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Is 21 days an estimate or hard amount?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by chickensfinally, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. chickensfinally

    chickensfinally Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2014
    Des Moines, Iowa
    I put 12 eggs under my broody at 11:30am on March 31st. I calculated Day 21 to be Wed April 20th. But it is now Fri and no chicks. When should I give up hope of those eggs and place some bought chicks under her? We did have some chaos during her setting. An opossum was in the main house so even after he was gone the main flock was wary of it and didn't want to go in for a few nights. My co-owner put them in Broody's coop and it seems as if 4 eggs may have been damaged, they are just gone. I don't want to get chicks and then have her abandon eggs that could still be viable. They are Cream Legbar mixes. What do all you wise, experienced chicken folk have to tell an only 2nd time broody chicken mama?
    Thanks in advance,
    Carrie in Des Moines, Iowa
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    It is a little variable, and disruption that kept Mom off the nest could delay hatching for a little, or possibly lead to the eggs no longer being viable. Can you candle the eggs to check for development and movement?
     
  3. chickensfinally

    chickensfinally Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2014
    Des Moines, Iowa
    I was worried about the non-viable part. I'm pretty sure she stuck tight to her nest and just had some hens sitting on her. I don't know if candling would do any good as I have never done it before, so... I could always just get chicks today, as they are closed tomorrow, and keep them in a brooder one night to see if one more day helps the eggs.
     
  4. thebulg

    thebulg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2015
    North carolina
    I think 21 days could be better thought of as the average norm. But the normal range can be from 19-23 days and it depends on a lot of things. I've read about chicks being born as late as day 25, but i haven't read anything about viable chicks born before day 19 and late on day 19. But as a rule, the cooler eggs are, the longer it takes them to hatch. If your weather has been chilly and the hens were spooked, it could take another day. Are you hearing any chirping?
     
  5. chickensfinally

    chickensfinally Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 12, 2014
    Des Moines, Iowa
    I don't hear any chirping, but my hearing's not the best and background hens and songbirds don't help :-(
     

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