This morning I decided to take matters into my own hands and clear out all the eggs in the nesting boxes. I’d hoped the hens would give up on their own, but it’s been 5 going on 6 weeks of sitting and given that it’s messing up the other hens and their eggs, too, I decided to intervene. Hens incubate their eggs for 3 weeks, so at this point it seemed clear that the eggs were not going to hatch. And when I went out there this morning and saw more hens squeezing in next to the sitting hens, as well as one of the hens eating a broken (unfertilized) egg my mind was made up. I gathered up the eggs and there were about 40!
Clark took the bucket of them into the woods and enjoyed tossing them all. I feared horrible rotten egg odors, which is is why I didn’t want them in the garbage. Besides, now some wild animals can enjoy them (and hopefully not get a taste for them and come looking for more!)
I cleaned out the boxes and one of them did indeed smell badly. That little hen is rather upset. I put some fresh bedding in and a golf ball and she immediately went in and sat on it. I feel really badly for her that she’s clucking around wanting her eggs. 😦
Hopefully they’ll try again soon, and I believe if that happens we will try to isolate them in a better location so as not to mess with the regular egg production of the other hens. So now we have a fresh slate and can collect everything every day.