Why Is My Hen Not Sitting On Her Eggs?

Egg laying is no easy task for chickens, even though it seems simple as laying and incubating it to hatch the eggs.

And when a hen lays her eggs, it is to be expected by many that she will immediately sit on them and warm them up.

But this is not the case all the time 

Sometimes a hen will not sit on her eggs which may make chicken owners wonder

Why Is My Hen Not Sitting On Her Eggs?

Hens rejecting to sit on her own clutch of eggs seems to be a problem.

After all, there could be delays and problems in the hatching process once the hen refuses to do it.

Although an incubator may solve the problem for you, you can still encourage the mother chicken to be broody.

Of course, this is not easy as modern chickens nowadays have no longer any broody instinct due to selective breeding.

You can try and stimulate the hens by extra taking care of them and creating their own private nest. 

Let’s get into more detail in this article

Carry on reading

How Do I Get My Hen To Sit On Her Eggs? (Try These 3 Tips!) 

Incubators are helpful, but we can say that the best incubator of all is the mother hen itself.

You cannot force a chicken to sit on her eggs, but you can try and stimulate their hormones to be broody:

1. Provide a safe nest for the hens and the eggs 

The best way to encourage broodiness is to give a perfect space for the hens to do so.

Put up a small private space that can make the hen feel safe and secure.

It is also advisable to make the place dark, so the hen can feel that its nest is hidden. 

2. Provide food and water nearby 

Having a small and secured nest is not enough for hens to go broody.

Your chickens would reject the provided nest if there are no accessible food and water nearby.

Make sure you put enough food and a drinking source, so the chickens may feel that the place is the perfect spot for nesting.

3. Let your chickens feel calm and relaxed 

Letting your chickens have aromatherapy like lavender would help them feel relaxed and calm.

Simply put aromatic herbs in their nest, so it will help them feel calm and safe to incubate their eggs on their own. 

What Happens If a Hen Doesn’t Sit On Eggs? 

Unfortunately, eggs that were not incubated would never hatch.

This is why it is important that you have a ready incubator for eggs with hens that are not willing to sit on them.

Chickens’ eggs may hatch without a mother through the help of an incubator. 

However, if you want to hatch eggs traditionally, you need to have a willing hen to incubate the eggs.

If the hen refuses to do so, then hatching would become impossible. 

How Long Can a Hen Not Sit On Eggs? 

Sitting on eggs to incubate and hatch them is quite critical.

In fact, if the hen did not sit on her eggs for several days, then hatch-ability may become harder.

Hens would stay broody for around  21 days.

This is roughly the same number of days that your eggs will take to hatch. 

Hens would need to sit on their eggs 24/7 with breaks in between to take care of herself.

In general, eggs should not be left for more than 4 hours when your hen leaves the nest to eat or drink.

Eggs may start to feel cold and the hatching possibility will decline the longer the hen is not around. 

How Long Can Eggs Survive Without Their Mother On Them? 

Eggs can survive without a hen for seven days.

Of course, it does not mean that the hatching process would still be smooth and perfect.

Although there is still a chance that the eggs will hatch, it may take longer than expected or not hatch at all. 

The longer the eggs stay without any warmth, the harder the incubation and hatching would become.

It is best to keep the eggs at a temperature of 16-17 Celsius consistently for survival.

Eggs that are stored for 3 weeks or more are already impossible to hatch. 

Does a Hen Know If Her Eggs Are Fertile?

Hens do not have any way of knowing whether their eggs are fertile or not.

In fact, it is also possible to have unfertilized eggs.

These eggs would never hatch even with an endless and perfect brooding routine. 

Roosters may also become infertile.

So, even if hens would spend their time with them, there will be no fertilized eggs to hatch.

There is no way of telling if an egg is fertilized, but to incubate them and check the inside through candling. 

You should have a read of my article which I think you’ll find interesting – Will a hen sit on dead eggs?

Wrapping Up

Hens may refuse to incubate their eggs if they are not broody.

Brooding takes so much energy and time for hens.

Unfortunately, eggs will never hatch if there are no hens or incubators to provide warmth.

This is why you can either force your hens to be broody by stimulating them or have an incubator do it in their stead. 

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