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How long can a broody hen leave her eggs unattended?

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Elvis and the Girls:
Hi Everyone, I've been reading this forum for a few months now and picked up a lot of good tips and advise, But I now have a question that I don't seem to be able to find the answer to ( deep down I probably do know the answer really).

One of our Buff Orpingtons became broody Bank Holiday weekend, we put eggs from all the girls under her and she has been brilliant, getting off them briefly each morning for food and water and poop but otherwise always in the nesting box.

But today - day 17 by our reckoning we came back from work to find her wandering around the garden with the rest of the hens and and a nest box full of cold eggs!

Is that it? Are they all dead? If they aren't dead yet and if we manage to get her back on them will she look after them? she has already broken one leaving a dead chick inside.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

The maximum time for a hen to be off the eggs is 20 mins so they say, although I have to admitt to shutting the door on one of mine for half an hour  :shock:  they were ok.

It's funny you should say she's a buff Orp I had one do very similar this year with duck eggs 4 days before they were due, it was asif she'd heard them and didn't want to know.

If we're talking more than an hour here well I think they might be gone but at this late stage the babies will be moving therefore generating some heat for themselfs

Get her back on them and keep your fingers crossed.

She might reject once hatched, mine did but with some tin foil, empty container such as a fish tank and a light bulb I can talk you through making a brooder as and when needed

Hope things go ok , My fingers are crossed for you

Sarah :)

Elvis and the Girls:
Thanks for that Sarah, since posting we have managed to catch her and put her back on but she has broken two furthur eggs now! By our calculation and test the other day that still leaves 7 fertile eggs.

Its just a waiting game now isn't it?

It sure is Elvis :?

Can you candle them tomorrow and see whats what? I wouldn't advise you do it now they need to get warm.

Can you not shut your broody up on the eggs during the day and only let her out suppervised. That's what I'd do.

Sarah :)

I remember our Blossom out for about an hour and a half!!!....she managed to bring off 6 chicks????!!!! Dunno how tho'????


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