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Looks like there is no need to "stop turning"

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LTygress, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    What started out as an "oops" quickly became an intentional habit.

    I have three broody hens, and lots of girls using their nests. I try to watch what eggs I actually put under the hens, so I know when a new one is laid from a different hen, and I can remove it to refrigerate it. But this isn't always possible, and sometimes they'll lay one right during the end of incubation for the rest of the eggs.

    So the moment I see momma hens hopping out of their nests with their new hatches, I collect all remaining eggs and put them in the incubator inside. I hate the thought of "killing" an egg, and it can't go to the refrigerator at that point either, because my nieces and nephews would be disgusted at a partially developed embryo in the bowl when making breakfast.

    So I incubate them and wait and see. Since I don't know exactly when these eggs were laid, and how many days the broody hens sat on them before I collected them, I often don't know when they'll hatch. And because of that, I often don't know when to remove them from the egg turner and put them on the grate in the incubator.

    But that hasn't slowed anyone down! This last time I collected three eggs from the broody hens after they moved out. All three hatched - and none of them were EVER removed from the egg turner. One of them completely surprised me because he was only in there for about a week, and he was completely quiet until he had already pushed himself out of the shell! But when I reached in to get him and put him in the brooder, the bottom of his shell was still sitting in the egg turner where I had first placed it.

    The other two I heard, but didn't have ROOM to move them out of the egg turner. They are two weeks younger than the first one.

    So I left this last batch in the egg turner on purpose. Every. Single. Fertilized. Egg. Hatched. I didn't candle them at 7 and 14 days like I usually do. When I saw the first pip, I candled them all and set the "blank" eggs aside (no development what so ever). The others that had dark spots I left in there. ALL of the ones I left in there, hatched just fine, still in the egg turner.

    While I haven't tried to experiment to see if they NEED the turner (i.e. I haven't tried to incubate them without it, for the full 21 days), I now know that removing the turner for the last 3 days of incubation actually has NO effect what so ever on them. If anything, my hatch rate was BETTER by leaving them in it, than it has been when I took them out! And more importantly, while I often got pips on the wrong end when I removed them from the turner during those last three days, I had NONE of them pip the wrong end when I left them in it.

  2. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I wouldn't try not turning at all; you'd be lucky to get any eggs to hatch if the eggs remain still for the entire 21 days. The eggs would start, but the embryos would quit during the incubation process. If you can't stand the thought of "killing" partly incubated eggs, having them die in the shell due to your neglect isn't a place you want to go, either.[​IMG]

    That continued turning doesn't upset things doesn't surprise me. I doubt that the hens quit turning them. I've had hens that kept having other hens add eggs like you said, and I removed chicks as they hatched. The hens kept on brooding, sometimes for weeks and weeks. I can't see the hen start to move the eggs and suddenly say, "Hold it! Eggbert, you've been here for 18 days; no more turning for you!"[​IMG]

    If you just enjoy hatching the chicks out (and seriously, who doesn't?) it may not matter that much to you. On the other hand, if you want to avoid the "is it or isn't it" bit when the other hens add eggs, mark the eggs that the hen is supposed to be sitting on. I draw a thick line around the middle of the egg with a pencil - light pencil markings will get polished off by the hen's feathers. I've seen other folks say they write the date on the big end of the egg with a fine-tipped marker - that way, they have a reminder for when the eggs are due to hatch. Check at least once per day, and remove any eggs that aren't marked.

    I find it interesting that all of the eggs in the turner hatched from the right end - it may be because they were "right end up," as it were. I remember somebody telling me that when she puts her eggs in lockdown, she puts them in egg cartons for that reason. I know that you are less likely to have chicks drown while hatching, that way.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2013
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Songster

    Sep 12, 2012
    That's my thought too. Air rises above water. We all know this. And instinct tells us when we're swimming, that we have to go UP for air. Same with dolphins and whales. They know to go up for air from birth.

    So maybe that is why chicks hatch from the right end when the air is literally at the top of the egg. So placing them small-end-down like this may be a bigger benefit than we realize.
  4. amberscave

    amberscave In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2013
    North Central Florida
    Wow I love this site because I was just looking to see if I needed to stop turning my eggs now that they are rocking and look here, someone just posted in the answer :)
    Thank you!

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