Experienced chicken owners, I need some advice

ScarletBegonias

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I have only had my chickens for about a year. During the winter I keep them locked up in their coop, once the snow melts I let them roam free during the day and lock them up at night. About a month ago one of our hens stopped going in the coop. We saw her every once in a while getting a drink of water and looking pretty scraggily so I figured she had a clutch of eggs somewhere. Well I noticed her going into the raspberry bushes last week so I figured she was somewhat safe as there is a deer fence around them and she wasn’t visible at all once she was in there. Well this morning I saw a puff of feathers about 10 yards from the raspberry bushes. I’m guessing a hawk or or something like it got her. So I went searching in the raspberry bushes and found two nest, one with six eggs and one with eleven. I candled them and some had nothing, some just a quarter sized spot, the nest with six eggs all wear heavy and dense and I couldn’t see through them at all. I have never incubated eggs before, I don’t have an incubator. I put them in a crate of straw in my sunroom with a heating pad on low as soon as I found them so now what? I have absolutely no idea what to do with them or if they are even still alive, they were already cool when I found them. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
 
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Sheepshape

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Hi, ScarletBegonias.....and welcome to the forum. The situation you described isn't too uncommon with hens who decide to go broody in the most inappropriate places.

As the conditions for incubation are really quite precise for all eggs, then I'd try to get your broody hen to sit on the eggs in a more suitable place. Eggs need to be constantly turned for the first 18 days of their total 21 day incubation period or the embryo may stick to the side of the shell. I'd try taking any eggs which looked like they had an embryo in them and place them together in a 'nest' (bit of straw) in a safe place and put broody hen in with them. Eggs with early embryos (about 7-10 days of incubation) have a good air space at the rounded end and have a small black thing which can be seen to move around.....check egg candling pics. on the web. She may or may not decide to sit, though.

The fact that they had cooled down isn't too worrying as this happens naturally when broody hen takes her occasional walk to eat/drink/preen/empty out. Momma hen will only sit tight from day 18 or 19 until hatching.

If you can find a way of making her chosen 'sitting spot' safe from predators, then this is another option, as is borrowing an incubator.

Make sure she has food and drink close by.

Good Luck.
 

OneFineAcre

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I doubt it was a hawk if she was sitting on a nest under raspberry bushes.
You probably can't salvage those eggs.
 
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