Nest destroyed, eggs in incubator, how long to hatch?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Victoria-nola, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
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    Without going into the whole long saga, my immediate problem is that my guineas were setting on a nest and I happened to find it so we were monitoring them. The pair were killed at night a few days later, and that same day I realized it and brought the eggs in and put them in my incubator, despite the fact they were cold. They all have developed as I can see by candling. My question is, how do I know how long to expect them to need incubation on the egg turner, and when should I remove the turner for the "last 3 days" as per recommended practice? Should I give up on that idea and just watch for the first pip and then remove the turner?

    Today 5/13 is the 13th day they've been in the incubator. I don't know for sure how many days before that the hen was setting on the nest. I discovered the nest 5-7 days prior to the nest destruction, so it's at least that long, or 18-20 days total as of now. (Guineas typically set for ~28 days.)

    All the eggs have veins and apparent development, many of the eggs have distinct movement in them that respond to my speaking to the egg and handling during candling. Thoughts or suggestions? Thank you. I will ask this on the guinea section too, but I wanted to ask here because of such strong interest in hatching, hope there might be some experienced folks.
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    Sounds like they're getting close. At this stage you can stop turning and they'll be fine, if you want - they really don't need to be turned for the last week and it sounds like they probably have only a week more to go at most.

    Then just watch for the first pip and boost up the humidity when that happens. If you're going to be candling and you know when they internally pip, you can boost the humidity then to get out ahead of the external pips.
     
    Wickedchicken6 likes this.
  3. mychickens

    mychickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, you do have something going on! I do not have an answer to your questions because I am fairly new with guineas and I just got my first incubator 2 days ago. I have been trying all year to get my guineas to hatch eggs and many of them have gotten killed while sitting on a nest in the woods. I have 2 hens that are actually laying in the coop so if they begin to sit I can close them up in there. I wish you luck with incubating and I hope you will keep us posted.
     
  4. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Southwest Mississippi
    Thank you! The folks in the guineas section also are saying I don't need to worry about turning in the last week, so I think it would be wonderful to go ahead and take it out and get it ready. If one hatched during the night and got injured on the turner I would be very upset.
     
  5. Victoria-nola

    Victoria-nola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 10, 2011
    Southwest Mississippi
    Thanks for writing. Yes, that was the "saga" I referred to that I didn't want to clutter up my question with. This is my first year with guineas. We've lost a number of birds because of them setting on nests out in the meadow or the edge of the woods. And since we know they mourn for their dead it's even more upsetting. I got the idea from the "Guinea talk." thread, a woman had stacked straw bales in her guinea coop to give them places to hide and hopefully nest. So I put one in their coop with copious nesting materials, they never used it. After this last set of deaths, we started keeping the guineas shut in their coop until 11am or 12noon, and they immediately started laying their eggs on the nest (I put 3 of the orphaned eggs on that nest to give them the idea, and interestingly they kicked those 3 eggs off the nest and started laying there). To the point where it was clear, from counting eggs, that they were coming back later in the day and laying in that nest. So there were 28+ eggs and we were hoping that soon they would start setting.

    Then last night, when I closed up the coop at 9pm, it turned out there was a raccoon already in the coop and I had shut it in with the birds all night. When my partner B went out to let the guineas out (at 8am, as we had decided to stop the late-morning opening), there was the raccoon clinging to the roof of the coop. It had ripped up a lot of bedding trying to find a way out but our coop is built with a "tub" bottom of hardware cloth so nothing can dig in but also not get out either! So it was seemingly testing the entire ceiling trying to get out. B ran him off, having nothing but a stick to threaten it with. There are 19 eggs left, I went out and wiped them gently (not scrubbed) and removed the eggy nesting material and set the nest nicely again. And so tonight we went out earlier to ensure no raccoon. Bill brought the shotgun but no appearance by the raccoon. I don't want to kill it, but I also can't have it destroying my birds. So our protocol is now to inspect the coop all the way around with flashlights to ensure there are no critters inside, before shutting the door. I do recognize that the concentration of eggs is what finally attracted the predator, and it's just a good thing the raccoon was full to the gills with eggs or we could have had a total disaster with it attacking the birds as well.

    So yes, I understand trying to find a way to get them to nest in their coop. Just be aware that closing up the coop against predators becomes a pressing priority. The guineas don't like to go in until the very last light of day, which makes it tricky to find the right moment to shut them in, but we are committed. We started with 26 live hatches from shipped eggs last spring, and now after only being free range for 9 months or so, we only have 11 birds left, between them getting hit on the road and being killed by predators while setting their nests. They feel their dwindling numbers.

    We'll be using the Mama-Heating-Pad method of introducing any keets that hatch from the incubator to the flock. I'm totally impressed with that method for my chickens. Not sure how the guineas will be, but they trust us a lot more than they used to. But I'm nervous about it because I've been told they often/usually won't accept keets that aren't their own. These are in fact their own, but they might not know that.
     

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