Help Please! Momma Hen Abandoned Her Eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jprice86, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    Hi All,

    About a week and a half ago, one of our hens went missing. Well yesterday our pipes froze under the house because its been so cold and, when we went to fix the leak, we found momma hen under the house sitting on 17 eggs. We had to relocate her so that we could correctly fix the broken pipe and prevent further damage. We moved her after dark into a crate and took her and the nest up to the coop and then we went to go get parts for the busted pipe and when we came back home, we found the eggs abandoned and her up roosting with the other hens. I moved the eggs inside by the fire to try to warm them up but they got very cold. I candled the eggs and all of them are fertile so I am hoping that I will be able to save the little guys. Is there any hope for them after having gotten that cold for an hour or so? It was 20 deg outside when we got home. I don't have an incubator (we have always just let the hens do the work) but I monitored there temperature overnight and they kept about 95 deg (as warm as I had the means to keep them) all night long.

    I am not very hopeful that these guys are going to make it but I couldn't let them go without at least giving it a shot. After this little fiasco, we are definitely putting getting an incubator very high on the priority list. Any input would be much appreciated.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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  3. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    I am no expert at candling but it seems to me like the eggs are between like 3 days and 10 days. These are the first eggs that I've attempted to candle though. Am I to take it from the article that ChickenCanoe posted that young eggs like this are better to be refrigerated until we can find an incubator? My fiance thinks that his dad might have one that we can use. If there's still hope for them I'd like to do everything in my power to save as many as we can.
     
  4. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    BTW...my estimation on how old the eggs are is also based on the fact that momma hen had been missing for about a week and a half. My fiance counts the chickens every night when he closes up the coop so that should be an accurate estimate.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That means they are 10 days or so into incubation. That would have begun the first night she didn't come home.

    That is the way I read the research. I think at your ambient temperature, it would be ok to leave them until you can incubate but not at ambient temps. You definitely don't want them to freeze. They'd be goners then. Now that you've heated them back up, keep them warm.
     
  6. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    What worried me about that article was the risk of deformities at higher temperatures under the ideal temp. I think it said the range for that was in the 80-95 deg range. Honestly, I think that I would rather they not hatch then hatch chicks that will have a life-long deformity. We free-range all of our chickens and it can be a rough world outside. We don't have the means or the desire to keep any chickens as true pets (although ours still follow us around like dogs....which I love). If my fiance's dad has an incubator, then we will be able to have them incubated in an hour or so. That will mean that they will have spent an hour or 2 in freezing temps (but I don't think that they would have started to form ice crystals that quick) and then 18 (ish) hours at about 95 deg or so. Does anyone have any experience with that kind of time range at that temperature and how well the chicks fared?
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    They should be fine if only a couple days in the range of disproportional development. Those embryos wouldn't survive anyway. Just don't let them get to 104F.
     
  8. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    I am so happy for the hopeful news. My fiance didn't want me to fuss with them at all. He said they were dead when I brought them inside but I decided to try until I could get any more information. Is there a way to tell if they are still alive? Like can you see a heartbeat in their veins or movement or anything?
     
  9. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    I'm so excited. We found a loaner incubator. I am excited to see how the little chicks do. I've always wanted to try raising some from eggs...maybe this will be my first chance.
     
  10. jprice86

    jprice86 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2015
    So night before last I went home and candled the eggs again before putting them into the incubator and I saw definite movement in 10 of the eggs. 2 I believe are dead but I will give them a couple more days because I am not very confident in my abilities with this and I'd hate to mistakenly identify one as dead. The rest of them are so new in development that I'm not sure that movement would be visible even if they were alive so I will check them in a couple of days and see if they've developed at all before removing them. ChickenCanoe-Thanks for the advice and input. I thought for sure that these little dudes were goners but it looks like at least some of them are going to pull through! I am so excited to raise my first chicks inside! Now we are focusing on the brooder and hopefully in a week or so we will see the first little guys breaking the shell!
     

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