Broody hen egg death issue

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
963
2,178
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Ontario
Good morning, experts!

I'm hoping this is the right place to post, since I'm not using an incubator, my broody did the hard work with eggs I provided her. I had 5 blue eggs from Ameruacna eggs (I never spell that one right, not EE eggs) and 3 brown eggs, 2 darker speckled ones and a slightly lighter shelled one that I had really hoped to hatch into Amerucana x Barnies or Marans or dark brahma babies. While it was really hard to see through the darker two, I could see just enough to tell they were developing, and by day 18 you could see the chicks moving inside each, just like the 5 blue and the lighter brown.
The two darker ones I was concerned with originally because I couldn't tell if the eggs were somewhat porous, or if it was the darker speckling that was throwing me off, but the lighter egg seemed okay.
That's he back story, here's some more information that might help to deduce if this was an environmental factor, a failure on my broody's part or if this was a an issue cause by the hens who laid them:
The nest was in side a full coop, not a prefab, protected from drafts so well that its routinely 4-5c warmer inside during the day when the pop door is open, and 5c-8c warmer once all the ladies are in for the night. Usual outdoor temps were hovering between 5-10c, until a massive heat wave brought it up to 22c-28c. Food and water were placed within a foot of Bug and her clutch to keep her from having to be off the nest too long, And she did good! So good that all 5 blue eggs hatched into healthy, strong little peepers starting on the morning of day.20 and finishing on the ight of day 21. NOT a single brown egg hatched.by the end of day 22, bug pushed the two darker eggs out, ad was still sitting on the 3rd.

My observations on the two darker eggs,
By day 18 candling, the eggs seemed more porous than they had in the beginning, but the chicks were very large shadowy shapes that moved quite vigorously and the air cells were as expected in the fat end of the eggs. The light brown one had slow movements, but no other obvious signs that would indicate something was wrong.

The three dead eggs all felt like they were off balance, with all the weight in the pointy end and nothing in the fat end. Upon candling, it was apparent that was exactly the case, the air cell had taken up 2/3 of the space and the last 3rd had the chick crammed into the bottom with the membrane shrink wrapped over it. After removing the membrane, the two darker chicks were fully formed, with no yoke sack remaining, and in the right posit, but didn't exactly have any room to move, the light brown egg was in the same situation, just awkwardly turned so that its head was on top of the right wing, with a foot extended back so that toes wee curled in front of its face.

Any input would be awesome, and freely ask any questions I forgot to add!he answer! Thank you!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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St. Louis, MO
Ambient temperature doesn't really play a significant role in the success of an incubation under a broody hen. She will keep that at the correct temp in a good nest.
It doesn't make a big difference when she gets off the nest roughly once a day or less. It takes a while for the internal egg temperature to change. In hot weather, a hen may get off the nest for an hour or more. In very cold temps, she'll limit her time off to 10 minutes or less. As long as she knows where to find food, water and a place to dust bathe, it doesn't have to be right next to her. She hast to stretch her legs after all.
Eggs vary in porosity depending on species, breed and strain.
The light weight of the large end is due to weight loss/large air cell.
I'd say the failed eggs were more due to an issue with the breeders than with the incubation conditions.
Breeder nutrition, age, disease, genetics including inbreeding have a significant role in successful embryos growing to term.
I would never look at temp, humidity or turning to be a problem under a broody hen.
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
963
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Ontario
I'd say the failed eggs were more due to an issue with the breeders than with the incubation conditions.
Breeder nutrition, age, disease, genetics including inbreeding have a significant role in successful embryos growing to term.
I would never look at temp, humidity or turning to be a problem under a broody hen.

Thank you, @ChickenCanoe
You're insight into my egg issue has eased a lot of my concerns and allowed me to take a deep breath and relax. After the first 5 hatched out flawlessly without any odd little hiccups I had to wonder (and hope since I'm being honest) if it was an issue with the eggs themselves, since there was a clear division between the blue and brown shelled ones, and not a mess up on my, or my broody's part!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
34,041
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St. Louis, MO
What was the source of the eggs? Were they all from your birds or outside of your property?
If they were all from your birds, are they all fed the same?
Are all your breeders (hens and roosters) the same age or some old or very young?
Is it possible the eggs that failed came from birds that could have been closely inbred?
That is very possible in small flocks and multi generational where full brother/sister matings are likely.
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
963
2,178
246
Ontario
What was the source of the eggs? Were they all from your birds or outside of your property?
If they were all from your birds, are they all fed the same?
Are all your breeders (hens and roosters) the same age or some old or very young?
Is it possible the eggs that failed came from birds that could have been closely inbred?
That is very possible in small flocks and multi generational where full brother/sister matings are likely.

I got them from a local lady. The brown eggs came from her barnies and dark brahmas, which know she only started with this year, but I'm not sure if these were this years pullets or if she got started birds. The blue eggs were from her amerucana flock, which I know is multi generational and may or may not have had an EE mixed in (pullet mix up she had been working on sorting but not sure if she did or not). Both were topped by her new blue amerucana roo (I never know if I'm spelling that right or not! Not the EEs), so weren't inbred through this generation, but its anyone's guess on the hens side.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
34,041
29,967
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St. Louis, MO
I was just trying to eliminate any causes that come to mind.
How new is her rooster? If he is over 6 or 7 months, he is probably OK.
However any new bird could possibly be inbred.
I would look long and hard at breeder nutrition. Layer feed is sufficient for laying table eggs but not always adequate for packing eggs with enough nutrition to bring embryos to term. Layer feed is 16% protein and that isn't sufficient for breeders.
I pay close attention to daily nutrition but still boost it 2 to 3 weeks before collecting eggs for incubation whether I'm incubating or shipping hatching eggs.
Higher protein doesn't necessarily mean adequate essential amino acids.
Protein can be high but still low in some essential amino acids, especially lysine, methionine and cystine. Minerals like manganese, vitamins A, D, E and B vitamins like Riboflavin are critical.
It is hard to control nutrition when they aren't your birds.
 

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