Hen sitting on 7 fertile eggs!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mandamay28, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. mandamay28

    mandamay28 Chirping

    Apr 20, 2016
    I have a cochin who went broody. I called a friend who had eggs so I get 7 of them. I gave them to her Friday Dec. 23. I candled them today, after 3 full days. It looks like 4 of them are have babies inside :) The other 3 I don't see anything but I think I should wait until day 7 to check them again. Is that safe or am i risking a rotten egg to break in that time? This is our first time hatching eggs and we are super excited!!
    Here is the video from the canceling this morning... My daughter fumbled one of the fertile ones but it only dropped an inch or so onto thick hay. oops...[​IMG]

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You can get scared to death on here by people telling you what might possibly happen. It is not that simple, there are some if’s involved, but there can be a big difference in what might possibly happen versus what normally does. Where to start?

    I never candle eggs under a broody hen. In the incubator I normally candle eggs at 7 days and when I put them in lockdown. I never remove eggs at 7 days, I just am curious. Even with my colored eggs, at 18 days I can tell which are clear and which have a chance so I remove the clear ones. When I candle I’m not looking for eggs that might explode, I’m looking for eggs that are developing.

    The problem with eggs going bad is not age or that you are incubating them. The problem is that bacteria gets inside and starts multiplying. The inside of the egg is the perfect food for bacteria to eat, a lot of scientists use eggs to culture bacteria. Incubation temperature is the perfect temperature for bacteria to multiply. If bacteria do get inside the egg will go bad.

    About the last thing a hen does when she lays an egg is put a coating on it that we call “bloom”. This is why a freshly laid egg looks wet, it is. But it quickly dries and forms a barrier that allows the egg to breathe but is really good at keeping bacteria out. If the egg is dirty, has poop or mud on it, the bloom can be compromised, a way the bacteria can get inside has been created. If you wash the eggs or sandpaper them to clean them, the bloom has been compromised. If you set clean unwashed eggs they are usually really good at resisting bacteria.

    If your incubator is dirty, you did not clean it out well after the last hatch, it could easily have bacteria in it. That is not good, it’s a potential source of infection.

    Most hatcheries do wash their eggs in a special solution. They don’t want to put a dirty egg in there that can put all the other eggs at risk. They also go to great pains to sanitize, sterilize, fumigate, and generally clean their equipment between hatches and are very careful about sanitation during incubation and hatching.

    In all the years I’ve been incubating I’ve had one egg go bad in the incubator. That was a dirty egg I knew I should not set but I wanted a chick from that particular hen. I did not find that by candling, I found it by smell. That rotten egg smell is not very subtle. It’s really clear.

    If you set clean unwashed eggs in a clean incubator and keep your hands clean when handling the eggs you don’t have much to worry about. If you set dirty or washed eggs in a dirty incubator you are more at risk. Instead of relying on candling, rely on smell. In my opinion that’s a lot more helpful.

    I understand you are using a broody hen and not an incubator. Good, my broody hens usually do better than my incubator. All that above will give you the basics but frankly I forgot you were using a broody hen but I’m not retyping all that.

    A lot of the same stuff still applies. Broody hens know not to poop in the nest so the eggs are likely to stay pretty clean. The broody hen’s nest is not as sanitary as a sterilized incubator but the hen does coat the eggs with oil from her feathers as she sits on them and turns them. That oil helps repel bacteria. As long as you have not done something to remove the bloom and the eggs are pretty clean it’s not a concern. By clean I don’t mean a light smudge or dirt or even poop, though I don’t like poop. I’m talking about an egg that has a glob on it. But the cleaner the better.

    If an egg breaks under a broody hen that is another situation. The raw egg gets on the other eggs and coats the broody hen’s feathers. That is an infection source. If that happens just toss the eggs, clean out the nest, and wash the hen’s feathers. You can either get her fresh eggs or break her from being broody. If she is a day or two away from hatching you can try to let her go, but any longer than that you will probably wind up with a nest full of rotten eggs. Not very pleasant.

    This is where candling before you set the eggs under a broody can help. I’ve had eggs break under a broody and in a regular nest. Broody hens and hens laying eggs walk on the eggs and laying hens often scratch around in the nest. If the egg shell is really thin a toenail can poke right through. It doesn’t take much for those thin shelled eggs to break. If you candle the eggs before you start and do not set any that have a lot of porosity you can minimize this risk. Pretty much any broken egg I’ve found in a nest had a really thin shell.

    As I said I never candle eggs under a broody. While I probably should, I don’t candle them before I set them either. As long as you did not compromise the bloom I really like your odds of a good hatch under a broody, whether you candle or not. With a kid, candling is a great experience, letting them watch the chick grow in the egg.

    Good luck! Here’s hoping for a great hatch.
    2 people like this.

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