Hen sets on all eggs
by Charlotte Wittner
(Marietta, Ok USA )
Hen sets on all eggs:
We have 7 Barred Rock hens in a caged area with a coop atop. We get about 5 average eggs daily, even through the winter.
Since the weather has warmed a bit, one of the hens will set on the eggs everyday until we go out and make her move so we can collect them.
Is that a problem, or should we get a rooster and try to have chicks, not sure what to do. Can you help? Answer
This hen is just being “broody”, a most natural instinct to keep eggs warm and protected for hatching. Just like laying eggs without a rooster, hens can get broody all on their own.
Sounds like you have enough chickens for the cage, so unless they are old and need to be replaced soon, or you want to raise chickens for meat, you don’t need a rooster.
Broodiness has been bred out of many chickens designed for maximum egg production, but Barred Rocks can be excellent mothers.
Before breeding, you would just want to consider what you will do with the chicks and if you have enough room.
As the weather warms you may notice other hens getting broody. If this hen is setting on all the eggs you may need a few more nest boxes.
It doesn’t hurt the eggs to be kept warm all day, but if she’s hogging the nest, this might be annoying to the other hens and cause some bullying or them finding other places to lay.
I’ve also seen one hen out of a flock be the designated setter and other hens happily dropping their eggs in her nest.
It’s common for a hen to stop laying for about 21 days, when she gets broody. Sometimes they don’t eat well due to spending so much time in the nest.
You can’t stop this broodiness, but you might want to gently encourage her to be more active and to eat; maybe removing her from the nest and taking her outside to some fresh feed every day.