Broody Hen With Rotten Egg In Clutch Question


10 Years
May 26, 2009
I have a broody hen that had a rotten egg in her clutch, which I discarded, but now I think there may be another bad one in the bunch. Im not sure though since the rotten egg smell has gone away a little bit, but not all the way. The eggs are due to hatch any day now, I dont keep a perfect count on the days with my broodies, more just a watch on the weeks gone by, so Im not 100% sure of hatch date coming.

My question is- Will one rotten egg kill the other eggs and make them go rotten too?

There is another egg I picked up that smelled really bad, but it had been sitting right next to the other rotten one I got rid of, so Im not sure about its viability. The stinky one has some dirt on it, but not alot. I picked up the questionable egg and sniffed it, and it stank, but not quite as bad as the other one, and I gave it a little shake by my ear and didnt hear or feel anything rattling around (sometimes when I get a bad egg, the embryo dries up a bit or there is enough air in the egg to feel and hear the remains kinda bumping around in the egg). I didnt check each egg though- the smell makes me wanna puke since I am pregnant- I can only take so much, LOL!

How do I tell which egg is bad? I think she is around the time we would normally do 'lockdown' in an incubator, so I am not sure if I should try to remove the eggs to candle them, plus they should be so far along, it would be hard to tell if there is any movement.

Is there a way to tell for sure if the egg is bad if it had been sitting by a really stinky one? DO eggs absorb the stink from a bad egg???

Any advice or experiences shared would be most welcome!
A rotten one busting on the others is not good for them I don't think, but it's not a sure death sentence either necessarily. I've seen some do fine that have had a bad one blow up in the nest with them. That stench will attach to everything, so all the other eggs probably would be hard to tell via sniff test even if you could stand to do it. lol

Candling wouldn't hurt them, in my experience/opinion. If one is rotten you should be able to tell a difference in the looks of it...see the inside of it sloshing around or whatever if you move it, that kind of thing. If the eggs are real close to hatch, you might be able to see the movement of their heads/bodies along the edge of the aircell at this point to see who's alive.

I say candle them to check if you want. That's my vote. lol

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