How long can fertile eggs last without being incubated?? Please help!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by CAranchgirl, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. CAranchgirl

    CAranchgirl In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2009
    Just suffered a big tragedy with our flock. Our house is being painted and one of the painters left a gate open, letting one of our neighbor's dog into the chicken area. We had 15 killed and were pretty devastated.

    Instead of refrigerating their most recent eggs, I have kept them out in hopes that one of our 12 hens left will go broody. (don't have an incubator, have always used broody hens). . We really want to hatch some babies from the hens we lost to remember them. How long do I have before the eggs are no longer viable and won't hatch? This happened on Thursday 4/2. Also, is there a way to encourage our hens to go broody? It usually just happens when we don't collect the eggs....

    Thank you so much for your help.
  2. shortcake1806

    shortcake1806 Sassy McSassington

    Sep 11, 2007
    First I'm so sorry to hear about your girls. They'll keep well for about 10 days after that fertility starts to drop. However I've hatched eggs older than 10 days with pretty good results.
  3. TheDuckCrew

    TheDuckCrew Songster

    Feb 21, 2009
    well after about 7 days, the hatchability goes down, but you could always put the older eggs in the incubator/under the hen as well. remember that hens lay many eggs before they sit. i'm putting 15 duck eggs in the bator as soon as i stabilize the temp, and we only have one laying hen. so a lot of those will be old, but its worth a shot.

    ETA:i am sooo sorry about your chickens. hopefully their little fuzzybutts will be just like them. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  4. gabrielle1976

    gabrielle1976 Crowing

    Feb 21, 2009
    Columbia river gorge
    I say go buy a little bator from youre farm supply store and pop them in there and work on getting a hen to cuoperate with you then you can put some or all the eggs int eh bator with the chicken/s . I know nothing of broodies so I cant help there but if you want to have chicks from them you have about 7-10 for optimal hatchablity anything after that is possible but with a grater and grater chance of not hatching. good luck
  5. cowman910

    cowman910 Songster

    Feb 1, 2009
    Suffolk County,NY
    you can put golfballs or smooth stones under the hen and she will set on them
  6. kybukabu

    kybukabu In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2007
    Stateline NC-VA
    After three years, I've finally adjusted to losing one unlucky chicken once in a while -- But I am so sorry for the loss of your fifteen birds. That's horrible.

    On Hatchability: I'm sure it might depend on the species and the breed, but my Mallard Duck, Aramis, laid and hatched 19 little fuzzy ducks last year. She only laid one per day - for 19 days!- but she did cover them pretty well with the pine shavings until she decided to set. And frankly, that was in March with lows of 30 at night.

    Maybe a brand new incubator would really be the way to go?? If you lived in Northeastern North Carolina, I could loan you a Silkie. They'll set on anything! Other chickens' eggs, duck eggs... rocks. [​IMG]

    The best of luck to you.
  7. CAranchgirl

    CAranchgirl In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2009
    Thanks so much everyone for the warn wishes and advice. It really was unbelieable when I realized how many we had lost.

    kybukabu, I would definitely take up your offer to borrow a silkie, unfortunately I'm in Southern CA! I guess maybe I can try to get an incubator...just a little apprehensive because I don't know ANYTHING about them. We've had chickens for ten years and always had broody hens. But it would be so nice to memorialize the ones we lost with their babies. Sounds like if I'm lucky the eggs can last two weeks...I did have a Polish hatch 15 chicks last spring but I wasn't sure if she was the only one laying on the nest.

    Thanks again everyone!
  8. karlyla

    karlyla Chirping

    May 17, 2013
    i had the save indecent as you[​IMG] my rooster was killed along with 6 hens due to a dog attack. our hens are use to people so did not try to run when the dog cam over. any way, when the rooster died no hens were broody, but about 2-3 weeks later my hen has gone broody. I did not collect the eggs encase there was a chance of the hen to go broody.

    do I have any chance at all out of 10 eggs for a chick to hatch? even a possibility? [​IMG]

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