DIary of a novice, shipped egg, broody hatch


11 Years
Aug 29, 2012
Just wanted to keep track of my first adventure into the world of hatching eggs so thought Id just put it in a post so I can find it later.

Back story for anyone bored enough to follow along LOL We have an 2 year old silkie called Penny who has yet again gone broody so against everything common sense tells me following our last time having to rehome a rooster (neighbour problems) we have decided to add to our little flock by letting her hatch eggs. Oh and should add, being in Australia we are about 3 weeks into spring over here.

Because of the trouble we had finding our Rooster Ed a good home where he wouldnt get eaten (family pet couldnt have that
) we are doing two things differently, first the kids have been told that they are keeping only three hens and that they are not to get attached to the others (yeah I know, good luck with that) and two I have decided to hatch eggs from a show quality breeder so that hopefully finding homes for any boys may just be a bit easier. (this is the plan anyway

The eggs are traveling from Perth in Western Australia all the way to NSW which is pretty close to a five hour flight. They were posted on Tuesday and I hope they arrive for pick up from the Post Office tomorrow (Friday) so they arent sitting in the PO all weekend. I have bought a dozen mixed blue, black and splash australorp eggs. I am crossing fingers that we get one girl of each colour. I am only keeping three, we are residential so have limited space and as this will also be an old folks home for chickens way past their laying days I want to keep room to add new stock every year or two so we have a good mix of egg producing and past it chickens. So am going to have to be strong and sell any extra girls we get (this is of course assuming that they actually hatch and then they dont all turn out to be boys!).
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So my eggs have arrived. A little worse for wear in an express post bag. Apparently nobody told Australia post that express means fast so it took them four days to do a five hour flight and two hour drive.

The box was a bit squished in at one corner and there was one just broken egg in the same part of the box. They arrived feeling rather damp which had me confused till someone mentioned that eggs sweat in the plastic they were wrapped in. Hopefully that isn't going to cause any problems down the line.


I'm now torn between resting them 24 hours and getting them under the broody before they get any older. The common advice here is rest 24 hrs big side up after shipping but I've seen other sites say 8-12 hrs so I'm going to put them under her tonight at 12 hours. I've no way to tell how long before shipping the eggs were laid so don't want to leave any longer than I have to.

I tried candling on three eggs but couldn't make out the air sacs only the yolks moving round so have decided to leave them without any further candling till day 8 so I'm not just disturbing things.

My logic is they won't explode that soon and hopefully by then it will be clearer whats going on inside. Hopefully those words will not come back to haunt me!!
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Eggs set :). I lifted her up, took out the three temporary infertile ones and put the 11 new ones in their place and then popped her next to them again and she climbed back into place.

Not sure if she was thinking wow it's like Christmas! Look at all these eggs! Or are you kidding? Now where am I supposed to sit!

She pulled the ones in under her that didn't fit first try so think she is going to be able to cover them all. Will check tomorrow and see if any are poking out the sides.
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I went and checked on penny this morning and she growled at me just for getting close. Apparently all those eggs have brought out a new side in her and she is gleefully thinking " mine, mine! They're all mine!,"

Unfortunately greedy as she may be her butt is just not big enough to sit on 11 large size eggs and two were out the side of her this morning. One was warm and the other cold so rather than loosing them all because they take turns being chilled when they don't fit I've removed those two.

Seemed such a pity to throw them considering each one cost me as much as a full carton of eggs would so I figure there is nothing to be lost by trying to incubate them till I candle at 8 days and using them to replace any duds if I keep them alive that long. Since shipped eggs only seem to have a 50/50 chance of hatching I'm thinking a few spares may just come in handy.

So never having hatched before and not owning an incubator this was my MacGyver inspired attempt at an incubator.

We have hermit crabs which are happy up to 32deg c so I've raised the eggs closer to the heat lamp using a takeaway container and an old tissue box. That's giving me about 37-38 deg c so I'm just tweaking the temps to get to where it should be. Humidity is 42% at the moment.

I am not sure how I'm going to turn them. I suspect I'll just have to change their position by lifting and turning.
Well I have managed to get a loan of a 48 egg incubator so it's now getting up to temperature. It's a JN8-48 and hasn't received rave reviews online but it only has to keep them going for 8 days ( I refuse to think any further ahead) and I'm sure will be better regulating than my homemade attempt :)
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Looking forward to seeing how this all goes for you!! I'm from Victoria and am hoping to get myself a Silkie to hatch some chicks some time in the warmer months, I've never done it before, but am so looking forward to giving it a go!
Good luck with your bunch, I'll be following this thread to see how it all goes!
Looking forward to seeing how this all goes for you!! I'm from Victoria and am hoping to get myself a Silkie to hatch some chicks some time in the warmer months, I've never done it before, but am so looking forward to giving it a go! :D  Good luck with your bunch, I'll be following this thread to see how it all goes!

Yes we are lucky it's a bit warmer here :). Hopefully we don't get a last cold snap just as they hatch! Our little silkie is a bit of a misfit, we are actually hoping this might give her some friends :)
I've moved one more egg into the incubator. There was one more sort of just half covered with a wing this morning and it was peeking out again tonight so thought I best move it into the incubator as well. So the magic number seems to be 8 full size eggs to one half size chicken.

And here is a pic of them in their new home. Bit fancier than their temporary quarters in the crab tank :)

Now the only thing I'm wondering is about this whole tilting bit in the incubator. The eggs tilt one way about 45 degrees then every two hours they get tilted back the other way. Doesn't seem much like what would happen under a broody. So....went googling and found this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2622816
Small experiment but seems to suggest tilting isn't as good as the full turn a hen would do. So I'm going to turn the eggs manually in their cradle morning and night and maybe at lunchtime on top of the tilting.
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Just thought I'd share our broody's temporary quarters.

Our chook pen is built next to the kids old cubby house so she has her own little area affectionately referred to as Alcatraz (because it's where they go less nesting box when broody breaking). It's actually the underneath of the cubby enclosed with wire underneath as it used to be a bunny run. This means that when the new kids hatch they have about a 3 metre square area to run around in where the rest of the flock can see them but can't get to them. Also means they will be safe from our resident magpies till they are too big to be an easy meal.

Her nesting box is an old vanity cupboard I picked up for $20 at the Salvation Army store. I've opened the second door to take the picture but it is normally closed so she has a nice dark little corner. The roost is because it was home to the favorelles at night when we were integrating them into the flock.

I did just have her nest on the floor but it always ended up with the eggs directly on it with no hay and it's pretty hard so I put the lid off a photocopy paper box in there with two sides torn so they can be laid down flat (so it wasn't as small). So it now has the slightly softer cardboard as the base under the eggs rather than being directly on the melamine floor. Another benefit is that I can now open the second door to check on her and not worry about eggs rolling out.
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