Dead-in-shell embryos


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
About 6 weeks ago, I had a broody hen. She incubated the eggs (initially 9, she destroed 2), and on the 20th day, a chick was born. On the 21st day, no chicks, so I kept waiting, but eventually I realized no chicks would hatch and broke the remaining eggs to see the inside. They contained dead chicks inside, but they were already quite large, so they died near the 21st day. At first I though it was because I had scratched the eggs because they were getting coated with a cardboard mass, but on the past few days, after getting advice from more people, I starting to think it is something related to the broody hens themselves. I essentially have two varieties of chickens: some large Golden Sex Links, and some smaller chickens whose breed I don't know, but the are all local (from my region) and they all have the same body shape and make similar noises. One of the Golden Sex Links is the one who got broody and bred those 9/7 eggs I talked about. Three weeks ago, two other hens got broody: one of the Golden Sex Links, and a white one of the other breed. This white one is a hen that bred 8 eggs last ear and all of them hatched. I placed 13 previously selected eggs under the Golden, and 8 under the white. I followed all recommendations: stored the eggs at an adequate temperature (11-18ºC), didn't use eggs older than 7 days, turned them twice a day, didn't wash them and marked them with a graphite ("lead") pencil. Today was the day they were supposed to hatch. On the white hen, the last time I checked, 7 of the 8 eggs hatched (eventually I had to move the hen, the 7 chicks and the remaining egg to another place because of rats and predators -- once I had 5 ducklings -- all were eaten by rats and weasels). The Golden destroyed 5 of the 13 eggs during the incubation period -- 8 remained. The last time I checked, there were 2 chicks and one of the other eggs was cracking and I saw a beak moving out of it. Anyway, I'm convinced no more chicks will hatch on this one. The Golden, unlike the white, doesn't abandon the nest to defecate and is much less aggressive than the white when I approach. I'm getting increasingly convinced that the dead embryos were due to the inexperience of the hens. I'm also getting convinced that this breed (Golden) is not very good for breeding. Oh, I forgot to add, the first hen that had 6 dead-in-shell embryos kept one chick, and I got three chicks in the local market and gave them to her but she rejected them and almost killed one of them.
What do you think? Is it the hens' fault, the eggs' fault or my fault? What is your opinion on what might be happening?

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