Infertile eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Delighted, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Delighted

    Delighted Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 13, 2010
    This is the second time I've tried to hatch eggs from my own chickens. I've had great success with other people's eggs, but not my own. With my first batch (Of my own chicken's eggs) I set about 35. Day 14 candling showed 25 clear eggs, and 10 that were beyond clear, but "iffy" as to whether anything was growing in them. Only one had a true solid mass that looked like it was moving. Day 19 lockdown, that one egg pipped alomost immediately--and dried up and died in the shell. [​IMG]

    This batch, I forgot to write down the date I set them, but it's 21 days sometime this week. I candled them, and again, mostly clears, with about 9 that have a tiny bit of mass, but they don't look like they're moving-- and really doesn't even resemble a chick. I didn't do lockdown, in case we need a few more days--I will candle again Friday and see--I just tossed the clear ones.

    I'm thinking I'm the one doing something wrong with the incubator, since twice, I've had broodies hatch some chicks. With my big chickens, you can tell the roo is active, as the poor hens have a lot of lost feathers. On the other hand, I'm not so sure my bantams are breeding. In the buff brahma pen, there are two hens, a rooster, and a cockerel (We'd thought he was also a hen) The adult roo has really, really long spurs, and I'm wondering if he actually is hindered from mating with the girls. Their backs are nice and full/thick, and I'd think their backs would really be torn up with those spurs if he were mounting them. The roo is at most 2 years, and the hens are 1 year.

    The OEGs also frequently have clear eggs after 21 days, although both in this batch and last batch there was a bit of mass in some of them--they weren't all clear. Again, might be a nail/claw problem. This time in one of the hens, her claws are pretty long and she walks a bit bow-legged because of them. We don't know how to clip-- and definitely don't know what to do with the spurs on the males. These hens lay fairly regular, but we don't know their age-- they were given to us--supposedly, they are less than 2 years. The males, we hatched out and they are 1 year.

    All of our hens went through a stage where we were only getting about 4 eggs a day from 21 laying-age hens. That was a feed problem. We were mixing scratch with their feed. (Neighbor's idea, who co-owns the birds, and is the one who picks up the feed) After asking here, we learned-- and convinced him they need layer pellets ONLY, and egg production has gone up a whole lot. The neighbor still believes the roosters need nothing but the mixed grains--it's the 15 grain mix from southern states--hopefully it's nutritious enough. Any rooster that lives with hens gets layer pellets with the hens, the "single" roos and the young mixed birds get the 15 grain mix. Not my choice, but the neighbor wants it that way. Thankfully, he listens to me if I come back from here, telling him what I've learned from you all, (most of the time). They used to free-range, but don't very often anymore unless we can be outside. Too many people leave their dogs running free, and we've lost too many chickens to those darn dogs. (Yes, we'd SSS, if we had a gun-- the neighbor does, but he works long hours)

    So, is the low fertility a feed issue? a free range issue? In the pen with the big chickens, there are two mature roos as well as two other cockerels to 24 hens and pullets. (about 10 of them are laying-- maybe more) In the Brahmas, there are two hens, a cockerel and a roo, and the hens are poor layers--one egg about every other day. The OEGs live in cages about 3' cube size. (I don't like the cage thing, but the neighbor says they're fine in there since they're so tiny--shrug) They're nasty lil things--mean! LOL! I'd sell 'em in a heartbeat, but feel it would be dishonest at this point since they don't lay fertile eggs.

    I'm a bit concerned about the poor rate of fertility because we have three silkie pullets to put with our silkie roos-- and we difinitely want them to be fertile! We haven't put them in together yet because they're still in their 30 day quarantine.

    As far as i can tell, all of our chickens are in good health, so I don't know why we're not getting chicks. Maybe it's the incubator, but would that make clear eggs? My thinking is they weren't ever fertile if they're clear.

    edited for spelling errors
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Regarding the batch where one made it then dried up and died: It sounds like your incubator is too hot, and not humid enough during the last few days before hatch. Too hot means they'll hatch sooner than they should, and too dry and you'll have them with huge air sacs, drying up. I can't really address the other potential problems.
  3. Delighted

    Delighted Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 13, 2010
    Thank you galanie--I wondered about the temp--I have two thermometers, but they both give me different readings--one says it's 101 degrees and the other 99. So maybe the higher one is more accurate. Also, both hydrometers read differently, so maybe I should read the lower one and up the humidity.

    Definitely would like to find out how to be sure my hens are being fertilized--I have no idea how to do that!
  4. Ceinwyn

    Ceinwyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Southeast Ohio
    Poor feed is going to greatly affect both fertility and hatchability.
    Layer ration is okay to help the hens lay but not if your goal is to have healthy chicks hatching.
    Cheapest easiest way to add animal protein if they can't free range is add some dog kibble to their laying crumbles.
    The rooster can be giving some as well as he is contributing half the genetics and needs to be healthy.
    Fish meal/blood meal and brewers yeast can be added but its more expensive.
    It seems like some of the eggs are fertile just really low rates so Im not thinking your dealing with sterility at this point.
    100% infertile eggs Id start to worry about sterile hens and/or roosters.
    Try adding the animal protein to their diet and see if that makes a difference.
  5. Delighted

    Delighted Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 13, 2010
    Ceinwyn Thank you so much! I will start with the dog food, and talk to the neighbor about the fishmeal and or brewers yeast.
    Going with those, do I use both the meal and the yeast?, or only one of the three you mentioned?

    With my big chickens, I think you're right--just low fertility, but I'm a bit concerned about the Brahmas--I'm thinking that male isn't even trying. My OEGs, When I check the yolk, I do see the bullseye in a few of the eggs, so again, I think it's low fertility, and we've just had bum luck on the hatching with them--We don't get that many eggs from them, but I have seen mass when i candle-- they just don't fully develope.

    I'm not in the least surprised it's the feed, it's taken me awhile to get the neighbor to listen to me about changing the feeds at all--he used to do only scratch for everyone. And "to save money", he buys day old white bread to supplement--yes I KNOW there's no nutritional value in that![​IMG]
  6. cmfarm

    cmfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Elgin, TX
    Just a thought-could the heat be effecting them? Heat can cause fertility problems in males.

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