I previously posted asking if anyone had any suggestions on [how to make a hen go broody](http://green-change.com/2010/01/14/how-do-you-make-a-chicken-go-broody/). I got some helpful answers, and did some research, and found a few suggestions:
– leave eggs in the nest
– put golf balls in the nest, so she thinks they’re eggs
– set up a nice quiet nest in a darkened, sheltered corner of the coop
The nest where this chicken was laying was already in a dark corner of the chook house, so I just put some golf balls in there. Sure enough, she thought they were eggs and started sitting on them! It took about 2 days for her to get ‘in the mood’.
I had been keeping aside the eggs from all our chickens for a few days, hoping that I might be able to put them under her if I could get her to sit.
Interesting aside: you can keep eggs at room temperature for up to 10 days, and they’ll still start to develop if you then put them in an incubator or under a chicken. This is why baby chicks hatch all on the same day, even though mother hens only lay one egg per day. Development doesn’t start until the last egg of the batch is laid and the hen begins sitting on them.
Once she was settled, I replaced the golf balls with the reserved eggs. She’s been happily sitting on them ever since. I’ve even seen other hens climb into the nest with her, lay an egg, and she pulls it under herself to join the others! I’m not sure what she’s going to think when her chicks come out all different colours :-).
It should be about 3 weeks now until the eggs hatch. I’ll post updates as things progress.