Hatching egg cracked under broody hen and contaminated all other eggs!

Jun 9, 2020
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Hello!

Thank you so much in advance to those who reply to my plea!

I placed 8 hatching eggs under a pair of hens (on the 6th June) who have been joint-sitting on a nest, and have a couple of questions.

1. Unfortunately the hens don't appear to be naturally good mothers.. this is their first time sitting but I am not sure if it's coming naturally to them. This afternoon I checked on the eggs when I fed the hens, and unfortunately one egg had cracked and now the remaining 7 are covered in gunk / hay from the egg yolk. I would love some advice here; do you think they could still hatch now that they're not pristine and clean? Should I wash them/not wash them? How easily can bacteria get into them?

2. Occasionally when I check the hens over the day, an egg or two is not 100% under the hen and feels slightly cooler in temperature than the ones fully underneath. This worries me as the hens don't appear to be making any effort to push them back under them. I was wondering how easily embryos die when exposed to the outside air for a period of time, and if some hens just don't have the innate desire to push eggs back under them. Do this what I am describing will be detrimental to how many (if any) hatch?

3. The hens had been sitting for a number of weeks before I placed the 8 eggs under them; do you think they are likely to stay committed to the nest, despite overrunning the 21 day mark in total?

Thank you so much for any answers, I'm hugely grateful! x
 
Jun 9, 2020
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Hello Mamas_Looney_Farm - thank you so much for your reply :).

Would you recommend I take a damp dish cloth and gently wipe as much off as possible? Do you reckon now this has happened, it may have ruined the whole clutch, or are eggs more resilient to gunk etc. than I think? x
 
Jun 9, 2020
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Hello, I have wiped off 90% of the gunk on the remaining eggs with a damp dishcloth - I tried to dry the eggs off as soon as I wiped them, I hope this will be ok? My main worry is maybe having wiped off most of the bloom/or damp getting into the egg now? I tried to be as delicate as possible but I don't know how easy it is to remove the bloom.

This egg I found (pictured) has a crack in too (as did the other which broke), so I have now removed it. This was the extent of the sticky egg gunk on the exterior as you can see in the photo. The other 6 eggs are now mostly clean and back under the hens (although not pristine). Any advice on how successful the remaining eggs may hatch, now that this has unfortunately happened? x
Screenshot 2020-06-09 at 17.19.23.png
 
Dec 14, 2019
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Yes, a damp dish cloth would work as well. You can also candle the eggs and see if you can separate all the bad eggs. It probably happened from an infertile egg being sat on and then some poo got on it and just blossomed underneath the warmth of the hen and humidity. I may have missed something, but how old are the eggs under them?
 
Jun 9, 2020
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Hello,

Thank you for much for the reassurance here. I have read somewhere that getting eggs damp at all will ruin/contaminate them, but I hope that's not the case - I didn't submerge the eggs, just wiped them so they did feel slightly wet as I was cleaning them but dried soon after. The pic shows how gunky they all got, so I felt I had to do so or risk them going mouldy of some sort.

The eggs were placed under on the 6th June. I purchased the eggs from a breeder on the same day, and she told me the eggs had been laid recently. Do you think this will make a difference in their success rate? Unfortunately I don't have a candler at the moment.
 
Dec 14, 2019
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You can use a flashlight to candle them as well, just go in at night or whenever the coops dark. Do you know exactly how ‘recently’ the eggs had been laid? It takes up to 2 weeks to still be able to hatch an egg that’s just been sitting there. I still think that after the first egg broke their success rate will be a little lower but you never know, all the remaining ones could still do fine 🤞
 
Jun 9, 2020
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Ok great, thank you. I will try and use a flashlight this evening. What should I be looking out for considering they've been incubating for 3 days?

I believe they will have been laid up to (and including) the 6th June (so possibly anywhere between the 1st - 6th June I think?) - the breeder had a waiting list so I only picked them up when her own chickens had laid enough for me to purchase.

Have you had any experience with eggs breaking and contaminating the remaining clutch? I would be very disappointed if this incident had killed off the remaining eggs. I guess it will be a waiting game.
 

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