When should I take eggs away from a broody hen?


In the Brooder
Mar 5, 2018
Hi all

I have had a flock of Icelandic chickens for a few months, they are known to be good brooding hens. I finally had one go broody a few weeks back. I moved her along with 10 eggs into a large dog crate when she started brooding.

Anyway today is now day 25 and there is no sign of hatching. I am afraid that they got contaminated with her poop. (Unfortunately I did not realize that I ought to have left the door open to the dog crate so she could out and poop, and the eggs ended up getting a lot of poop on them, so bacteria may have taken them.) She also seems to be prone to getting up and stretching her legs and clucking through the chicken wire at her flock mates -- I haven't seen her go into "lockdown".

Of the 10 eggs, one I found broken in the nest about 10 days ago, and one I found broken outside the nest a few days ago; that one had a developed (with feathers) but dead chick inside. I did a float test (https://www.backyardchickens.com/th...iability-for-late-or-overdue-hatching.383525/) a couple of days back when she was off the nest and stretching her legs, but I have not been able to candle. All the eggs behaved like viable eggs in the float test, and none of them smell bad (although poop on the outside doesn't help). None felt "liquidy" when gently shaken, but on the other hand, none have had any chirping when tapped.

I'm going to give her a couple more days, but I'm assuming that the eggs are not viable. Nevertheless, she continues to sit on them. Should I just kick her off them and place her back with the rest of the flock? Or will she figure it out and give up at some point? I don't want exploding eggs (though it has been pretty cool here in Michigan so hopefully we have a little more time to get to that point).

I feel bad that my ineptitude may have spoiled her chances, but on the plus side I have a second broody who started incubating on a dozen eggs this weekend, so I hope I can learn from my mistakes!


12 Years
Mar 15, 2010
On the MN prairie.
At this point I'd take them. If you have any way of getting a few day old chicks, you could pick a few up for your broody girl if you wanted to. Slip them under her at night and take the eggs. I've had good luck with that method.

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