How long to leave unhatched eggs under a broody when 1 egg has hatched?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Sionnach Dhu, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Sionnach Dhu

    Sionnach Dhu Out Of The Brooder

    I have a question for those more experienced than me with hatching eggs under a broody... this is really long, sorry!

    I've only hatched eggs once before - two years ago, I let one of my Polish hens keep 6 eggs she hid behind a nest box. Unfortunately, my frequently-broody Buff Orpington decided she wanted to sit on them as well, and they somehow managed to break all but 2 of them in the first week or so. Both eggs pipped, but one chick never made it out of the shell.
    I have small pen inside my larger chicken run that I use for introducing new flock members, so I moved the sole survivor and Mama Dhu (the black Polish) into it and she successfully raised him to maturity.

    So...
    A month ago, we had a freak snow storm that started out very wet, then turned to rain. A huge clump of the resulting slush slid off the barn roof, then froze hard in front of the access door to the chicken house, so I didn't collect eggs for a few days.
    So of course when it got warm enough to clear the door, I found Mama Buff sitting on 23 eggs. (She's a big fat hen, and the rest of the flock lays relatively small eggs.)
    I took away most of them, but left her 8, which I marked. She's super friendly and doesn't peck or bite even when she's sitting, so every couple of days I lifted her off & took away any unmarked ones that showed up. I didn't candle the eggs since I don't routinely do it & didn't have a setup for it.

    A week and a half ago, I found her sitting in the wrong nest box, on eggs that had been laid earlier the same day. The eggs she was supposed to be sitting on were cold, but it was a warm day. I moved her back to the correct nest & she stayed there.
    Two days later, I found she had 9 eggs but 2 of them were unmarked... and 1 of them had yolk and blood on it. I searched the nest and found the partial remains of a chick; clearly somebody else had managed to break its egg in the process of laying her own.
    At that point, I picked up the nest box with hen, remaining 7 eggs, and all, and moved it into the baby pen. She was unperturbed and went on sitting. Based on when I first found her sitting on the eggs, 21 days would have been this past Thursday... nothing happened. I decided to wait until Saturday (yesterday), then remove the eggs.

    Yesterday morning, I went in to take away the eggs, and the first one I picked up PEEPED at me. None of the others seemed to be making a sound, but I left them all alone. Yesterday evening, that one egg pipped, and a couple of hours ago I found a still-damp, very small baby under Mama B.
    So, at the end of this much too long story, the question is - should I leave the other eggs for another 24 hours or so, or just take them away now?
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It can't hurt to leave them.
     
  3. Blueoriental

    Blueoriental Just Hatched

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    Hi everyone! I need some advice please. Today is day 22 of 10 incubated egg. At 4am two eggs pipped. One hatched lovely, the other was stillborn[​IMG]The other 8 are unpipped? So poor little Billy no mates is now under the brooder on his own, will he be ok? Do you think my other eggs will pip? Oh the worry of a first time chicker[​IMG]
     
  4. Sionnach Dhu

    Sionnach Dhu Out Of The Brooder

    Updating:
    About an hour ago, I went down to put a small feeder with medicated chick crumble and a baby-chick safe waterer in the pen where the broody is. Took a quick look, and another egg has started to pip, 16 hours after the first one started. Thinking about it, there was a three-day period I didn't collect eggs, then found her sitting on a huge clutch which had been laid over the course of those three days by several hens, so if she started on day one or two, it's entirely possible some of what she's sitting on were laid on day two or day three. :p
     
  5. Blueoriental

    Blueoriental Just Hatched

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    Oh thank you! There's hope for mine yet[​IMG]I bought mine over the Internet so they may not of been collected at once. My one and only chick that has hatched it chirping really loudly, I think it's lonely[​IMG]
     
  6. Sionnach Dhu

    Sionnach Dhu Out Of The Brooder


    Thing is though, when they were *collected* shouldn't really matter. What matters is when they start to be incubated, which is either when the broody hen starts sitting on them continuously, or when they're put in the mechanical incubator. In my case, there's a strong possibility some of the eggs were put in the nest by other hens a day or two *after* Mama Buff started sitting... same thing as if you'd put some eggs into incubator on a Saturday, then somebody came along and added more on Sunday, then more on Monday.
    And again, I have the complication that she did let them get cold once, so some of the chicks may be dead OR it may have slowed their development. Last but not least, it's also occurred to me that mine may vary depending on breed; the one that hatched early was laid by my Australorp, whereas all the others are Polish or Easter Egger eggs. (IOW, I let her keep several eggs that will be crossbreeds if they hatch and survive; my rooster's a Polish.)

    Having said that, though, I've also read that it's not all that unusual for mechanically incubated eggs to hatch at slightly different times even when they're all started at once. I think there's some info about it in "Learning Center" section of this site.
    Here's hoping the rest of your eggs are just slow!!

    Editing to add... poor little guy probably is a bit lonely, but the one that's sitting under Mama AND the one that's still hatching (it had "zipped" a couple hours ago) are being noisy as heck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  7. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed
     
  8. Sionnach Dhu

    Sionnach Dhu Out Of The Brooder

    Sadly, when I checked on Mama just before sundown last night, the second chick was out at the edge of the nest box and was dead. I'm assuming it died & then she pushed it away. Haven't checked yet today to see if there's been any more action....
     
  9. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good luck.
     
  10. Blueoriental

    Blueoriental Just Hatched

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    Oh poor little thing. Well only one of mine hatched, so today I had to buy him a buddy from the farm shop. I will try again, the only thing I can think of is that the eggs weren't fertile,when I bought them. [​IMG]
     

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