Help! My hen, who is sitting on eight eggs, came off her nest for some food and a dust bath and stayed off for at least an hour before she went back. Does this mean the eggs won’t hatch? Felicity Turbutt, Newport

Charlotte Popescu says:

Absolutely not. The eggs will be fine. Despite the fact that we are all told hens must only come off their eggs for a maximum of 20 minutes to allow the eggs to cool, eggs in my experience will still hatch if they are left for an hour or so. On numerous occasions I have had hens who have been late going back to their nests. Recently my little hen left her eggs for well over an hour. It was not her fault but the gate to her run and coop had been blown shut by the wind. All the eggs still hatched three days later.

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