Help! need to know to candle eggs or not??

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by arkansaschicks, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. arkansaschicks

    arkansaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    little rock
    I have a hen that is on about 10 eggs and it is about day 11. For the last week I have tried to get to the eggs to candle them to know if they are fertile or not. (with two roosters I am sure more than half are fertile).
    When I mess with the eggs she gets very mean and starts pecking violently and I am afraid she might peck a couple of the eggs as I am taking them out. I know that handling them is not a good thing especially this far along. So my question is, is it more important to remove any unfertile eggs or is it better to not touch them and just let them all go the 21 days? I guess I am afraid of any bad eggs exploding so I would really like to remove the ones that are not growing. Then again I am new at this and do not know if I could really tell which eggs are bad. The brown ones are really hard to see into!! Should I just leave the eggs alone? Please let me know what is the best way to handle this situation. THANKS!
  2. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I don't usually hatch with broodies, and haven't had much luck with it yet anyway, but for what it's worth I would say don't bother taking the eggs out. If she's got good instincts, she'll throw them out when they go bad anyway. As bad as my hens are at hatching, they nevertheless have never had one explode under them--they always remove them when they're bad.

    Good luck!
  3. arkansaschicks

    arkansaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    little rock
    Really?? I did not know that she will get them out. I am new at this! So if I find an egg out of the nest then is is most likely bad. Good to know!! Thanks!
  4. cackleberrylinda

    cackleberrylinda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2010
    If you find an egg thrown out, you could then candle it. I have found some that slipped out. and even when cold, or cool, I found life inside and slipped them back under her with no ill effect other than it seems they stayed shell bound for awhile longer, but only by half a day maybe and I'm not sure that was due to the temporary exile. Good luck with your hatching. I am just getting an incubator started up again after a decade or so. Pretty excited by the fun of it. I do prefer broody hens with the help of an incubator if some eggs don't get to hatch, though. But ain't spring just fun!! Or is it summer? Here in the Pacific NW we are still awaiting summer, or heck, even hoping Spring shows up for real.
  5. Winsor Woods

    Winsor Woods Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cascade Range in WA
    I just had two experiences with broody hens. One failure and one success. I have detailed the events in this thread:

    I candled with both of them and I know what you mean about them being nasty and pecking at you. Here's what I'd recommend:

    1. Candle the eggs. Even through you're a beginner, this is critical. I'm a beginner too. The only way you'll learn about candling is to do it.
    2. Candle at night only after it's been dark in the coop for a few hours. Here in WA state, there's still light in the sky at 9:30 pm so I was candling around midnight.
    3. Pick the broody up off the nest and set her down somewhere. She'll be so confused she'll just stand there, especially if it's really dark.
    4. Bring an egg carton out with you. Remove the eggs from the nest, one at a time, and candle them. The good ones you put in the carton one the right side, the bad ones you put in the carton from the left. Any you think are bad, mark them somehow so you'll have an idea how they change in appearance until the next candling session.
    5. Once all the eggs are candled, put them all back into the nest, even the bad ones. I only removed the bad eggs on the last candling. A well developed and fertile egg would look very black on day 17/18 candling so any that light up brightly on that final candling you can remove.
    6. Pick the broody back up and place her next to the nest, not on the nest. Then, using your hand to filter light from the flashlight, shine some weak light on the nest. Gradually increase the amount of light you allow to spill past your hand and when there's enough light on the nest, the broody will see the eggs and get on the nest. If you place her on the nest yourself, you risk her kicking and struggling which could damage the eggs. Give her just enough light to allow her to get on the nest herself.

    The hen doesn't always know that an egg is bad. I had one that I saw the telltale blood ring when I candled on day 7. I left it in there though just because I wanted to make sure I was right. Upon final candling on Day 17/18, the egg was still bad so I removed it then.

    Hope this helps.

  6. crazy chook

    crazy chook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2010
    Langwarrin, Victoria
    Leave the Broody alone, Chickens have been hatching eggs longer than we have been incubating them.

    She knows what to do and will discard any bad eggs, let her be and don't keep taking her off her nest.
  7. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

    Jun 10, 2010
    Agreed, chickens been doing this a lot longer than us.

    And if you want to candle them, you can wait till she hops off to eat and drink and dart inside.
  8. arkansaschicks

    arkansaschicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    little rock
    Hey I really like the thread you linked! Great box! My hen is just sitting on one of the nests where it is very high traffic. She gets really nasty towards every hen that walks past her to go lay their eggs. Sure wish I could build one and move her!!
    I guess what I am going to do is not disturb her. This is my 2nd black star to go broody and my first time was back the first of May. It went ok but not real well. She started sitting and I made a candling box and did it maybe 4 or 5 times. It was my first time and I really wanted to try and see all the stages. I never could really tell if any were bad or not so I did not remove any eggs from the nest. Also she did not move any out either. We had 13 eggs. Three were actually born and one died while it was being born. Out of 13 eggs 7 did not hatch. One egg got broken early on and the remaining eggs kind of had egg on them. So I don't know if that harmed them or not.
    iwas too afraid to clean them off in any way. Then out of the 6 remaining eggs 1 was rotten and 5 had baby chicks in them that look like they maybe died at 14-16 days old. I guess I am wondering if my candling the eggs and moving them around caused them to die when they were so close to being born? Could it have been the broken egg?? Now this is my other black star that has gone broody and I don't want to move them in fear I will kill them all again and I don't want another egg to explode and get egg all over the other ones either. I really do not want another bad turn out. So that is my dilemma!! Thanks for any advice!!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by