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Why is broody hen eating her eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nzchick, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. nzchick

    nzchick In the Brooder

    Hello all, Im new to this site and very keen to get some information.
    I have a Silver laced Wyandotte named Bella who decided she wanted to become a mummy. Bella was about 1 year old when she joined my flock, so Im unsure if she had been broody before, she is now about 18 months old.
    About 1 week into her broodiness I placed 3 Faverolle and 12 pekin eggs under her. The eggs are due for hatching tomorrow but unfortunately there are only 8 pekin eggs there now, as she has somehow broken and eaten the other 4, over the last 10 days. Im unsure as to how the eggs have broken and am wondering if maybe she is just too big and heavy for them? She does seem quite clumsy, so maybe she has stood on them and once broken, has decided to eat them? I was wondering if anyone else has had experience with this sort of thing, and could lend me some advice?
    I have decided to remove her from the nest and have put my recently broody bantam on the eggs. Speedy the bantam, is a dedicated brooder and mother and will adopt the babies for her own at any stage of incubation (fingers crossed). I may put a fav egg under Bella but I want to be sure that my wee bantam gets some babies to mother. Im concerned that Bella will not be a good mum and will abandon the chicks?
    Any thoughts?
    ps, I wasnt sure what topic board to put this under
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2009

  2. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    I think you are right in your assessment of what happened. Somehow the eggs got broken, and how else was she supposed to clean the nest up? As to how the eggs got broken... is it possible that another hen got in the nest with her? That happened to one of my broodies in the past, before I had a real broody hen setup. She was sitting in a regular nest box, and another hen climbed in on top of her to lay an egg, and when she came out, there was a broken egg. Fortunately, I noticed what happened and was able to clean the nest out myself. But if I hadn't seen it, I imagine the broody hen would have eaten it.

    As far as what kind of mother Bella will be, there's really no way to know unless you give her a chance. I've had lots of broody hens. Some are good mothers, some are great mothers. One was a wretched mother, and will never be given eggs again! But I would not have known that unless I let her try.

    Since the eggs are due to hatch tomorrow, why not give a couple of them back to Bella and see how she does with them. If she abandons them, you have your broody banty as a backup.

    Just an idea...

    And whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a great hatch! [​IMG]
  3. kcravey

    kcravey In the Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    East Texas
    aww my broody hen would've been heartbroken if you stole her eggs! I have also seen other hens break into the broody pen and intentionally break eggs. Is she far away from the others? No chance of a break in??
  4. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    if you want chicks and duckling, together again, you might want to put the duck eggs under the hen and put the chicken eggs one week later. Or you can put them all together and in 18 or 19 days take the chicken eggs away and put them in the incubator. Personally, I would put the duck eggs in early and then the chicken eggs, until she is sitting on lots and lots of eggs and then about 4 days before the ducks are to hatch, take them away and incubate, after the hen did most of the work. I had bad luck with a broody hen/mom, unless she was in solitary confinement. The other chickens didn't accept ducklings with a hen.
  5. KirstenRichter

    KirstenRichter In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2009
    I have a very broody Buff Orpington, Ms. Ellie, and she has been sitting on some eggs for the better part of this month. She is in the coop with 5 other hens. Tonight when I went to secure the coop- Ms. Ellie had blood on her beak so I gently lifted her from her nest and noticed 4 eggs remaining of 6. One went missing last week- I could not find any shell fragments or any evidence that she ate it. I did see our largest Buff get in her nesting box with her to lay- perhaps she broke it? So, I am not sure where to go from here. I gave her eggs to lay on because I guess I didn't want to deny her maternal instincts. I felt bad about 'breaking her broodiness'. Don't have a rooster and got the eggs from a local source. I am only giving all of these details so we have the whole picture here. I have been offering food, water, yogurt, greens- and especially at night when I lock the others away so she can have sole access to it. (She refuses to stay inside the coop house but prefers to sleep in her nesting box in the run).
    If by some miracle one or more of the remaining eggs hatch- will the others most likely try to hurt the chicks? Or are they all maternal at once? Obviously I am new to this and have a million questions.

    Thank you so much for listening and for any advice.

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