Don't thow the egg ou without doing this!


Jul 9, 2010
Delaware, Arkansas
A broody will tap on the egg with her beak.
We can tap with our fingernail and listen. Sometime a tap, tap, tap.....

My biggest fear also is throwing one that is still alive.

I bought a stethascope. I use a cloth on the listening end and on my fingers to put it against the egg. Then I tap. If there is a chick still alive, and you hold really still, and you have the listening end covered as well as your fingers that hold that end....oh, and make sure the tubes are not hitting anything you can hear a chick inside. I could be wrong, but I think that maybe they can't peep if they are not through the air cell....? someone can correct me.

But I exhaust all things before I give it up. I hatched 38 of 40 my last hatch. I tapped. I listened. And finally I gave up. BUT....I also threw the eggs as far out into the woods as I possibly could and would have fallen out if I heard a peep!!! Worst thing that I can think of to happen!


In the Brooder
Nov 27, 2010
i had 5 eggs in the incubator. its day 23. im still holding out! its pipped and looks like its started to zip, but nothing for the last 2 hours or so. im still hoping it will hatch though! the other 4 chicks hatched yesterday and are fluffy and ready to go into a brooding box. come one little 5th chick!

fyi, i just had a blonde moment, while trying to press the smilie above, i chased the running figure for about 5 seconds trying to 'catch' it before i realized, oh, duh... haha just click on the whole thing.. wow. late hatch nights can do strange things to your thinking.. haha


In the Brooder
Dec 20, 2009
Queen Creek, Arizona
I had two eggs under my broody hatch on day 28. I kept procrastinating throwing the unhatched eggs out and right after I had two chickens get killed by a Coyote, two new babies hatched!

I just checked the eggs I now have under a new broody and I can hear chirping in two of them, and a faint "tap tap" reply to when I tap on the egg in two othes. Hatching chicks is so fun!


May 24, 2011
Thanks so much for this information! My husband and I don't have any chickens yet and we're thinking about starting our flock from eggs. I'll definitely tap, wait patiently, and give the little chicks all the time they need!


Flock Mistress
Apr 14, 2009
Benton (Saline County) AR
I always carefully crack the non-hatchers from the air cell end usually around day 23ish. I tap with the flat side of a knife and just open up the shell around the air cell, if there's no pip in the membrane I'll proceed with my cracking. Never have opened a live one though, the ones I've lost usually died around lockdown time before they absorbed the yolk. Except for one that died mid-zip, while I was talking to "her" - that was just heartbreaking!!
She was damp but I don't think wet enough to drown, in fact humidity had dropped considerably from when the others had been hatching. She was late, maybe just weak, I dunno.

ETA: the air cell end is usually the fat end, but at hatch time it's the ONLY part of the shell you can see through if you attempt to candle, so you can double-check with a light to be sure.
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Tartan Terror
11 Years
Oct 1, 2008
i nearly threw an egg out that was on day 25 and had shown no signs of life. all the other eggs in the batch had hatched day 21/22 as normal. Luckily I felt a scraping from the inside as i carried it to the trash and I got him out of there. He grew up to be the chap in the pic below. I open all non hatched eggs now before tossing them.



Dec 19, 2010
Victoria - Australia!
Thats a great tip and one I may get to use in about 12-13 days perhaps. I also think using a stethoscope sounds like a good idea too. I'm hoping I dont have to make that decision to throw any out but at least now if i do - i will try this before I go ahead and turf.


Jan 19, 2011
Western Isles, Scotland
Highlander - what a beautiful boy.

I will def be shaking and tapping in the future. I have always opened to check before throwing and a couple of times there have been wet chicks inside, which i hoped had died before i opened them (they still had yolk sacs, so i think they died at about lock down). Its so hard to know what to do.

Great thread.

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Mar 16, 2011
I'm so glad that I started this thread, what wonderful stories keep getting better of saving eggs. My little Silkie I nearly tossed out is doing great, thanks to a friend who said to shake the eggs upon tossing. Thank you everone for the great stories,
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