This is my second season hatching chicks under a broody hen and this year, yes, a rotten egg exploded under a hen
I had two lots of eggs under two hens
- 6 Barnevelders and 4 Houdans under a Barred Rock mama and
- 7 Silver Laced Wyandotte eggs under a SLW mama
Yesterday (27th December) was day 21. I tried candling them earlier on (day 17) but found it quite difficult to see or know what i was even looking for so i thought i would just leave them. (Last year i didnt candle and it was all ok - there was a rotten egg left in the nest that i just discarded once she had gotten off)
Two days ago the SLW hen got off her nest and left the eggs, which surprised me, as she seemed so dedicated. When i touched the eggs they were cold and didnt know how long she was off. So i put them under the large Plymouth Rock with her eggs as i didnt want them to quit just 2 days before hatching.
Hatch day was yesterday and a SLW egg exploded under the Barred Rock hen! I quickly cleaned off the remaining eggs (and left out 4 of the SLW eggs that felt VERY light) and put the hen and the other eggs into a clean area. But didnt clean the hen as she was freaking out! And i thought she wasn't going to go back to the eggs. She was squawking and flapping about but when i closed the hutch lid, she did go back to sit on them (phew) So the eggs were cleaned but she wasn't. I didn't want to disturb her any further.
The other 4 eggs that i took out that were very light in weight, i took them far far up into the bush behind the house and opened them (i wanted to see if they were rotten) and they all were! So that was 5 SLW eggs that were rotten. Was this because they were never fertile to begin with OR was it because they were cold when i moved them? Im thinking they were never fertile as it was only 2 days ago when she left the nest so there would have been some sign of chick inside - but it was all liquid. I am also guessing that MAYBE the SLW hen KNEW that they were rotten and that's why she left the nest? They have good intuition don't they.
Also during that time of moving the eggs after the explosion - there was ONE new born chick that had partly hatched. It died in my hand! It was such a hard moment. I cried - it was so hard to try and clean everything and try keep the baby warm in one hand while i did so. I don't make a very good farmer, i know its just a baby chick to some, but even typing this i feel teary! It just so heart breaking!
What im am afraid of is that the 2 SLW eggs that are left under the hen are rotten also. I shouldn't have put them under - i was panicking and emotional so might not have made the best decision. But they felt heaver that the others. I went out this morning and there is a peeping noise which is good. I just hope that the gunk left on Muma hen doesn't effect the other eggs or new borns. Its so heartbreaking when you are looking so forward to something like the hatching day and something like this happens.
If you have any words id love to hear from you. Im feeling a bit guilty and sad that i didnt candle properly :-(