Hatching Problem only 1 baby chick


8 Years
Nov 5, 2011
This is my first experience.

One of my hens got broody.
We put some eggs under her.

It is cold here. Around 18 inside the house. I put the eggs in a box and then in a cupboard.

Its been around 23 days and only one 1 out of 9 or 10 eggs have hatched.

I didnt candle the eggs as i thought that I would spoil them in the way.

I took the smallest egg and tried to candle it today.
Didnt see anything.
Broke the egg.
The yolk was all mixed with the egg white. Although I took XXxtreme care of the eggs, not to shake them. (i didnt use to rotate the eggs 90 degrees.)
Perhaps it was only me but I think I saw a little red in the egg.
What should I do?
What should I do with the remaining eggs?
Why didnt the eggs hatch? The eggs weren't very old.
There are a lot of different reasons eggs might not hatch. It could have something to do with the fertility of the rooster or hens or maybe their diet. Heredity may play a part. How or how long you store them before setting them. Something could have gone wrong during the incubation. It is impossible for me to pinpoint the problem from here. Even if I were there watching the whole time, I might not be of any help. You might try opening the others and see what you can. I'll give you a couple of links that might help you understand what you are seeing. But remember, a lot of these things are not an all or nothing sort of thing. Many of them reduce the odds of an egg hatching. For example, storing them too cool or warm may not stop all eggs from hatching. It just reduces the odds of them hatching so sometimes you get bad hatches, but sometimes you still get good hatches. Better luck next time.

Mississippi State Incubation Troubleshooting

Florida Incubation Troubleshooting
There's still a chance that some more of the eggs might hatch. The one time I had a broody hen, nothing hatched till day 25 or 26. So if she's still willing to sit on them, it might be worthwhile giving her a couple more days. If you're not sure what you're looking for when candling, have a read at some of the candling threads on here. Most of them have photos you can compare with.

Of course, maybe you were just unlucky and only one of the eggs was fertilised in the first place!

At least your one single chick has a mother to look after it. Hatching only one chick under a broody isn't bad at all as they have each other for company. Hatching only one chick in an incubator is much worse as it will usually be very lonely on its own...

Good luck with the rest of your eggs
After further thought, I have two questions. Did you starty them all at the same time? Since you were not sure whether it was 9 or 10, it sounds like you maybe did not? If you allowed the hens to lay as they would, she may have gotten later eggs from other hens after she went broody.

The other question, did the eggs freeze before she went broody? If you did not collect them and store them inside, then give them to her after she went broody, maybe some froze before she started?

As I said, it could be many different things and I am guessing pretty blindly.
I only had one hatch out of 10 a few were scrambled and a few had blood rings and a few had just forming chicks and 2 had chicks with feathers that never grew past 15 days and the one that hatched i had to help out of the egg. I think the reason mine were like that is that i had inexperienced young hens and very curious young hens and roos that would trash he nest.
all at the same time.
I moved the hen to an isolated place.

As i said its about 18degree inside so no question of freezing.

the hen is still sitting but I broke all the eggs only 3 had chicken and those were very immature.

But I have another broody hen with 12 eggs under her.
Its still time remaining for her. lets see how that goes.

If the eggs are fertile is that possible that incubation is affected by the cold?
The 18 degrees C (64 F) inside the house was a great temperature for storing them, just barely on the warmer side of perfect. Wish I had a place that cool to store mine. I did not read that quite the right way. I was not sure if it was 18 C in your house or 18 F in the hen house. You said you did not keep them that long, so storing them was not the problem. You don't even have to turn them for the first few days. From the way you posted, I think these are eggs from your own hens and rooster.

With 6 out of 9 or 10 not even starting to develop, it sounds like a big part is a fertility problem. I have not hatched in the winter, so I don't have any first hand experience, but some people have posted that they experience reduced fertility in hatching eggs in the winter. With chickens being chickens and not consistent at all, others on this forum have said they get great hatches in the winter. I don't know if winter has anything to do with your situation or not.

How many roosters do you have with how many hens? There are a lot of myths floating around on this site about hen to rooster ratios and fertility. The ratio commercial operations use in their specific situation is not a requirement for all of us, but it is still possible you don't have enough roosters for your hens. And a whole lot depends on the specific rooster. Some are just a lot more vigorous than others.

Age of your flock can be a problem. Older hens can lose fertility. I'm talking five or six years old, not two or three years old. A rooster also can lose vigor and vitality as he gets older. In my post, please read "can" to mean it might happen. "Can" does not mean it does happen each and every time. You'd be surprised how many people on this forum have trouble understanding that.

If chickens are inbred for several generations, they can lose fertility. There are techniques to avoid that, but for most of us with small backyard flocks this is one reason to bring in fresh blood every few years. We need to keep that genetic diversity up.

Some thick feathered chickens, like Orpington or Cochin, can have feathers so thick the rooster has trouble hitting the target. This is not always a problem, but some breeders trim the feathers around the vent to give the rooster a better target.

Is there the possibility some eggs froze before you gathered them?

As for the three that started but stopped, there are many reasons that could have happened. It is possible the hen did something wrong during incubation. Most hens will do a good job of keeping the eggs warm even in really cold weather. Most do a great job, but they are living animals so anything can happen. Since being broody is purely instinct, I think it is surprising how many actually get it right their first time.

You might look through the links I gave you to try to figure out what happened. Those are set up for commercial operations in an incubator more than a backyard flock under a broody, but you can maybe get some insight as to what went wrong. But sometimes we just get bad hatches and can't figure out what went wrong.

I don't know if this helps you any or not. Basically, it could be a lot of things and I don't know what it is. I wish you better luck on your next hatch.
Great detailed response from Ridgerunner.

A simple way to narrow down the cause of the problem a bit would be to collect a good representative sample of your hatching eggs, and crack them open to look for the bullseyes on the yolks that show they've been fertilised. It would help a lot to know whether the eggs are fertile or not. If they are, there's something going wrong after they've been laid. If they're not, there's something going wrong before they've been laid.

Good luck with the next batch!
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