How can I candle the eggs if my broody hen is on top of them?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by amyamanda, May 18, 2008.

  1. amyamanda

    amyamanda Hatching

    May 18, 2008
    I'm new here, and new to chickens. As luck would have it, we have a broody hen. She's been sitting on eggs for 10 days and I'd like to candle them. She's in a wire dog crate right now, for her own protection - the other hens were pecking her face bloody because she was taking up the "favorite" nesting box with her broodiness! So she and her nest are a little hard for me to get at, but I'm going to try. I read that you have to candle in the dark, so nighttime...but she's on top of the eggs all but a little while in morning and evening. I don't want to disturb her too much, but I do want to candle the eggs. Any suggestions on how to manage this?

    She's continued laying since she started setting, and I'd like to cull out the dead or infertile/too-young eggs in the clutch. She has had eggs from other hens under her for 10 days also, so I assume those will probably hatch, but it sounds like once the first chicks are born the mother hen abandons sitting (is this true?)

    I guess I have a lot to learn. Thanks for any suggestions you can give! I have several chicken books, but the info on broody hens is only very basic. Thanks.

    - Amanda in VT
  2. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    Stick your hand on under there.... [​IMG]

    The first egg is difficult to GET, but once you get one, candle it, put it back on one side of the chicken, and while she's busy tucking it back in - stick your hand in the other side and grab another one or two..... mark the eggs with numbers or something so you know when you've done them all...

  3. amyamanda

    amyamanda Hatching

    May 18, 2008
    Thanks, I did it! I actually stole the eggs (she just picked up and walked off and clucked a bit, got some water, etc while I was stealing them) and took them inside to candle. Apparently my flashlight wasn't bright enough, because there was no chance of seeing red lines or pulsation or anything, but my kids swear they saw a moving black blob in about ten of the 13 eggs. I sort of saw it, too. It was around the size of a regular yolk or a bit bigger, sort of moving all around the egg. Looked a little like a shadow in front of a flickering light, but the light was steady so it had to be moving itself. Does that sound right? I marked those and put them all back under her because I just wasn't sure. LOL.

    The araucana egg seemed entirely dark - is this because it's an araucana, or because it's probably dead? So hard to see clearly. We were in a dark room and used a toilet paper tube between the flashlight and the egg. I think now we'll just wait 11 days and see what happens!

    How long do you wait to see how many eggs hatch, before discarding the unhatched eggs? Is it possible to try to continue incubating the unhatched ones ourselves if Broody gives up on them once the other chicks hatch?

    Thanks for the info and encouragement.

    - Amanda in VT
  4. Eggseronious

    Eggseronious Songster

    Mar 6, 2008
    East Tennessee
    I would never candle eggs that are under a hen. She is the "Master Candler" when they are bad she will know and kick the bad ones out. [​IMG] You run a risk of contamination from the oil off of your hands and could carry bacteria to the egg. This is like saying "stay out of the incubator" quote that most say. Not to mention the risk of getting a real whipping from a mad hen. [​IMG]

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