What to do with eggs under the broody hen

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by eldfort, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. eldfort

    eldfort Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2012
    What does a newbie chicken mom do when the lady in question is laying on her eggs and also laying an egg every day too? I want her to try to hatch a few out, but what's the procedure peeps?
  2. mickey328

    mickey328 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    As I understand it, a broody will lay every day till she has a clutch she feels is appropriate (no idea how that's determined). Then she sits on 'em with very short breaks for food and water, until they hatch. The actual incubation doesn't start till she sits...that way they all hatch the same time. I'm sure more experience folk will chime in...I don't know if you could remove the eggs you don't want to hatch or if she'd just keep laying more till she was ready to sit.
  3. moomoodiddy

    moomoodiddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2012
    Union County, NC
    if u r worried about a prolonged hatch take all the eggs out and throw them out then take out every egg as soon as it is laid keep them in a 50 ish degree dry area for up to five days mark them and put them back under her every time she lays a new egg take it out
  4. eldfort

    eldfort Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2012
    Thank you folks! She is a tiny girl and she has three little eggs and she does take small breaks. She quit laying and is doing a "cobra strike" to me if I try to get too close.
  5. Vicky2479

    Vicky2479 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2012
    You have yourself a broody:D I would leave her be and she will mostly just get on with it,that's the beauty of a broody you can let them do all the work, hope you get some cute little fluffy butts in a few weeks :)
  6. Joe Jordan

    Joe Jordan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Yup, I agree with Vicky. Chickens have been laying eggs for millions of years, they likely don't need our interference. She'll know what to do!
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    When a hen is broody, she stops laying eggs. I've had several hens act kind of broody, doing a lot of the things broodies do like spend a lot of time on the nest, fluff up and defend the nest, even walk around with the others puffed up and making that pucking sound. But unless a hen stays on the nest instead of on the roost two consecutive nights, I don't really trust her to be broody enough to give eggs. There are some that you know are truly broody the first time you see them, but I still wait a couple of days to give eggs to any of them.

    There are some different ways to do this, but my procedure with a broody is to collect all the eggs daily until I am ready to start her. I put a couple of golf balls under her to help keep her interested and to test her, but collect the eggs daily. When you are convinced she is truly broody, mark all the eggs you want her to have so you can identify them. I use a black Sharpie and make a couple of circles around the egg, one the short way and another circle the long way so I can immediately see that the egg belongs. Start them all at the same time, otherwise you can get what is called a staggered hatch. That's where some eggs hatch earlier than others and the broody takes the early hatchers off the nest to find food and drink. That leaves the late-hatching chicks abandoned to die in the shell without hatching.

    The reason for marking the eggs is that other hens may lay with the broody. Sometimes the broody will even go to another nest and bring another egg back to her nest. Yeah, they can really do that, but it is pretty rare. You need to check under the broody once a day, in the evening after they have all laid for the day is best, and remove any eggs that don't belong. In addition to the staggered hatch problem, if the number of eggs builds up top where the broody cannot cover them all, some will get pushed out from under her and can die. Then that dead one gets pulled back under her and another gets pushed out to die. You usually don't get a good hatch if the hen cannot cover all her eggs.

    Many people are scared of a broody. They can be pretty defensive. You might want to wear gloves and long sleeves, but checking under her daily is something you need to do.

    That’s basically all I do, though I don’t wear gloves. Some people do a lot more, such as isolate the broody from the flock so they can’t lay eggs with her. Nothing wrong with that approach. It can work fine. That’s just another way to do it.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  8. eldfort

    eldfort Out Of The Brooder

    May 9, 2012
    Thank you all so much! She has been laying on the eggs (3 of them) every day now for a week. She gets out in the morning and eats and drinks then goes back immediately. My husband says she does the cobra strike when you try to look under her. She's so fast, it's kind of scary haha! But, we are going to let her go ahead and sit on them and see what happens. No one else is bothering her or trying to sit where she does, so we're excited! Thanks again!

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