Do hens know?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by blakeee, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. blakeee

    blakeee Just Hatched

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    Do hens know if their eggs have died?
    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Good question! I wonder why you ask?

    Personally I think, if the egg is really bad, then yes they do and can push it out of the nest.

    But on the other hand, hens have been known to sit on bad eggs which have exploded under them.

    Some broodies will sit on eggs way past their 21 day incubation period if they have not hatched while others will give up may be 4-5 days after the due hatch date.
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I agree. I've had broody hens hatch some chicks, and then get off the nest. When I've looked at the remaining eggs, they have usually been duds. Hen's communicate with their chicks in the last day or so of incubation, so i assume they know which ones are not going to hatch.
     
  4. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler Premium Member

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    Some seem to, some don't.

    Ducks never know, they just aren't that bright.....


    But that is an interesting question.


    Welcome to byc
     
    2 people like this.
  5. blakeee

    blakeee Just Hatched

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    Thanks!
     
  6. blakeee

    blakeee Just Hatched

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    My hen had stopped laying on her eggs for a day and then started sitting on them again. I was just interested to know if she would be able to tell if they died when she let them go cold.
    Thank you! I'll just trust her judgement and candle them when I will be able to tell if they move or not.
     
  7. blakeee

    blakeee Just Hatched

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    So do they talk to them when they're in the egg?
    That's adorable. I feel like my hen is really excited for these chicks but I just hope that they're okay!
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    They do, soft little clucks - its quite cute.
     
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You can do it too, if you are hatching your own. It's especially cute when they've broken through the air sac but have not pipped yet, as you can hear them cheep much louder if you do the hen's put-put-put but they aren't pipped yet so it's like the egg suddenly has a voice.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have 3 or 4 hens hatch every year and have never had a hen reject a bad egg and kick it out of a nest, and I’ve had bad eggs. Others on here say they’ve seen it. You are dealing with living animals so I will not say it cannot happen just because I haven’t seen it. I do wonder if occasionally it’s an egg accidentally getting scratched out, whether it’s bad or not. To argue with myself, some people say they’ve put the egg back in and the same egg winds up back upon the coop floor.

    I always mark and start all my eggs at the same time so they will hatch about the same time. After internal pip, after they have started breathing the air in the air cell, they do start talking to Mama. That lets the hen know one is still on the way. I’ve had hens take their chicks off the nest within 24 hours of the first one hatching, I’ve had broodies wait three days to bring them off. I always check the unhatched eggs and have not found any still alive after she left. That’s one of the reasons I let Mama decide when she wants to abandon the nest, she knows when the hatch is over. When I use an incubator I often get a response just from tapping on the top when one has internal pipped.

    I don’t know how long your hen was off the nest or how cold it was while she was off. I don’t know how long those eggs have been incubated, the more developed they are the more internal heat the living chick inside generates. There are a lot of variables here. But I’ve had a broody hen go back to the wrong nest, I assume another hen was laying an egg in her nest when she returned from her daily sabbatical and she got confused. Anyway, those eggs were ice cold and were right around two weeks into incubation. I put her back on her eggs and about a week later she hatched 11 out of 11 eggs.

    I’d trust your candling a lot more than the broody hen to tell if the eggs are still alive. But don’t do anything dramatic until you are sure. I suggest you candle at least twice a few days apart to see if you see any development.

    Good luck!
     

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