New to chicken keeping Please Help! Hen on clutch of 25 eggs

zippylooSeptember 8, 2011

How big of a clutch of eggs can a hen sit on to hatch? I have a hen that "disappeared" a few weeks back. Well, I found her in a shed and she was sitting on a clutch of 25 eggs!!!..yes, you read right--25 eggs!! I don't know how long they have been there or if they're any good or what. I had suspected she was laying somewhere... just didn't know where until today. When she discovered that I had found her she quickly fled the nest and she hasn't come back to it... so, will the eggs be ruined?

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am new to chickens

Thanks in advance,


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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

The eggs can't develop without the warmth provided by the hen. But a single hen can't effectively cover 25 eggs, and as she instinctively rotates the eggs in and out of the center of the clutch, I expect that the eggs haven't been kept warm enough to develop. You could take one or two off the pile and crack them open to see (careful, do it over a trash can because partially developed chicks can be kind of gross looking, and if they've gone bad they'll stink!).

Here is a link that might be useful: My blog: Life at Busy Solitude Farm

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 10:15AM
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Naomi Miller

Wow there is a lot to consider in this.... I hope you did not crack any of the eggs yet, lol....that can be really bad!!

First if they are all her eggs, there is no way that all of them could even be viable since it would take her at the very least 25 days to lay 25 eggs... not likely, lol.... since it only takes 21 days to incubate them. In the time it took her to lay a clutch, the first eggs were aging and by now could be quite undesirable, lol... you could easily use a flash light and a TP tube to candle a few.... lots of images on line to show you what to look for....

And you said, she had been gone for weeks? Once again, only 21 days needed for hatching, so three weeks tops and the job is done.... all in all it is probably best that you chased her off the nest so that you can gather and dispose of them before they go popping and bursting from inner pressure......that odor will kill ya, lol..... try candling all the eggs.... take a peek here..... or luck

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 4:25PM
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I've found that if the clutch is that big, it won't be totally successful. I don't think there is enough chicken butt to cover that many and they do need heat to be viable. I have had a hen hatch out 10 chicks before but was sitting on a great many more. I pitched them and after examination, discovered that nearly all had been fertile at some point. I'm not sure if she decided "enough already" and wanted to care for the ones she had or if they just didn't get the turning and heat the rest of them did. I would pitch the eggs for sure. Lori

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 3:32AM
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