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Candling and confused.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Brigala, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Brigala

    Brigala Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm in a tough spot. I found a hen a few days ago that had gone missing, brooding in the crawl space under the chicken coop. She is a Spotted Sussex; I'll call her "Spotty." She'd been missing 2-3 weeks. In that time, she has managed to collect two dozen eggs (our egg production dropped dramatically; I think the hens all started going down and laying in the crawl space with the broody).

    The other important thing to know is that we have a rooster, but I think he's a dud. He's afraid of the hens, is lame in one leg, and as near as I can tell has never attempted to woo, let alone mate, with the hens.

    Anyway, I left her alone for a few days while trying to decide what to do. Today I kicked her out of the crawl space, stole all her eggs, and candled them. Many of them clearly have nothing going on inside. Some look like the pictures of rotting/bacteria filled eggs. Six are either opaque or have very dark areas and clearly have something inside, but I can't tell what. I didn't see any definitive outlines of chicks or anything moving. Just dark spots which took up varying amounts of the egg.

    I decided any egg I didn't know what to make of would go back into the nest. I put them back in the crawl space, but I think Spotty has decided she's done and she's out running around the yard. I don't know whether she'll go back or not.

    So I stuck them all under my Buff Orpington ("Puffy") who is brooding in a nest box and has been there a few days. I took the egg she had under her, which is fresh (we're collecting a couple times a day while we decide what to do with her), and stuck it down in the crawl space just in case Spotty wants to go back and sit on something. Unfortunately, neither hen has any good place to brood where she's not going to continue to collect freshly laid eggs from the other hens. Also, I have no clue whether any of the eggs has a realistic chance of being fertilized, but I'm sure that most of the eggs are sterile. And if any of them are actually growing, they're undoubtedly all at different stages of development.

    I'm going to plan on not collecting any eggs from under Puffy for a few days, just in case she hatches something out. If nothing happens, I'll go through the stop-brooding tricks and discard the eggs, I guess. How long should I give her?

    I can't decide what to do from here. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd say, any eggs with large dark blobs in them, leave them under Puffy for at least a week. I think your rooster may be more active at wooing the ladies than you imagine. Candling is difficult and it takes a few hatches to figure out what you're actually seeing inside the eggs, so don't be too quick to chuck out the ones you're not sure about.
     
  3. Brigala

    Brigala Out Of The Brooder

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    Is it safe to mark the possible eggs with a Sharpie?
     
  4. Squishypuff

    Squishypuff Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most people seem to use pencil, but some talk about using Sharpies or crayon too...
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    I would mark the eggs too. You can use a sharpie.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yup, that's what I do. When I candle, I try to decide good, maybe or early quitter, and I mark it on the eggs with a pencil. Then the next time I candle (or at lockdown) I look again and see if I was right or not. It's funny how often the 'good' eggs turn out to be early quitters and the ones I mark as questionable are the ones that actually hatch out okay...
     
  7. Cadjien_De_Louisiane

    Cadjien_De_Louisiane SWLA Gamefowl Breeder

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    Supposedly a sharpie could be toxic, I prefer a pencil. But I do know people who use sharpies>
     

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