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How long can fertile chicken eggs keep before putting them in the incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by newbiechickie, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. newbiechickie

    newbiechickie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2013
    My incubator is full and I am still getting approximately 3 eggs daily. How long can I keep the eggs that I am gathering before putting them in the incubator. The eggs are from feather-footed bantams. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Emma14

    Emma14 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2013
    hatchiblity holds up to day 7. After that the chances of the egg hatching is greatly reduced. by day 14 hatchibility will be about 50%. It's also important to store the eggs with the pointy end facing down.
     
  3. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I set 10- 12 day old eggs, 9 days ago and I have stuff going on in them! :) But I would't recommend that! I think Emma up there has it right!!
     
  4. RooRidgeFarm

    RooRidgeFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This may not be popular to most on BYC but....
    I have incubated eggs up to a MONTH old. And gotten very good hatch rate on them.
    Yes, it appears that better results would come from 'fresh' eggs no more than 14 days old, but that has not been my experience. I tend to be 'no guts, no glory' when it comes to hatching. If I am incubating to increase a particular breed, more often than not I will try the eggs up to a month old as long as they are clean, stored pointy end down, cool, not too cold or too warm, amd I even will include a dampened cloth or paper towel in the styro egg storage container to keep the eggs from dehydrating.

    What led me to the conclusion that eggs could be incubated a month after being laid is this:
    Years ago, I had a wonderful, constantly broody gamehen that would collect and hide eggs until she was ready to sit. I had some chicks hatch from one of her sneaky stashes and the rooster and hen parents of a different breed had been looong gone (sold as a pair). Examining the shells showed that several eggs had been in her stash awhile and they were the shape, size and color of the pair that I had let go.
    So, I decided, that if a hen could save eggs in the outdoors for that amount of time, AND hatch them successfully, then I guessed that I might be able to also.

    A note also, my hens loved stashing the eggs outdoors when they freeranged, and the eggs went through temp changes, high and low humidity, and even had surface soil, but they still managed to hatch all chicks successfully with no casualties.

    That has been my experience. I am always willing to give a try regardless of egg age, as long as the air cell is intact, it has no major soiling, has been stored to the best of my ability
     
    2 people like this.
  5. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 24, 2012
    The coop
    :goodpost:
     
  6. RooRidgeFarm

    RooRidgeFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Candling regularly is your best friend when incubating older eggs. It's always good to check development and remove any that aren't progressing so they don't foul the incubator.
    You should also pencil the older ones with the date or a symbol, so you can keep an eye on those particular eggs by candling more.
     
  7. newbiechickie

    newbiechickie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2013
    Thank you all so much! I have not had the best of luck for some reason on my hatching rate. I have set over 50 eggs and only had 5 hatch, many of the others were fully formed but died in the egg. I have a little giant still air incubator. I am not sure what I am doing wrong on this side either. I turn them 2 or 3 times a day and keep the trays full of warm water and also have a consistent temperature of 99.5.
     
  8. RooRidgeFarm

    RooRidgeFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi newbiechickie,
    It sounds like you are doing it right. What you may want to consider is the actual fertility.How many hens per rooster? And, when you candle the eggs ( at least by day 7) are they all showing veins and embryos?
    Lastly, and most importantly...have the adults been tested for illness? Many poultry diseases can cause fertility problems, and death of the embryo-early death or death around day 18ish. Past exposure to illness can affect reproduction in the bird and viability of the egg/embryo. You can't 'see' viruses, bacteria etc. Even if they have never had symptoms, they could have had past exposure and be carriers of disease. I am not trying to scare you-it's just a reality that may be a genuine factor in your case.
     
  9. newbiechickie

    newbiechickie Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 17, 2013
    Thank you RooRidgeFarm, I have 3 hens to 1 rooster ratio (this is all the chickens I have) my family and I have just started raising baby chicks in the last 2 months. I have done a ton of research on everything trying to get things right with the incubation and hatching. I never even thought the hens/rooster could be my problem, I was leaning toward something wrong with the bator. I did however have a baby chick hatch last night and it didn't seem like it was doing the best, it wouldn't get up and move around and just laid on its side for hours. I finally gave up and went to bed and figured by morning it would be dead, but when I came in to check on it this morning it was happy and moving around the bator just fine, and another one hatched about 15 minutes ago and is already trying to stand.
     
  10. nathan1162

    nathan1162 New Egg

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    I just ordered a Hova Bator with egg turner, that's how new I am to chickens. My question for newbiechick would be are you manually turning the eggs or having a automatic turner do it? Seems I remember a story about a husband that couldn't keep his hands off and the success rate was pretty much non existent on the first batch until he was banned from even looking at the bator for the second try.

    I am happy to have the answer to my own newbie quandary on how long a fertile egg will last, thanks to this forum. This passage of wisdom is greatly appreciated as I attempt to create a Hobby/Part Time Business for fun, food and $$$.

    I am really surprised how difficult it is to acquire chickens in my area, so maybe I can help meet demand with the help of you old timers. I'm leaving a neighborhood with houses stacked on one another to a humble house (total rehab) with an acre of land and surrounded by farmland to give chickens a try.

    I'm also looking forward to watching the wildlife that frequent the property on night vision surveillance. I get feral hogs that come through regularly, so I figured some saugage would go good with eggs.

    Thanks to all that share their wisdom and quandaries.

    Nathan
     

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