecking order, something would need to be done to accomodate her for the safety of her and her brood. If it is possible, just section off the area she has chosen to nest with some hardware cloth or something else to keep the others out.

    Just in case, mark the fertile eggs, and remove any others. You can also try moving her into a cage with nesting material and allowing her to brood in there, but she may not cooperate.

    Once the babies hatch, because she is low on the order, I would keep her and her crew separate for a couple of weeks, but where the rest of the flock can see them. Just remember, she may not sit the full 21 days needed to hatch, and if she does make it till hatch, she may not be a good momma. Just be prepared to pull the babies and raise them yourself if necissary.

    If you would rather just try to break her of being broody, try to keep any and all eggs out of there. Collect them several times a day, and remove her from the nest. It took three days of this treatment to break my last girl of her broody behavior.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: