How to Set Eggs Under a Broody Hen
The first thing you need to do is to find a broody hen. A broody hen is one that wants to set on eggs and the way you tell this kind of hen is by the fact that she is on the nest all the time and she is making a clucking sound that is different from the usual cackling chickens do after they have laid eggs. She may or may not let you take any eggs out from under her. Breeds that often become broody and are good mothers include most of the old time breeds like Rhode Island Reds but the best setting hens are of the bantam varieties.
- 2). A broody hen wants a quiet place to set and often you will find your hen in some out of the way location in the yard and you may be tempted to leave her there to set her eggs but don't let her. Make sure she is in a safe pen where you can keep an eye on her and where she can be protected from predators and the elements. We have yard pens (4x10 ft.)where our hens live and these are excellent locations for hens to set. Be sure that she and the eggs are placed in a nesting box with plenty of nesting material. This way the eggs will be cushioned and will have adequate insulation from the cold.
- 3). Once you realize that you have a broody hen and you want to set eggs under her, and you have her in a safe location, it is now time to get the number of eggs you want her to set. Place 8-12 fertile eggs under her. The eggs don't have to be her own eggs and don't have to be the same kind of chicken eggs but the hens that laid the eggs all have to have had contact with a rooster for the eggs to be fertile.
- 4). Place food and water near the hen's nest and be sure that she has fresh food and water daily. The hen will take care of the rest. She will turn and tend the eggs. All you need to do is attend to the needs of the hen. In 21 days, the eggs if fertile will begin to hatch and soon you will begin to see chicks raised in the manner which nature intended.