Marking eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by saints, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. saints

    saints New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Jan 12, 2012
    Hi, I'm a new member, and I'm trying to read my way into handling our family's current chicken situation, but I have too many demands on my attention to make sense of it all. I'll be bombarding the forum with questions, I expect, so thanks for your patience!

    We've had a few Bantams since late summer, and we have yet to work up the confidence to try eating the eggs (hens were laying all over the place, paranoid about egg safety, whether we have the chickens in the right conditions, etc.). As a result, we haven't been thorough about collecting many of the eggs--couldn't find them, kids missed some, whatever) and one of the hens is sitting on a SLEW of them. My daughter said one looks like it will hatch soon. I'm all for nonintervention and letting them take care of themselves, but I don't want the chickens to start eating eggs, and I'd like a few myself to try without breaking open a half-developed chick! So. I decided to mark the eggs already there so we can collect the new ones. What can I safely use to mark the eggs? Also any other obvious-to-you thoughts you want to share with me?

    Comments welcome, but just be aware I've never even handled these birds before. The kids have been caring for them, but they're pretty new at this, too, learning from a 4-H guide.
     
  2. ambrosia

    ambrosia Chillin' With My Peeps

    611
    3
    113
    Oct 21, 2011
    Crayon or pencil [​IMG]

    And do they free range? I don't let the girls out of the coop til they are done with their "work" for the day. Then I can worry much less about eggs in mysterious places lol
     
  3. suzeqf

    suzeqf Chillin' With My Peeps

    835
    1
    121
    Mar 17, 2011
    I use a sharpie to mark mine it works pretty good. As for eating the eggs as long as you gather everyday and wash them off they will be fine if they have cracks toss them if they have been under a hen for more than 2 days toss them. If you are worried about finding a surprise you can candle the eggs. Candling is pretty simple I use a led flashlight and if the egg is clear it's means no surprises. If you want to make sure the egg is still fresh I used a 4 cup glass measuring cup with lukewarm water and 2 tablespoons of salt if it sinks it's fresh if it rise to the top toss it the closer it stays the bottom the fresher it is.

    If you notice a hen has gone broody and you want to let her sit mark all the eggs that day and mark it on your calendar and the next day collect the eggs with a mark. After 7 days you can candle the eggs and you should see veins and a embryo floating around.
     
  4. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    I've used pencil (not reliable on eggs under a broody) as well as a black or green sharpie pen
     
  5. saints

    saints New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Jan 12, 2012
    Don't the eggs need to stay under the hen to hatch? 7 days sounds like a long time to keep them away from mama.

    And what exactly does broody refer to--is it that "difficult" attitude when she has eggs, or is it any hen sitting on eggs, and her attitude is just an indication?
     
  6. NotAFarm

    NotAFarm Embracing the New! Premium Member

    7,546
    1,899
    391
    Nov 5, 2009
    Illinois

    1.
    [​IMG]

    2.
    If an egg looks visibly dark, it could be rotten. If other hens are "rooting her out" of the nest to lay eggs, she could get into the wrong nest and the eggs could get chilled enough to die. Once dead, the warmth of the hen can make them rot. If you take a bright flashlight with a small lens, or something to make the lens smaller, in a dark room (your coop at night would work) and look at the eggs she is sitting on, you should be able to see into the egg enough to tell if a chick is developing. Blue or dark brown eggs are hard to see into.

    3.
    A single dot/circle on the small end of the egg with a deep colored crayon will be where the hen will have the least chance of rubbing it off and will allow you to remove any unmarked eggs that other hens may lay in the nest. If you want her to sit, I would move her and the eggs you want her to hatch to her own private place so that she is undisturbed by your other hens.

    4.
    Broody is the term used for a hen that is determined to set on a clutch of eggs. Some hens "play with the idea" of being broody but aren't serious. A true broody hen will "flatten" like a pancake on the eggs and will "growl" when you try to touch them. She will also not leave the nest very often and those will be brief periods.

    Good luck! 4-H is great for your kids!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. suzeqf

    suzeqf Chillin' With My Peeps

    835
    1
    121
    Mar 17, 2011

    Going broody means the hen is wanting hatch eggs when my silkie went broody she stayed on her nest and doesn't move and she flattens out when another hen gets close and growls and if she does this for more than 3 days I consider her broody, yes you must leave the eggs under hen for them to hatch day 7 is when I candle because it's easier for me to see the developing chicks.
     
  8. NotAFarm

    NotAFarm Embracing the New! Premium Member

    7,546
    1,899
    391
    Nov 5, 2009
    Illinois
    Saints, When you click on the "Incubating & Hatching Eggs" Forum, at the very top, right under where you see "Start a New Thread",
    you will see this
    V V V

    "Sticky" Threads for the "Incubating & Hatching Eggs" forum:

    Click on this ^ ^ ^ link and it will have threads that have pictures and videos of candling. Very cool stuff for your kids to learn about development and compare with their eggs.
     
  9. Tylerkaz@gmail.com

    [email protected] Chillin' With My Peeps

    196
    3
    93
    Jan 4, 2012
    Washougal, WA
    not if you have an incubator, if you don't you should leave them with the hen
     
  10. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    16,711
    533
    408
    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    You have come to the right place to learn. Welcome.

    You can use the search feature to find past threads. Ususally dozens of old threads to read and learn from on any given subject.

    Try to collect all eggs every day other than those the broody hen is sitting on. I have my kids scout out all the odd places the hens drop an egg as they usually use the same places. Any old eggs, cracked eggs, particularly dirty eggs are fed to the dogs (cooked) or fed back to the chickens. I'm very particular that I know the eggs we eat were collected fresh from the hen and then refrigerated promptly. I don't mind an egg needing a bit of cleaning if it came from a nest box but I will not eat eggs picked up off the ground.

    I found it very hard to keep track of the eggs under a broody hen when other hens could add to the nest. Marked eggs didn't stay marked so I was afraid to remove any unmarked eggs. So went from about 15 eggs set under the broody to hatching over 35 chicks. Never again. I will be sure to separate a broody next time.

    You can eat the chicken eggs. These are different than the grocery store commercial eggs if your girls free range. THe taste is richer. I pick up all the eggs every day; and when I'm home a couple times a day.

    Hope you come to enjoy your hens. Lots to learn here on BYC and the university web sites too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by