Broody Hen--How can I tell if the eggs are good?

ChickenLittle5

Chirping
Mar 24, 2020
92
65
88
TN
I have a couple of broody hens. We chased her off and took the eggs for a few weeks. After a few weeks of her not giving up, I did! I decided to let her hatch a few chicks. It has been about 2.5-3 weeks and I'm noticing a foul smell. I'm not sure if the eggs she is sitting on are starting to rot, or if it is some eggs on the floor of the hen house. Since she & another broody are hogging 2/6 nest boxes some other hens are using the floor! Or the new pullets are still learning where to lay! I'm also not sure if the smell is from the eggs, or just the high temps causing the coop to smell. (I thought we removed all the eggs from the hen house, but it is possible one was hidden.) I did find one cracked egg under her yesterday that had been fertilized, but not fully developed. I'm not sure if she cracked it or another bird. Is there a way I can check to see if the eggs are 'good'? Assuming they are good, how long does it typically take for them to hatch? Or, more importantly, how long do I let her sit before I should assume they are bad and toss them?
 

Nnyuu

Songster
Mar 23, 2021
128
364
136
Southeastern Pennsylvania
It sounds like time wise they are close to when they should be hatching. Personally I would candle the eggs she is sitting on and toss the ones that aren't viable, otherwise they may explode and the smell will get much, much worse. I would also do a good sweep of the coop to check for missed eggs. I'm pretty new to this though, others may have better suggestions.
 

ChickenLittle5

Chirping
Mar 24, 2020
92
65
88
TN
It sounds like time wise they are close to when they should be hatching. Personally I would candle the eggs she is sitting on and toss the ones that aren't viable, otherwise they may explode and the smell will get much, much worse. I would also do a good sweep of the coop to check for missed eggs. I'm pretty new to this though, others may have better suggestions.
Exploding eggs is my fear! I thought they should be hatching soon, but everything I've read about hatch times is for using an incubator. I wasn't sure if it varied with a hen. :) If I candle them, what should I see at 2.5 weeks? I plan to clean the coop and add PDZ this weekend. Between the rain & heat, it is possible the smell is just the 'coop'.
Put them in warn water and if they float,they are bad and if they sink then they are good! (Make sure there is no cracks in the shell)
Will this work for fertilized/incubated eggs? Just to be clear, I'm not wondering if they're good to eat, I'm wondering if they are viable for hatching or if my hen is sitting on rotten eggs.
 

Mutchi

Crowing
Apr 5, 2021
2,859
3,834
306
hamilton MT
My Coop
My Coop
Exploding eggs is my fear! I thought they should be hatching soon, but everything I've read about hatch times is for using an incubator. I wasn't sure if it varied with a hen. :) If I candle them, what should I see at 2.5 weeks? I plan to clean the coop and add PDZ this weekend. Between the rain & heat, it is possible the smell is just the 'coop'.

Will this work for fertilized/incubated eggs? Just to be clear, I'm not wondering if they're good to eat, I'm wondering if they are viable for hatching or if my hen is sitting on rotten eggs.
It should work.
 
Jul 22, 2020
252
2,144
176
Minnesota, USA
At that point in development the egg should be mostly filled with the chick. It would be helpful to candle an egg from the fridge to see what an undeveloped egg looks like. Eggs that have a ring of blood around an undeveloped yolk should also be discarded from the nest.
 

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