How Many Eggs Can A Broody Hen Sit On?

Chickens are interesting animals, especially when it comes to eggs. One of the things that most people are intrigued by is the number of eggs a broody hen can sit on.

How many eggs can a broody hen sit on? It will depend on the breed of chickens. A broody will sit on as many eggs as she can. For most breeds, broody will usually sit on 10-12 eggs.

What Are the Signs Of a Broody Hen?

When hens go broody, her behavior will start to be different. She will act differently both in her daily routine and diet.

Below are some common signs to look out for:

  • Hens will start to eat and drink less.
  • Feathers on her belly will be missing. Broody hens will pull out her feathers, so they can come into contact with the eggs.
  • Hens will often squat throughout the day.
  • Hens will become very aggressive and protective over her nesting box.
  • Broody hens will start to sit in the nesting box frequently, even though there are no eggs yet.
  • Her poop will become more smelly.

How Many Times a Year Will a Hen Go Broody?

It will typically depend on the breed and also the individual hens. Some will go broody once a year, while will go broody more often.

If you’re looking for breeds that are known for being broody and hatching eggs, there are many to choose from.

Below are the breeds to consider:

  • Brahma
  • Cochin
  • Dorking
  • Gold Laced Wyandotte
  • Orpington
  • Silkie
  • Sussex
  • White Cornish Cross

On the other hand, if you’re looking for breeds that don’t go broody or chicks hatching, there are many breeds available as well. Below are some breeds you can get:

  • Ameraucanas
  • Ancona
  • Barnevelder
  • Black Star / Black Sex-Link
  • Buff Orpington
  • Hamburg
  • Leghorn
  • Polish
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Marans
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Wyandotte

How Do You Get a Hen To Sit On Eggs?

Most of the time, hens will sit on the eggs on their own. However, there are times, where she won’t want to sit on it to incubate them.

If that happens, it usually means there’s a problem with her eggs or the nesting box.

You can try some following things and see if helps the hens sit on the eggs.

Add fake eggs to the nesting box. Hens will usually start sitting on the eggs when there is a clutch of them. If the hen sees a couple of eggs, she may not want to sit on them yet.

Place a couple of fake eggs to make it appear she laid a clutch of them. The hen will respond by sitting and incubating the eggs.

The nesting area is too loud. If it’s too loud, the hen may not sit on her eggs. During this time, she needs quietness.

Try moving her nesting box to an area that’s quieter in the coop. Some backyard chicken owners will put the broody into their own coop with their own food and water.

If there are a lot of hens laying eggs, you can move all of them to a different coop.

Add herbs to the nesting box. You can try adding herbs such as chamomile and lavender to help stimulate broodiness.

Clean the nesting box. A dirty nesting box could prevent the hens from sitting on their eggs. Clean out the box and add fresh hay to it.

Set up a new nesting box. If nothing else works, you can try to set up a completely new nesting box. This will include fresh hay, fake eggs, and herbs added to the nesting box.

How Long Will a Broody Hen Sit on Fertile Eggs?

When it comes to eggs, a broody hen will usually sit on her eggs for 21 days. This is the time it takes for the fertile egg to hatch once the incubating process starts.

The hen will sit on her eggs all day and night. She will only get off the eggs to take eat, drink, or poop. Other than that, she will sit on the eggs until they hatch.

How Long Will a Broody Hen Sit on Infertile Eggs?

For infertile eggs, she will sit on the eggs for weeks longer than it would take to hatch fertile eggs. When this happens, it could potentially cause the hen to have health problems.

During the extra weeks that she’s sitting on the eggs, she will begin to lose some weight.

Broody hens could sit on the fertile eggs for up to 6 weeks.

Therefore, it’s important to keep track of the eggs the hen lays. If it’s been longer than 3 weeks, it’s important that you intervene.

Keep an eye on the broody hens and her eggs. If it’s been a week and none hatch, you’ll have to go and grab the eggs and discard them. The best time to do this is at night when the hen is sleeping.


The number of eggs a broody hen can sit on will depend on the breed and individual chicken. The larger the chicken, the more they can sit on. For the most part, you can expect a hen to sit on 10-12 eggs.