How long to wait after 21 days?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jennyo, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. Jennyo

    Jennyo Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2009
    Yesterday one chick hatched out at 21 days and today another one hatched out. There's one egg that's had a little hole in it all day, with not much progress, and one egg that we discovered out from underneath her and cold. She's still sitting on 2 eggs. My questions are:

    1) How many days after 21 days do you leave before you/mother hen decides that it's a lost cause?
    2) If the egg has been left to go cold does that mean that she knows it's not viable, or should we keep it warm ourselves?
    3) Does she have to be sitting on the egg for it to hatch, or once the chick starts breaking the shell does it not matter if she's no longer sitting on it?

    The new chicks don't appear to be eating (unless they do so when we're not around). We've left chick crumbs and water where they can get to them. Will they just eventually work out what they're mean to be doing? There are some tiny poops so I assume that something has gone through their system!

    Thanks for any advice... we're new to all this! [​IMG]
  2. okiedrifter

    okiedrifter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2011
    Mom knows what she is doing most of the time....get that cold egg out of there it could be a stink bomb....she will stay with the one till she knows it isnt any good....the others have enough food in their egg sack to last them 3 days or so so dont worry
  3. Lifetime chicken lover

    Lifetime chicken lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2009
    Rogers, MN
    I'm with Okiedrifter- mama knows what she's doing. I've read that once she takes the babies out of the nest the first time, she's done with the eggs.
  4. Rhondax6

    Rhondax6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cheboygan, Michigan
    I've recently had the chance to watch it close up (in my bathroom in a guinea pig cage [​IMG] ). One out of three hatched. Mom waited almost 2 days then abandoned the other eggs. I don't think she knows if the eggs are bad or not, I just think she knows the other one has to eat and her job changes from egg sitter to good mommy.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The chick absorbs the yolk before it hatches so it can go a few days without food or water. That's why they can be shipped in the mail. Don't worry about that part. Having food and water nearby is not a bad thing, just make sure it is a waterer where the chicks cannot drown either by design or put some marbles in it so there is not any room for them. But food and water nearby is not required.

    When will a hen abandon the nest? When she is ready. I don't know what triggers it. I've had some stay over 2 days from the first hatch and I've had some leave in less than 24 hours. I've had hens leave viable eggs behind, even when they had pipped. I've had hens stay on the nest for quite a while after all the eggs were hatched. I don't find chickens to be very consistent in much of anything, including broody behavior.

    I've had viable eggs get accidently kicked out of a nest. I put them back in and they hatched. Just because an egg is out of the nest does not mean she specifically rejected it. I'd suggest you sniff it to see if it smells bad. If it smells OK, mark it and put it back, even if it is cold. If it shows up on the floor again, then reject it.

    But mainly, just let Mama decide when she wants to come off.
  6. Jennyo

    Jennyo Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2009
    Thanks so much for all the advice. Marking the cold egg and putting it back is a good idea. We helped one chick out of the shell (a neighbour who'd worked on a chicken farm suggested it) as it was taking an age to get anywhere, and it's a very poorly little chick - very bedraggled looking and half dead. So we've dried it off, brought it inside and put it under a lamp. It's still breathing, but I don't know how long for...

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