Unwanted Broody Hen on Fertile Eggs- How Late is Too Late to Stop Her?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Calix, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. Calix

    Calix Out Of The Brooder

    67
    3
    31
    Sep 7, 2012
    I have a 6 month old EE hen who has started showing some signs of being broody over they last week or so. Do to some outside circumstances I haven't been able to collect/wash eggs for a few days, which allowed them to build up a bit. She is currently sitting on twelve (!!!) eggs, presumably fertile as she is in with a rooster and one other hen. The problem is, I'm not entirely sure how long she's been setting; I've been shooing her away from the nestboxes for some time now, and I know I chased her away last night, but I don't know how consistent she has been, exactly when she started, or how far along her eggs may be. I candled them, and I don't see major differences; the eggs are colored and thick-shelled, so it's a bit difficult to discern, but they're definitely not more than a couple days along as there aren't obvious differences from their sister un-incubated eggs from another nest. I don't want chicks right now, but I also don't want to toss eggs with chicks developing inside. I've told my mom (I'm a college student living at home) that I'll get rid of them, but I keep worrying about it and it's making me really anxious.

    So my question is: how far along is too far along to take them and get rid of them? Has anyone else experienced this? Maybe I'm overthinking it; I just don't want to pointlessly kill anything. I mean, I don't even kill bugs if I can avoid it, it makes me queasy.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,291
    5,243
    476
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If you candled them and could see the yolk they aren't far along if at all, after about a week you can see blood vessels developing, it sounds like you can toss them without guilt, I know the feeling.
     
  3. Calix

    Calix Out Of The Brooder

    67
    3
    31
    Sep 7, 2012
    Thanks for answering so quickly! It's good to know I'm not the only bleeding heart, haha. I know I overthink this stuff a lot, I just take animals very seriously, and I hate the thought of inadvertently causing harm or death if I don't have to. I'm going to take them before going to bed, I think, and then maybe move Willow (my broody) to a wire-bottom cage to keep cool air under her and hopefully get her back to normal.


    (I feel like I should add: since both of the hens in that pen are young, their eggs are itty-bitty- maybe half the volume of the older hens'? Those would be some tiny chicks, bantam sized almost!)
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    17,291
    5,243
    476
    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    They would be tiny chicks, when I let hens hatch some eggs I worry about tossing those that didn't hatch, so I remove them and let them sit a day or two, we once got rid of some extra duck eggs that turned out to be half formed, I felt terrible, it has made me wary of just getting rid of them. I'm a big bleeding heart too.

    Glad you going to break your broody, I think it's kinder, over in three days, and she can get back to being a chicken.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by