How Long Do Chickens Sit On Eggs?

Chickens will sit on the eggs for about 21 days. This is what the average time is for the chickens to hatch. During this time, the hen will not lay any more eggs, and she will spend most of the time sitting on the eggs. Also, the hen will become very aggressive.

Why Do Chickens Sit on Eggs?

Chickens sit on their eggs for a couple of reasons.

The first reason to keep the eggs warm. Fertilized eggs need warmth for the embryo to develop properly.

A chicken can either lay eggs that are fertilized or unfertilized. Once the rooster has mated with the hen, the eggs will usually be fertilized.

A rooster can mate with a hen once and able to fertilize up to 14 eggs.

The second reason is to keep the eggs safe. An egg that has no hen sitting on them will make them an easy target for predators such as minks, hawks, and snakes.

Also, the eggs will be kept safe from the rain. As long as the hen is sitting on the eggs, they are safe from the weather and predators.

What Is a Broody Hen?

A broody hen means that a hen wants to hatch her clutch of eggs. Depending on the breeds and the individual hen, the time that they will become broody will vary.

When they do become broody, it’s mostly controlled by hormones. Although, the time of the year and environmental conditions also play a role.

The hen will start to lay every day until they have a clutch of eggs. Then the hen will stop laying and sit on them until they hatch.

How to Tell If Your Hen Is Broody

When a hen is broody, she will start to display signs. Below are some of the signs you should look for:

  • The hen is being defensive when you or another chicken is close to her eggs.
  • The comb and wattles become paler.
  • The hen is pooping more than usual, and it will smell more than usual.
  • She is drinking less water and not eating too often.
  • She is spending more of the time during the day in a quiet and dark location.
  • Some of the breast feathers on her are missing.

How Many Eggs Does a Chicken Lay Before Going Broody?

This will depend on the breed, environment, and individual chicken. Some will lay 5 eggs before going broody, while others may lay up to 12 eggs.

Also, you may have a hen that lays eggs all the time, but never become broody. This means she can lay over a hundred eggs without ever going broody.

How Long Will a Broody Hen Sit On Infertile Eggs?

A broody hen may sit on the eggs that are not fertile for six or seven weeks. After that time, she will give up and abandon the eggs.

Therefore, it’s important to keep track of the eggs. After 21 days and the eggs have not hatched, you should remove the eggs.

A hen that keeps sitting on the eggs after that time may start to develop health issues.

How Many Eggs Can a Chicken Sit on to Hatch?

A hen will usually sit on as many eggs as she can cover. This will depend on the breed and how large the hen is.

Typically, for most breeds, they can sit on about 10-12 medium-sized eggs.

How Long Can a Broody Hen Leave Her Eggs?

Hens will instinctively know when to return to sit on the eggs. Some hens will wander off for a few minutes, while others will be gone for several hours.

The ideal temperature needs to be in the range of 97 to 102 degrees F for the eggs to hatch.

During the summer, the weather is usually hot, and the hen can stay away from the eggs for a long time.

However, if it’s been a couple of hours, it’s best to bring the hen and place them back on the eggs. Sometimes, they may forget about their eggs, and they just need a little help to remember.

Can You Move a Broody Hen and Her Nest?

Yes, you can the broody hen along with her nest, but it’s not recommended. The chicken will naturally find an area that they feel safe.

If you try to move them to another location, they may get very defensive and try to attack you.

The only time you need to move their nest if it’s in a place that poses a threat to them and their eggs. If you do need to move them, be sure to do it with caution.

Start by setting up the new location that’s complete with water and food. Then at night when the hen is less active, try to move them to the new location.

Another way you can try is to wait until she moves off the nest to drink or feed. Pick up the nest quickly and place it at the new location. As the hen comes back, direct her to where the new location of the nest is at.

Are All Hens Natural Mothers?

Just like many animals, some hens make a great mother and some are not.

Some hen will abandon their eggs before they hatch. The hen will wander off for a few minutes at a time before coming back to sit on their eggs.

Some will wander off for a few hours, and they may never return. If you notice this, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on them. If the hen abandons their eggs too often or for a long time, it’s best to remove the eggs. This could lead to predators coming into your yard.

Also, the eggs will most likely never hatch and become spoiled.

There are some hens that will kill their chicks when they hatch. This is another thing to look for. Most of the time, the hen will kill their chicks again. It’s best to prevent them from going broody.

How Often Are Hens Broody?

This will depend on the hen themselves. Some hens will go broody once a year, while some will go several times a year.

The hen will lay a clutch of eggs and sit on them until they hatch, which is about 21 days.

It will take a physical toll on the hen that’s broody. When they are broody, they will not eat as often and not very active.


The average time for a hen to sit on the eggs is 21 days. This is the time that it usually takes for the chicks to hatch. If you have eggs that do not hatch after that time, it’s best to keep an eye on them. A broody hen will continue to sit on the eggs for up to seven weeks. This will cause health problems for them hen due to the lack of food and water.