Did I Ruin the Hatch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ClareScifi, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    My broody hen was sitting on 6 eggs, and one hatched Sunday. This afternoon I assumed none of the rest were going to hatch, and I moved the chick and hen to a cage, where the chick would be safe from the other chickens overnight. When I lifted the hen, I was so shocked to find a second chick. I haven't been hearing the characteristic peeping prior to hatches. This egg had to have hatched today, because I had been feeling the eggs under the hen and they were all intact as of this morning. I picked up and slipped the remaining 4 unhatched eggs under the hen, after I put her and the chicks in the cage. She readily took to the eggs. I had put pine shavings in the bottom of the wire cage.

    I am now worried that I might have prevented more eggs from hatching by picking them up and moving them at this stage in the hatching process? I have read that you shouldn't touch eggs during the last 3 days. I had thought all of the eggs were in the nest before the hen sat on them all, but perhaps some hens laid additional eggs after this hen first started sitting on the eggs, and that could explain the staggered hatching.

    I read that during the last 3 days the chicks have gotten into a hatching position. Could I have disrupted their position by picking up the eggs and moving them? I wouldn't have done it had I not thought the hatching was all over. I thought it was supposed to happen on Day 21, not Day 23. LOL.

    Would the eggs roll back under the hen into hatching position? Would she know to turn them the way they were?

    Also, a Banty and a pullet jumped on top of the cage the chicks and hen are in, to roost for the night. Could the jump onto the cage have caused the eggs under the hen to break, or scared her so much she might have broken the eggs in her fright? I wasn't there to witness the hens jumping up onto the cage, so I don't know how the Mama Hen reacted, but I am worried about all of this. Could she have crushed the chicks, out of fright at the cage moving?

    I'd go in and inspect, but I don't want to be around the rooster who is now in the coop for the night. I don't know how he would react to me inside the coop, and I don't want to chance it.

    Just wondering whether you think I did a very bad thing by handling the eggs at this point in the hatching cycle? They were not out from under the hen very long at all. As soon as I put them under her, she took right to them again. I didn't see any sign of pipping or hear any peeps from the eggs, but I didn't hear any peeps before the other 2 chicks hatched, either?

    All comments will be appreciated...

  2. darkbluespace

    darkbluespace Songster

    Jun 13, 2014
    Portland Oregon
    I wouldn't worry... some broodies still move eggs around even close to and during hatch. There are a lot of "rules" about incubating that I am finding are not so crucial... your second chick proves it! You can candle the eggs to see if any others have internally pipped.
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Thanks, DarkBlueSpace, that makes me feel better. I think it's good I let the adult chickens stay in the coop last night, instead of leaving them out as I had the night before. There were terrible winds, and it was drafty. I checked just now, and both chicks survived the night. I don't see signs of any more hatched eggs, but they may have been bad, anyway, and Mama is still sitting on them. I don't think they broke when the other hens jumped on the cage, so that is good. You mean, I could still pick up the unhatched eggs at this late date and check them? How would I candle them?
  4. Aphrael

    Aphrael Songster

    Jan 21, 2013
    Yes you could pick them up and check them. Just handle them gently with no jarring movements. If you hold a bright flashlight to the air sac end, you can see inside the egg if it isn't too dark shelled. If they have internally pipped you will be able to see a beak shadow jutting up into the air space. If my broody eggs go past their "due date", I always do a quick candle on them to do my best to insure mama isn't still sitting on eggs that will never hatch. I also do a quick candle on them around day 18 or 19 and discard any that are clearly quitters at that time.

    Personally, I wouldn't have a rooster that I was afraid to enter the coop with. If he didn't straighten up and fly right, he'd become dinner. Just my 2 cents on that. [​IMG]

  5. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    I love my rooster. He is my baby, raised by hand. He treats his girls very well.

    One egg didn't hatch and contained a full-sized chick. The other two chicks that did hatch are now 8 weeks old and happy and healthy. I buried the one who didn't hatch in my garden and planted tulips around his grave.

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