How long to wait?

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

  1. ixnay

    ixnay Out Of The Brooder

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    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

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    Mar 25, 2008
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    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 Chicken Obsessed

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    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.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-candling.html
     
  4. chickencrazymom

    chickencrazymom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 24, 2009
    Parsonsfield,ME.
    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

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    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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