Originally Posted by cottonlouie
I couldn't see anything at all. I'm really disappointed in myself. I think I had some winter blues so I didn't mark eggs and didn't research what I should be doing to support the broody. Now that the weather is warmer I have been outside moving around and I feel like I woke up. With the chick hatching I'm now feeling excited about life again. I wish I knew when the eggs were laid and had candled them earlier and numerous other things. But it is what it is and I'll do what I can. I hope a few more hatch. I hope this chick is okay next week when we are a little cooler again. I'm north of Duluth so temps are still pretty cool. The chick pops out from under momma when she hears me and I held her a little today. When I put my hand in the nest box she hops around on it.
Don't get too down on yourself. The worst case scenario is that you don't get any more, right? If the momma is taking care of the little chick and she isn't stupid like a guinea hen and goes leaving it somewhere in the cold to freeze, then it should be okay. Did you have a bright enough light to be seeing into the eggs? I would do a sniff test on them too, if they are bad, you don't have to get your nose too close. You don't want an egg exploding in the nest, it is disgusting and will contaminate other eggs.
The best time to candle is in the dark (at night), with a really bright LED mini maglite.
Next time, mark the eggs with a pencil as the hen adds them to her nest, a crayon works too. Put the day on them so you can track how long they have been under her. I use a pencil and mark every egg with the breed or pen abbreviation and the numerical day on them unless they are just going for eating.
Here is a note of some of you stagger hatches, I use different colored Sharpies on each batch I set. That makes it easier to know when they are ready to go into the hatcher. This week's batch has an orange swipe across the top of the egg, last one is blue, so when it is time to switch them, I know to just put the blue ones in the hatcher. I keep track of how many of each breed I set so I can track fertility and hatch rates and things like that, so I probably put more into it that those who are just hatching for fun.
One thing I don't do, I don't mark or worry about the size of the air cell. I know if I am keeping the humidity correct and temp correct, they will be fine. I candle once a week or so, even less this year. I candle once about day 5-7 to pull any clear or infertile eggs, or those with blood rings that started then stopped. Then I might check them again the next week to see if there were any more quitters or ones I missed or was unsure of (usually the dark ones out of the Welsummers or EEs who's shells are sometimes too thick to see well into), then I give them a quick check when going from the incubator to the hatcher, but not always.
If you have a sensitive nose, you can smell a bad egg as soon as you open the unit up. Me? I can smell them as soon as I walk in the room I have the units running in. It is a blessing and curse to have such a sensitive nose. In the thousands of eggs I have incubated and hatched, I have had very, very few bad eggs, like 5 chicken eggs. Only once did I have one blow up, and that was when I took a batch to the county fair to hatch out, and on the way, one went pop. It was the really hot summer 3 or 4 years ago. Once that one blew up, I didn't get any more hatched from that batch. It took months of airing out the foamy I used before it didn't reek. So, if you candle and you think there is something funky going on, sniff that egg, you will definitely be able to tell. The other sign that it might be a bad egg is that you see black through the shell, not just a blob, but black. I have found I had a lot more duck eggs that were bad, probably because they lay their eggs all over the place, including poopy mud holes after they have dug up spots with their bills looking for things to eat.
Well, the sun has melted off the frost that was on everything this morning. It was a beautiful morning regardless of it dipping down to 26-degrees. I had to get 8 culls pulled out for a guy coming over this morning early. I checked on the chicks in the brooder house and they are all doing fine. I have to really watch it out there when the season is changing to make sure I have the windows cracked just right so it doesn't get too hot or cold. With two heat lamps, it can really go bad in a hurry when we go from a 35-degree day to a 55-degree day. I guess we have very good efficiency in that brooder house if I can keep it warm enough for a couple hundred chicks with just two lamps
I hope everyone has a great day and that sunshine is reaching all the way up to you folks in the north. I saw two robins this week and the red winged blackbirds are moved back too. I am sure to see turkey vultures circling the sky again too this week. I am pretty sure Spring is coming early.