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23 days with a broody hen and no sign of hatching.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eggcatcher, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. eggcatcher

    eggcatcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    I was given a broody hen who wasn't part of the flock so I kept her separate. I had her sit on wooden eggs for a few days to confirm she really was broody then I slipped her 4 eggs newly laid all at the same time. Yes I have a rooster. I am totally inexperienced in dealing with a broody hen and having chicks hatch. I did not candle them during the time she was sitting on them I don't know how to do that either. I read that eggs usually hatch in 21 days so I waited. I always found the brood hen on the eggs. She would get off of them and make broody noises at first and pace back and forth. After awhile she didn't seem to mind when I came in to clean and give her more food and water. She did lay a few eggs during the process and I removed them leaving the original 4. I'm now concerned they aren't going to hatch because of the time that has past. I tried candling the eggs and think I see something in there mostly dark with a small area that is translucent. I assume this is an air pocket and what I should be seeing. The brood hen has become more vocal the last couple of days and went back to pacing at times when I come in. I think she's being protective. I don't know if this was a horrible thing to do but I spun one of the eggs like you do to see if they are boiled or not and it acted like a boiled egg i.e. solid and no wobble. Do I need to just be more patient? Do they take longer to hatch if they are sat on instead of being in an incubator? I know this isn't the best time of year to let a hen sit on eggs but she was broody and I wanted to learn how to deal with a broody hen and hatching chicks. The hen and nest are in a shed and I use a brood lamp to keep the area warm when the weather warrants it. When do I know it's been too long and the eggs weren't fertile or something else went wrong? I didn't turn them like they mention when dealing with hatching eggs in an incubator but the hen moved them around in the nest so I thought she was taking care of that. I read in the learning center but there wasn't much information about what to expect when letting chicks hatch is done the old fashioned way by a hen. Please clue me in on what to expect and when I need to accept they aren't going to hatch.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    21 days is the average for chicks to hatch. Some will hatch sooner, some will hatch later. I would maybe give her a couple of more days, and if you don't hear any peeping from the eggs, (yes, you can hear it if you're very quiet and still) I'd go to my local farm supply store and get a few day-old chicks to slip under her. When I do that, I do it at night. I go in with as little light or noise possible, slip the chicks under her and take the eggs. How old are the birds you collected the eggs from? You were right in not turning them - that's the hen's job. When I have a broody, I mess with her as little as possible. Are her food and water away from the nest so she has to get up to eat and drink? She needs to be able to do that so she doesn't poop in the nest. That can have an effect on hatching.
     
  3. eggcatcher

    eggcatcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    I responded but my posting didn't show. I had heard a peep but didn't know you could hear them in the egg. Today I gave up in frustration and broke open one of the eggs. Yes it had been fertilized I didn't examine it well enough but lots of vessels still obvious, skeleton present not really a whole bird thought it just stopped developing. Researched development a little more and wonder if maybe it just needed a little more time. Read an article that says you can tell if an egg is still alive by putting it in 100degree water and if it bobs and moves around it's alive. I did that with the 3 remaining eggs and cleaned the shells really well, an advantage I didn't think of when I decided to put them in the water. I put them back under the hen and will watch a few more days. The one I cracked open had no smell. Sure wish I knew what I was doing better. Oh the article
    To find out if the embryo in a cold and neglected egg is dead or alive:
    IMPORTANT: Warm the egg to brooder temperature first. As long as you are sure the egg hasn't pipped externally (if it has just pipped internally it wont harm it). Gently place the egg in a small but deep bowl of water at 100 F for up to 20 seconds.
    Note: Any significant temperature change the egg is exposed to is likely to hurt the developing chick. Therefore, the temperature of the water is very important!​
    If the embryo is still alive the egg will bob up and down and generally wobble around, take it out and dry it on a tissue or the chick could become chilled, put it back in the brooder. It will not harm the chick and may in some cases help a chick in trouble to eventually get out. It causes no shock to an embryo and presents no danger of the chick bleeding to death or becoming dehydrated or infected as it sits in an open egg waiting for the blood vessels to recede. Found on www.beautyofbirds.com Now that I read it I don't think I left them in long enough I was just so happy to see them bob. Well it said up to 20seconds and they were warm before I put them in there from being under the hen. One of the articles said the chick has to wait for the vessels to recede. Kind of a weird way of putting it I thought but the one I broke open had a lot of vasculature still so maybe they will hatch. Only time will tell. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. eggcatcher

    eggcatcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Day 25 update. Well I was absolutely sure I needed to give up but wanted to try and get a clue what is going wrong no pip no nothing at day 25. They bobbed and moved around in the warm water yesterday. So today I cracked another one. Lots of vascularization, sac around chick, still has yolk. Pulled the sack off and the poor little thing gasped for air. Even if it's brain dead and that was autonomic it had to be alive to move RIGHT? So it seemed awfully small wouldn't have come close to filling the shell. Although small it seemed fully developed feathers and all. Even though it's sooo late are they just developing very slowly? Could this be because the weather is cold. It's March in Kentucky the last week or so has been really cold as low as 19 at night. Brooder hen is still sitting on them. I have a heat lamp over the hen to keep her warm as she can't snuggle up to anyone else. I have two of the original eggs left. I'm going to wait longer maybe another week. Again so surprised gasped for air, moved head, fully developed feathers and all, [​IMG]lots of vasculature still and in sack, and yolk left. I don't know what to do. If there is any chance they will hatch I want to see it. Any advice?[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. eggcatcher

    eggcatcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2010
    Just looked something else up. The rooster is a Light Brahma which is a large breed. I just learned that larger breeds take longer to hatch and cold can make them take longer too. So I'm giving them another week.
     

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