How cold is too cold to try to collect eggs to incubate?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Life is Good!, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Santa brought me an incubator - and while I said I'd wait until mid Feb to start collecting eggs, I may not have that element of time on my side.

    My rooster is a jerk. Plain and simple. The hens do not want to be near him, period. He's a bully and doesn't treat them as nicely as their former rooster. If I place treats in the run, he eats them - never offers a piece to any hen! He does call them to tell them the treats are there - with his mouth full! In the morning, when I open the pop door, he comes right out - and it takes the hens about 3min to decide whether or not to come out with him. The hens were here first, (with a different rooster), so it's not characteristic of them to not want to come out.

    So...I'm thinking of gathering eggs to hatch out to replace him. But it's northern Illinois, with temps ranging from 20 to 45. The eggs are typically VERY cold when I gather them - no matter when they were laid! I've been right there with the egg song in full force, and the egg, freshly laid, is still quite cold to the hand.

    How cold is too cold? I'll leave them on the counter before incubating - to gather enough for a hatch. Anyone know?

    BTW, our Black Java's haven't yet slowed down in their laying capacity. From 5 hens, I'm gathering 3-4 eggs per day. Year round. I adore this breed!
     
  2. HeyLady

    HeyLady Out Of The Brooder

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    We are having about the same temps here. It is strange to me that a freshly laid egg could be cold to the touch, as when we get them straight from the hen, they are quite warm. One cracked on my hubby on the way back to the house, and he screamed that he had "Yucky warm egg" on his hands. lol

    Anyway, I'm sorry I can't answer your question. I've wondered this also. But I do have a point to think on. If he is your only roo right now, then the young roos you want to replace him with would be his offspring and perhaps just as likely to be unkind to the hens. Perhaps not, but just a thought.
     
  3. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]I wonder that as well but it is an inexpensive way to replace a roo (by hatching your own). I was also wondering about breeding back the hatched roo to (possibly) his mother? What is the feeling on that with chickens?

    I am not a hatching expert but my guess would be the warmer the better but if they were not frozen then they would still be viable. Just my guess.[​IMG]
     
  4. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you can collect as soon as possible after they are laid and let them sit next to incubator to warm up to room temp before they go in the incubator - they should be fine. I know of breeders that ship and sell hatching eggs all winter. If you are going to collect for a few days before you set them? The perfect storage temp is 60-65 degs (i use my basement) and turn 3x a day. Good Luck

    You might want to try pine shavings in the nesting box as it will help insulate the eggs. I switched from straw and my hens boxes now are staying very clean.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too switched to pine shavings in the nesting boxes, and while the eggs are generally as clean as they were with straw - the muddy feet don't help with clean eggs! We don't have any snow to speak of - and for a long while, the ground wasn't actually frozen (a week prior to Christmas the ground finally froze). Which means we had muddy eggs, not poopy, just muddy. Still not something I'd incubate!
     
  6. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know what you mean. Our snow is soon to melt and then rain for the next several days after, then freezing again. Ugh! That means ice everywhere [​IMG]
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Personally, I wouldn't want his babies. Roosters are so easy to come by, why perpetuate bad genes?

    That said, I know folks hatch out refridgerated eggs all the time, so I think if you just collect them daily, before nightfall, you'd be fine.
     
  8. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    There is a whole thread in the incubating section about people hatching Trader Joe eggs. If they'll hatch (refrigerated and in the store for a while) yours should be just fine. I got the itch to get my bator out last night, and had put all my eggs in the fridge, but I'm gonna give it a shot anyhow. I also agree, I would NOT keep any offspring from the jerk roo. There ARE TONS of sweet natured boys out there, and those genetics aren't worth passing on, IMO. Good luck with your new adventure, I love my incubator, so much fun!
    Nikki
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  9. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hoping to incubate to add some extra girls to the flock...would the roo's bad attitude be transferred to pullets?

    I've ended up with a nearly blind pullet (fox attack) and one who was hurt in the altercation with the fox somehow (developed a limp that is persistent). So I'm looking at building a 'retirement' coop for those sista's who need special care. Not yet willing to cull either girl - both are consistent producers. But need to get them out of the general flock so they are better protected from being picked on.
     
  10. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hen from him will probably be fine. You could use a dog crate temporarily so the injured hens aren't picked on.
     

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