eggs starting to hatch, but possible humidity problem!


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 28, 2009
Hi, I don't post on here often, so I hope someone will help: I set a few eggs (3) under one of my broody hens, and the rest (14) are in my dining room in an incubator. Hatch day is tomorrow (when I set them, it was late at night so I counted the next day as day 1) So it makes sense that 2 of the eggs under my hen have begun their journey, they each pipped. The first egg to pip I noticed around 2pm. I checked a couple hours later and much of the outer egg shell was broken off, but the next membrane layer was white and shriveled-looking around the chick and not broken anywhere. I have never seen a hatch happen like this. After consulting a neighbor with chickens I decided to open the white membrane a tiny bit (I poked a hole) so the chick could breathe. I could see the chick breathing inside. I had heard peeping earlier, but not so much/not very strong. After checking a few hours after this, more than half of the egg was just crumbled up and the chick had died

So when the 2nd egg pipped, it looked the same- shell broken off but chick did not break the white membrane which looks very thick. I decided it must be humidity-related and transferred this 2nd egg to the incubator in my dining room. I figured the humidity in there must be better and I plan to transfer the chick back, I just don't know if I should do the transfer when the hatch is well under way, or after the chick is hatched and dried. So, is this ok, and should I do it for the 3rd egg after it begins to hatch under my broody hen? I can just put some non-fertile eggs under her till it's the right time to put the chicks back with her.

Please help!
Honestly messing with them and lifting the hen off the nest to check them is probably the cause of your problems. Everytime you lift the hen you let the humidity out just like when you open the incubator lid. I'd leave her alone and quit messing with them.
I agree with you on this, unfortunately I have a few other hens with her in the coop and they lay their eggs in the nest, and I was removing those eggs when I noticed. Perhaps that could be the problem too, besides me taking out the other eggs, the other hens may have pushed her over in the past couple days. I am in NJ and it has been hot/humid, and this has never been a problem before under same circumstances......OK, I will leave all alone! Thanks.
Why do you feel it's necessary to mess with a broody hen? Where did you receive information telling you to mess with a broody hen? Good garden o' peas!
sheesh, I don't mean any harm. I have hatched chicks (both under a hen and w/a bator) before, and was just reaching out for help b/c I never before saw a shell that was all crumbled up during a hatch but the membrane still intact. I was asking for advice and hoping someone who has experienced this could steer me in the right direction. If that direction is to "leave it all alone" then that's fine, just write that.
yes, that is what I did. I set up a pen around her so my other hens can't get to her. Usually one other hen I have likes to sleep in the nest with her, and I know the pen is working, b/c that hen is now sleeping with the others, and Wynona (my broody hen) is all alone. Thanks
I have decided not to check them again, (but I hear soft peeping coming from underneath her!) and whatever happens at this point, the remaining eggs are under the best hatching conditions, under the hen.

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