They all had the little yolk thing attached ... I felt horrible
Float Testing, Checking Egg Viability For Late Or Overdue Hatching - Page 43
I would love some advice here, first time trying to hatch chick with a broody mama. Today is day 23. We started with 16 fertilized eggs, which I think was too many for her size (we found 10 (unfertilized) under her when we realized she was stashing eggs and sitting on them, we replaced with 16 fertilized). By the end of the second week, we were down to 10 eggs. I found empty shells for most of the ones that disappeared.
Since day 21, I've been watching obsessively, but nothing has been happening. No hatching, no pipping. Today, day 23, when the mama left the nest for food/dust bath, I quickly floated the eggs (hadn't yet read the controversy on whether it can really tell anything). First, there were only 8 eggs left. I know for sure there were 10 on day 21. I didn't catch mama off the nest yesterday so can't confirm how many eggs yesterday, but today, only 8. No chicks, no shells.
Fearing the worst, I floated the 8 eggs, and all floated about 25% above the water or so, some a bit less. None sank, none floated to the top. I put them back and mama is back on the nest now. I did it very quickly before the mama would return, so I didn't wait to see if they moved in the water. Feeling cautiously optimistic for a moment, until I floated an unfertilized egg from another hen for comparison and it floated the exact same way. Gaaaaaah!! What does it all mean??
So, any advice would be really helpful. Should I keep waiting? Give up? I do worry about the mama, she's been sitting for about five weeks now (the 23 days with the fertilized eggs plus the time she was sitting on her own nest before we got the fertilized ones under her) and her comb is small and dry and she's super skinny. Maybe it's time to kick her off the nest and get her back to normal? I don't want to give up on the babies, but don't want to drag this out if they're not viable. I have not candled them, tried the other day, but mid-day I didn't have a dark enough space for it to work.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Just tried this! Thank you! You've helped us determine which eggs were still viable. We are now on day 22, almost 23. After the float test, we discarded 2, have 4 that are bobbing in the water, and 2 that were floating but without movement. I'm so very excited as we are doing this for the first time! Fingers crossed.