My experiment with my hen who was determined to hatch a brood has ended. I did all I could for her, but it just wasn’t working out for me and she wasn’t getting anywhere. She had learned to move over to another nest long enough for some other hens to add to her clutch of eggs, then switch back over and guard them. So much for letting her have her three marked eggs. I got her off the nest tonight, and the pile had grown to fifteen!
I don’t know if it is safe to eat eggs she has sat on for several days, so I took them all and cracked them open one by one into a bowl. It seems the older ones have yolks that don’t hold together as tightly as the freshest eggs. The ones I’d marked were nasty, not smelling like sulfur, but not a pleasant experience. There was only one that was beginning to develop into a chick, but it was quite early days.
In the end, I threw all the eggs away – the new and the old. I’d lost my appetite for them. I cleaned out the coop and got a spade that I will keep handy to push Broody out of the way when I collect the eggs until she gives up on her quest altogether. I feel a little sad for her. She wanted so badly to be a mother, but it was not to be. This is a farm, though, and we count on eggs to eat and to share. I can’t be worrying over which ones are safe to eat anymore. I’ve learned farmers have to be a little hard-hearted to do what needs to be done.