How long to wait?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ixnay, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. ixnay

    ixnay Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2008
    Bridgton, Maine
    My broody hen started a clutch (eggs collected from the various hens) on 8/25. I expected chicks on 9/15, but when I got home from a trip on 9/14, two had hatched already! Now I have 5 chicks, and 5 unhatched eggs - by my count, it is day 23. The chicks have food and water, and seem to be fine.

    So - how long should I wait before removing the unhatched eggs as "duds"? Of course I did nothing so sensible as marking eggs - I don't have a candler, just held up a few of the eggs to a bright light (with my hand to block off an area). I would hate to kill any by opening prematurely.

    Thanks for any and all advice.
  2. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Has the hen left the nest yet? My hens always let me know when they are done by leaving their nests. If not, give it a few days more and if you can get a bright flashlight, candle them to see if there is anything in the eggs.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I agree with Gumpsgirl. Mama should tell you. This link shows how to make a candler. A toilet paper roll with a flashlight duct-taped under it can work. Just be sure to secure whatever you use so it is steady.
  4. chickencrazymom

    chickencrazymom Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2009
    My hen hatched out 4 chicks , and then decided to leave the nest, there were about a doxen eggs left ! I borrowed an incubator and three more hatched out !I feel good that I was able to give these chicks a chance at life ! They are 13 wks. old now, and I have 2 hens and one rooster !
  5. ixnay

    ixnay Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 19, 2008
    Bridgton, Maine
    Thanks for all the advice. I did manage to get a pretty good look at each egg, and none of them looked like something about to hatch. So, I opened them up, 4 had clearly failed to develop beyond a few days, the 5th actually looked like a pretty normal chick, but only about halfway along - nice red blood vessels, and the usual parts, etc. It may be that one of the other hens snuck an egg in and I didn't catch on in time - I didn't isolate momma bird. It gets hard to count eggs under a broody hen!

    So: now I have a better idea of what I'm looking at, even with my makeshift candling. Resolved for the next brood: make a candler, mark the eggs. This is all practice for if I decide to get involved in breeding - the current bunch are the offspring of an EE roo and various laying breeds - pretty cute, all the chicks are dark (black/brown/mottled).

    Again, thanks.

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