Broody Mama, haven't had a rooster for 3 weeks. How long might eggs be viable?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MissAllison, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. MissAllison

    MissAllison In the Brooder

    Apr 8, 2013
    Hi all,

    On Thursday we found two dead baby chicks ([​IMG]) in our animal barn (among our sheep) and thought we'd located the nest... but then on Friday we heard peeping and found one of our escape artist hens' secret clutches with a chick sitting in it. Momma had left the next because we called the chickens in for the night with food, but the eggs were still warm to the touch and she returned to the nest (like I said, she's an escape artist). Chickie didn't make it ([​IMG][​IMG]), although we rushed to get our brooder together inside and brought her in straight away-- it's cold in the barn, and I guess maybe she was exposed for too long? She was shivering and not doing very well when we found her. We moved the entire clutch with its bed of straw, very carefully, into a large indoor cage and brought Momma in. She's been dutifully sitting on the eggs since.

    We were surprised to see the hatched eggs as we got rid of our rooster 3 weeks ago Friday. He was attacking people and we've got kids around, so we can't have that. I know the development time is right about on track for the chicks that hatched and didn't make it, but is there any chance any of the other eggs are viable? I can't seem to find a consistent answer on the web. How long should we keep letting Momma sit on the eggs?

    Hoping we didn't make any serious mistakes here. We don't typically have hens who hatch eggs, we usually buy chicks. Already placed our order for May! Thanks for any advice you can offer.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Most breeders say to wait 30 days when swapping roosters to ensure the eggs are fertilized by the new boy, so you're probably just on the edge. You can check by cracking a new egg open and looking for a bullseye.

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