Do I remove unhatched eggs from under broody with chicks?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kristenm1975, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Today was day 22 and so far at least 3 out of the 9 eggs under her have hatched. When I get her to lift up a bit, I can see the eggs under there nestled in with the chicks.

    I'm worried that the eggs that are duds might explode or be broken in the shuffling and get all over the chicks.

    At what point do I remove the eggs? She's an aggressive broody, so I don't want to get her riled up for no reason, especially as I'm afraid she might accidentally hurt the chicks if she's pecking madly at whatever comes her way.

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hens tend to leave the nest with their brood after a couple days. When you see her off the nest, that`s the best time to clear the unhatched eggs and shells out of the nest. Be carefull. If she has a mind to, she will attack you in defense of her brood. I wouldn`t worry much about the eggs exploding, yet. Nevertheless, handle with care.......Pop
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    In my experience, a hen will stay on the nest for about 24 hours after the first chick hatches. She probably won't even get up to eat, drink or poop during that time. The first chicks who hatch are fine hanging out under Mom, waiting for their siblings to hatch.

    But after 24 hours Mom will take herself & all the hatched chicks out of the nest for their first outing. They'll all eat, drink & poop. And maybe a good dust bath for Mom.

    If there are any eggs remaining in the nest at this time, they probably won't hatch under Mom. She'll let them get too cold while she & her biddies are away. Also, if new chicks emerge they'll be at a disadvantage, will be weaker & wetter than their siblings, and Mom won't want to stay on the nest until they dry off.

    You could wait until she takes her kids off the nest and then remove the unhatched eggs. You could candle them, or just bury them sight unseen. Or put them in a moist warm brooder and see if you could get them to hatch. The hen *might* take them back, but be prepared to raise them yourself if she doesn't.
  4. algopurple

    algopurple Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2008
    Ripley TN
    I wondered the same thing today. My eggs were 22 days today. I took them when the hen left to candle them but they exploaded befor I got the chance. My first experience with rotten eggs. WAY worse than I ever imagined! I barely tapped them when I sat them on the ground to close the door and POP POP POP! Thought I was going to die! BE CAREFUL.
    1 person likes this.
  5. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I removed 4 eggs tonight. One almost seemed to be a fresh egg. Odd. One was explosively rotten. Two had chicks in them, one which was a dark color and surrounded by a lot of fluid, the other with a thicker membrane, lighter color chick, and little liquid. Neither were moving at all so I disposed of them. I didn't have the nerve (or the stomach) to open up the membrane and see the little dead things.

    I suppose I could have put the one without much fluid back under momma hen and see what happens but I don't think there was much hope. If it was a live chick, I would imagine there would be some kind of movement, and there wasn't even though I delicately bumped the occupant with my finger against the membrane.

    I'm not sure why this happened, but I'm thankful that it looks like I got 4 live ones, maybe 5. Still can't get growly momma off the babies long enough to get a good look. I'm glad she's so protective though. Bodes well for healthy chicks.
  6. zowieyellowflame

    zowieyellowflame Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 11, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    If you ever again have an egg you are about to throw away, open or give up on, put it in a bowl of water deep enough to float it. (warm, not hot) An egg that does not move is not 100% acurate, but if you see the egg, after the water is still, jerking this way and that, then you certainly have a live chick. 2 lives have been saved this way in my henhouse and one egg is in the incubator as we speak.
  7. brian8jr

    brian8jr New Egg

    Aug 24, 2008
    Milo, Maine
    I would wait a day or two before removing them. I had other chickens that would jump in with the broody and lay an egg than leave, so you end up having some eggs that aren't 21 days old yet. It happened to me.
  8. judithkorff

    judithkorff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2009
    Randolph, NY
    I just had a big hatch of silkie chicks - 4 setting hens with a gazillion eggs - so far 25 chicks. The first one hatched last Saturday, and between Sunday when I left for a quick road trip to Massachusetts and my return on Monday afternoon, an additional 18 had hatched. At this point (Wednesday), I have a total of 25. Everybody is all mixed up (I hadn't separated the setters out from the flock, just left them happily setting on the floor of the hen house), chicks are everywhere, and moms are busy teaching chicks to eat, drink and scratch. I'm assuming that there will be no further hatching, so do you think it's safe to remove the remaining eggs? I had found and discarded a few partially hatched or pipped eggs that didn't seem to have any sign of life, and a couple definitely dead. I'd hate to throw away a viable egg, but I also want to get them better organized before they go into brood mode again. Real nest boxes instead of the floor, yada yada yada. They went broody almost as soon as I'd brought them home so I didn't have a chance to make arrangements beforehand.

    As a sidenote, when I went out just now, there are 2 girls setting on the unhatched eggs. Is this meaningful or not?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  9. aljeffers

    aljeffers Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 15, 2013
    Clinton Tennessee
    Eggs started hatching on Monday evening, lost 1 on Monday, and 3 more hatched Tuesday into Wednesday morning. There are 2 eggs left, how long should I wait before I remove them? One feels too light to contain a chick but the other doesn't. Any advise is appreciated.

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