Help! Henrietta abandoned her eggs!


10 Years
Jan 15, 2010
Southern Minnesota
Our oldest and most crotchety old hen who refuses to live with the other chickens set a clutch of 8 eggs in an empty garbage can. We've checked on her every morning, noon, and night. Tonight she's not there. I told my boys not to worry I'd start the incubator so we could have her babies.

Well 6 of them are infertile without a doubt. But that leaves one solid black egg that I can't even see an airspace on. And another that has a floating mis-shapen dark area also no clear airspace. We think she's been sitting for about 2 weeks. Are they fertile? Are they alive?

She's a New Hampshire Red and 4 years old, she really has become one of our favorites and I knew it was a risk letting her stay in there. But she went missing in the middle of the day!

Last summer she laid all her eggs in a "nest" made from a box of my husbands high school stuff in the garage. That is also where she went to roost. We'd have to carry her from the garage to the coop every night. She is smart enough to get in and out of the fence while the rest of the flock stays behind. And she survives mostly off of foraging. She's one awesome old chick!

Our rooster Wyatt is from the same chick order as her, and apparently his juice isn't flowing like it used to! He is a dominique who's seen better days, but loves and protects his ladies.

Anyway, have any thoughts on the eggs? Are they baby Henriettas or stink bombs? Incubator is heating up!
So on further inspection I did find the air sacs. I think I even saw the less developed one move real quick! That one has a pretty big/good size air sac, the other one is really dark with a smaller (weird shaped?) air sac.
Man am I glad I stayed up! I heard a pop and ran down stairs to see that just a few pieces of egg shell had popped off the dark egg membrane still in tact. I knew I shouldn't trust it! Grabbed 3 plastic bags and carefully extracted the egg without mess.

Stink Bomb!
Crisis averted...

Now I guess I can go to bed, no big deal when there's only one egg! If it blows up there's nothing else to ruin right? It wouldn't knock the incubator open would it? Oh man, I might have nightmares. But I'm pretty sure there's a chick in it, my husband saw the movement too! I put the egg in the incubator dirty, I didn't want to wash them off in case I destroyed the "bloom" that is supposedly protecting them. It's been raining and therefore muddy, and Henrietta's feet and whatnot have been all over them. Should I clean it or not?

If this little chickie makes it we might have a new pet. Maybe I'll have to make those chicken diapers!

No, but really it will need some serious protection if Henrietta is truly gone. My husband couldn't find her either, and I fear the worst.
So Henrietta was waiting outside our door today!! I'm so glad she's ok! But now what do I do? The one egg that might hatch is in the incubator, and she's probably wondering what the rest of them are doing on the porch. That might even be why she's on the porch waiting for us to come out.

Who knows where that lady goes. The door to the coop is still closed, she didn't sleep on her eggs, and she wasn't in the garage.

So what should I do:
Wash the egg?
Put it back in the garbage can?
Put fake eggs in the garbage can?
Put the infertile eggs in the can?
I don't even know when to take the turner out of the incubator so it can hatch!
Yay Henrietta's ok! I'm sorry I can't give any advice on hatching the egg hopefully someone will come along soon that will. It would be really neat if that last egg made it.
She probably knew the eggs where bad and that's why she left the nest. Maybe now she'll sleep in the coop were she's safe. Keep us posted on the egg, good luck!

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