Checking egg viability with a broody hen?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by nikirushka, Sep 25, 2016.

  1. nikirushka

    nikirushka Chillin' With My Peeps

    93
    7
    54
    Dec 2, 2014
    I've got a broody coturnix! And no candling torch. And 15 eggs.

    I doubt they will all be viable but what's the best approach to use here? I'm reading a lot about the float test but how practical is that when they're going back into a nest? Or will they be ok with a quick towel dry?

    Or, do I just wait and see - and if I do that, bearing in mind she's added over half the batch over a few days before I separated her from the others and has laid 3 more since then - at what stage in the hatching do I stop waiting to see if any more come out and ditch the unhatched ones? I've got 48 hours in my head but should I wait longer, or will she ignore latecomers?

    Theoretically we're on day 14 but I don't know exactly. Might be 15 or 16, I don't know precisely when she started sitting on them because I hadn't collected any for a week (only got 6 hens and laying is starting to slow down for the year) when I found them all nice and toasty.

    Help!
     
  2. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    952
    141
    151
    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Grats on your broody Coturnix quail :)

    When mine went broody I had the same problem - too many eggs were being added! At 13 I marked them and removed any non marked ones daily when she went to feed/dustbathe/drink.

    Any more eggs and I don't think she would be able to cover them all.

    Six hatched overnight I suppose and she took them out later that morning to search for bugs in the aviary. She would tidbit just likes the males do :)

    She did stick close to the nest so I left the remaining eggs in not sure if she would continue to incubate them. The next morning there was a newly hatched quail and one existing quail had died overnight somehow. There was also another newly hatched chick that had maybe rolled away from the nest overnight because it was cold and didn't make it :/.

    I incubated the rest of the eggs and hatched one more chick myself and since she often tripped over the babies and seemed to be losing a bit of interest after a few days, I decided to raise them inside and introduce the one I had hatched just fine.

    If I had to do it again, I probably would take over after she hatched the first batch of babies to give them better chances of survival in a brooder and immediately incubate the remaining eggs and set her free of her long duty :)
     
  3. Binki

    Binki Chillin' With My Peeps

    952
    141
    151
    Jul 9, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Oh sorry to answer your question I didn't check the eggs - I was worried I would spoil her from being broody with too much disturbance :p
     
  4. nikirushka

    nikirushka Chillin' With My Peeps

    93
    7
    54
    Dec 2, 2014
    I've had the same worry but nothing has stopped her! And she's covered them all admirably, even if she does now resemble a giant muffin top!

    Thanks. I guess I'll wait and see and if she stops sitting on the eggs once some have hatched, I'll abandon them. I've got no incubator so it's up to her, I just don't want to throw any out too soon!
     
  5. DK newbie

    DK newbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,187
    210
    136
    Apr 20, 2015
    If you have a smartphone, you might be able to use the flash to candle the eggs. I wouldn't attempt it till she's left the nest with the first chicks though. And if you don't have an incubator anyway, at that point it doesn't really matter.
    Unless you have quite high temps, I'd say you can give up on having more eggs hatch (without help) 24 hours after she was last sitting on the nest. That's not something I know, it's just a gut feeling. A chick can die in 15 minutes without heat (A button chick can, anyway, depending on the surrounding temp and the previous health of the chick) but apparently people have experienced tossed eggs hatching several days after they were removed from the incubator, if the temps are reasonably high.
    Did I understand it right, she laid 3 eggs AFTER going broody - once you'd removed the others? In my experience (with button quail, not coturnix), they stop laying once they go truly broody. Might be different with yours, or maybe she wasn't sitting tight yet at that point.. Anyway, I wouldn't give up if you still don't have chicks by day 19+.
     
  6. bantylover66

    bantylover66 Out Of The Brooder

    10
    3
    26
    Sep 8, 2015
    There is a super high illumination flashlight sold at walmart that charges with a USB cord it costs around 60.00 but it works to candle almost anything. It's so bright you can place it under your hand and see the veins in your hand as well as other parts of your body and with lots of eggs you can see the chicks heartbeating and identify other parts of the chick within the egg;especially ducks!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by