Need help with hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by songbird, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    Hi Everyone,
    I am a first time chicken grandmother, and I hope you can help me figure out what is going on with my mama hen. I have a buffy sitting on eggs in the coop. Unfortunately, the eggs are staggered probably over a span of a week, as other hens snuck their eggs into her nest and my dh was not on the same page as the rest of the family. (long story!)
    One little baby hatched yesterday.
    I am trying to figure out if the other eggs are viable, how I will know if they are going to hatch and when. I have not candled the eggs, and my understanding is that I wouldn't see anything at this point? Two or three of the eggs have faint hairline cracks in them. All of the eggs smell fine. One egg feels like there is a ball in it, sloshing in water. The other eggs all feel more solid.
    How do I know what is going on??? Or do I just need to be patient and wait and check frequently for babies?
    Thank you!
     
  2. amirfarmer

    amirfarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2013
    Can u tell the day....if is is 21 day wait till 24 day and then andle eggs
     
  3. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    I don't know the day because they were staggered. I would guess the start date was around 1/20 for the earliest 3 eggs, and I know 1/31 for the final eggs because that's when I labeled them all. So 21 days after the latest additions would be 2/21.

    This morning I noticed one egg with a zipper and one with a pip. Now, a few hours later, I hear peeping but no baby yet.
     
  4. amirfarmer

    amirfarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2013
    wait for 2 days u will see baby chicks soon!!!
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Hen eggs should start hatching 21 days after incubation begins, or in your first example on the 10th of this month. Further study shows that in this case hatching may drag on until sometime in the last week of February.

    Hope and prey that your mama hen doesn't decide to come off or leave the nest with her one and only live chick and abandon the rest of the chicks to freeze.

    Also a nest full of chicks all peeping and calling to the mama hen makes all the chicks still in the egg more eager to hatch. This is another reason not to stagger hatch.

    Years ago I figured out that I lost more potentially healthy chicks because of staggered hatching than I gained in 10 years of setting a few extra eggs. One reason for healthy chick loss was over eager hens who became impatient and either crushed or stomped her brood to death by fidgeting in the nest box.

    There is also the danger that the mama hen will kill her first hatched chick or chicks especially if the first hatched chicks are larger than the last hatched ones.

    Especially at this time of year a full nest of eggs (usually 12-18) has a greater thermal mass and do not chill as quickly when the hen comes off the nest to eat. This chilling retards the hatch and contributes to birth defects in the chicks.

    I could go on, and on, and on, about why staggered setting or hatching is unwise but I'll stop at 5, for now.

    Get rid of the sloshy egg, and what ever you do reframe from shaking any more of the eggs. Shaking a hatching egg is the equivalent of an 8 months pregnant woman falling down two long flights of stairs. It is the partial birth abortion of the chicken world.

    By your math the eggs are already at day 25 and still only one chick and it is two days or more late in hatching.

    I just found another reason not to stagger hatch, record keeping.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
  6. songbird

    songbird Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2009
    New England
    Please try to be constructive. I came here for a advice on how to help my hen and chicks. I did not come here for insults.
    I am not shaking the eggs, I am picking them up to make sure they have a date on them. If no date, I pull them out. Don't people pick up their eggs to candle them?

    The hatch was staggered because I did not date the eggs originally, and tragically, my husband, clueless, took the eggs she was sitting on. So when I found five, I assumed it was the same five. Everyone in the family knew she was sitting on eggs, except him, apparently. So...they are staggered.
    She seems to be doing well keeping her monstrous clutch of 10 eggs warm. She is a BO, a big girl. But it might take them longer, true.
    By my math, the eggs are not at Day 25. Maybe the one chick who already hatched would be, had it not hatched. Maybe one more. But not most of them.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Ten eggs is not a huge number for a Buff Orp. Last year I had a similar sized hen hatch 13 out of 15 eggs. So don’t worry about the number of eggs. You’re OK there.

    I also don’t like staggered hatches but I don’t always have an “ideal” situation. Every now and then I get a situation “I deal” with. Sounds like you are there.

    I think your question is how to figure out what stage the eggs are in and when they might hatch. Candling is the only way I know if you can see inside them. You can find photos of day by day candling that can help, but it’s not always easy to tell exactly where they are. The best you can do is an educated guess. One advantage though is you might figure out which ones are not developing and get them out of the nest.

    Eggs do not always hatch at 21 days, even under a broody. I’ve had eggs hatch two full days early under a broody and in an incubator. I’ve also had eggs hatch right on time. Some people I trust on here have had eggs hatch a few days late under a broody. The 21 days is a theoretical time, not always an actual time.

    Those cracks worry me some. It’s an easy way for bacteria to get inside the egg. That doesn’t mean it will happen, just that it might. I’d make sure I sniffed those once a day and be prepared to abandon them if they start to smell. You might try sealing the cracks with a quick-drying fingernail polish or something like that. You don’t want to seal all the pores in the egg shell because the developing chick needs to breathe. In an incubator I’d suggest wax, but the broody hen would smear wax all over.

    There are a few different things you can try. One would be do nothing and let nature take its course. The hen will probably take the first ones to hatch off the nest when they get hungry or thirsty and abandon any unhatched eggs. Most tend to take care of the ones that have hatched in favor of the ones still in the eggs. You are dealing with living animals so about anything can happen.

    You can try removing the chicks as they hatch and brood them yourself somewhere the hen cannot hear the chicks. If she can hear them, she’ll probably go looking for them. She may anyway but some people have been successful with this strategy. You can try putting the chicks back with her after the hatch is over but there is risk in this. Some broodies will accept them and some won’t.

    If you have an incubator you can wait until she hatches some and leaves the nest, then move the rest to the incubator. Or you could read up on how to make an incubator and try that. A cardboard box with a light bulb, a thermometer, and a bowl of water for humidity could work for hatching. After 14 days the eggs really don’t need to be turned. It won’t hurt them to be turned, but it’s not really necessary. Late in incubation, the exact right temperature is not as critical as some people imagine. By that time the eggs are generating some heat of their own. Too hot is a risk but if they are a couple of degrees low it should not matter.

    It’s interesting how eggs are just eggs until you put them in an incubator or under a broody. I wish you luck!
     

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