New to chickens and need help ASAP

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by bougraisse, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. bougraisse

    bougraisse Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2012
    new-brunswick, Canada
    Hi, I'm new to chickens. I have 4 RIR laying hens and 5 silkies (3 hens and 2 roos). I'm in trouble AND yes I know I'll be better next time but right now I'm stuck :)
    One of my silkie hen started to sit on one egg! We were happy. After a couple of days, she had several eggs. Again very happy! But on the 14th day since she started sitting, we noticed she could'nt keep all the eggs underneath her! We counted them, there was 14 !!!!!! I started googling it and ended up on your website! Technically, I saw that once she sits she shouldn't be laying anymore! And I saw Caramel (another Silkie) lay an egg practically over her !!! Lazy little hen, giving her eggs to someone else! Anyways, I made myself a homemade incubator and took 7 eggs (left her 6 one was outside the nest) but now I have NO idea when each egg is suppose to hatch! we are now day 22 from the first egg she laid and sat on! What should I do? I candled the ones I got home and 5 are definetly alive since I see the baby move! The other one I'm keeping an eye on, I think it never was! They seem to be at all different stages! Do I turn them? Do I leave them alone? Don't know if the humidity should be high for the ones that might hatch soon? I KNOW, I WILL BE BETTER NEXT TIME :) BUT I REALLY WANT TO BE A GRANDMA! HELP
    Thanks
     
  2. olefarmersdaughter

    olefarmersdaughter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My best guess, and I say only a guess is when you candle them and you can only make out the air sac at the end and the rest solid, I would stop turning that egg. If you keep the wet bulb at 90, that is going to be at the high end of one stage and the low end of the hatch stage. Other than that I haven't a clue what to tell you.
     
  3. cochins1088

    cochins1088 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well for next time, once you are happy with how many eggs she has, mark them with an X with a permanent marker so that you can take the extras out as they are laid.

    For now, it's a difficult situation. I will add a link to the bottom of a good candling thread. Take all the eggs and try to group them as far as where in incubation they are. (use the link I attached for comparison) Such as put the eggs that appear to be day 5-7 separate from the eggs that appear to be 8-10. I would put the eggs are the most developed for example, days 18-21 (depending on what you have) and give those to your hen. You don't want a mix of hatch dates under her. You might be able to get away with it in an incubator, but not with a hen. You could even give her eggs that are days 5-7, as long as they are close to the same hatching date. Oh and mark them so that your won't go into the same problem for a second time. Take all of your other eggs in groups and mark them. Remember how you marked them. Maybe you put stars on days 8-10 and Xs on eggs days 15-18. Hopefully you will have breaks in between hatches.

    For incubation. This will be tricky and you shouldn't expect every egg to hatch. I assume you already know optimal tempatures and you just need to figure out turning and humidity. For turning, you now know apporoximitely when each group will hatch, so stop turning 3 days before the the first ones should hatch. While a group is hatching, continue hand turning the other eggs around them until it's time to stop. For humidity, I would aim for 55-60% 3 days before a group should hatch and inbetween group hatches, drop it down to 30%. Because humidity will be weird for the eggs, I will mention once again, do not expect them all to hatch, but this should give each a good chance. I will attach a photo of air cell development. Your air cells should look simlilar on the given dates, but because of the weird humidity, they might not be. You will not go into an official lockdown except maybe for the last group because you will have to continue opening the incubator to turn the other groups of eggs. If you miss a turning because you noctice a pip going on, then thats ok but try to continue turning the other eggs as normal. By the way, I have been in a similar boat and had pretty good hatch rates following this, given the sinerio. Much better than I thought I'd get.

    Next is for the actual hatches, hatches are messy and you don't want your eggs continually sitting in a dirty incubator so here is what I recommend doing. Put the eggs into some kind of small basket that will fit in your incubator and line it will paper towels so that cleanup with be easy, they will hatch and all you will have to do is add new paper towels.

    I really hope you have sucess with your hatch, Good Luck! [​IMG] If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/candling-pics-progression-through-incubation-of-chicken-eggs

    Air sac development - Photo is from google images.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. cochins1088

    cochins1088 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ohh and [​IMG]
     
  5. MarineCorpFarmr

    MarineCorpFarmr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Good luck :)
     
  6. bougraisse

    bougraisse Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2012
    new-brunswick, Canada
    Thank you very much. I know for sure that at least 2 of the ones in the incubator are at least 16-17 days.
    I will keep you posted.
     
  7. KrisH

    KrisH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Had a similar situation with Guinea and nearly 40 eggs. and oldfarmersdaughter is right. Candle each egg, put them in as near Closest to hatch to farthest from hatch. Keep turning until very near hatch. The air cell will slant more and more until they begin to pip. if you watch frequently, you will see some movement above the air cell. They are about to hatch, Stop turning that egg. A day or two earlier would be better, you will soon be able to gauge when that should be. a day or two earlier is ok too. do the best you can on humidity. we had I think about 36 eggs hatch in 2 1/2 weeks or so, a couple a day. helped a few due to wacky humidity. some shrink wrapped and not able to zip, so helped out after 24 hours.

    Just like yours, they kept laying in the same nest. Then abandoned the nest 2 weeks before hatch. left the nest for 2 days in fact. Put all with movement in incubator (yes after more than 2 days without adult hen supervision)

    I say your chances are good

    RobertH
     
  8. Albanydog

    Albanydog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    cochins1088 seems to have covered it pretty well. We have had this happen before and have also forgotten to stop the auto-turner when we were suppose to and still had pretty good hatches, just make sure the humidity is up when you think any of them are ready to hatch. Not a pretty site to find a chick all dried out and stuck partway through a hatch! I know there are some who will advice totally against what I am about to say because they are very strict about locking down their incubators (so I do not need you all replying to tell me how stupid I am). I too thought it was vitally important to keep everything just perfect but after a few years of doing this and realizing chicks are not as delicate as you think or they wouldn't survive as day old chicks being stuffed in a box and shipped through the mail..... Keeping the temperature stable and not getting the chicks chilled when wet is still pretty important, however If a chick has been pipping for a few days and appears weak, overly tired, in distress or dried out I will help them by gently finishing cracking the shell all the way around with my finger and/or putting warm water on them. The shell is very brittle and breaks easy but I do not pull the shell off. I have had much success helping the chicks out when they obviously need it, sometimes it takes a few days for them to regain their strength after such a long, difficult struggle hatching so I will keep them separate from all but one other chick so they are not alone but also are not being trampled by a group. I am not always successful but I would rather attempt to help when I am sure they won't make it on their own then watch them struggle and then die. I also offer them an eye dropper of vitamin water if they are struggling and the beak is well out of the shell so they have more strength to finish hatching on their own. I thought this was important to mention because you have limited experience and also have eggs that are at various stages of growth in the same incubator and could very well run into such issues.

    Hopefully you will not have so many chicks that you can't sneak them all under her to take care of.
    When hatching begins, If she has any chicks under her for more then two or three days I would suggest you take all her unhatched eggs away and put them in the incubator. She will abandon her nest after a few days in order to take care of the hatched chicks even if she has more viable eggs still to hatch. Some hens will keep sitting for a week or more but the majority of them do not. You can always sneak incubator chicks under her at night after they are completely dry. I have yet to have a hen who didn't accept additional chicks when they magically appeared in the morning. Letting Mom raise them is so much easier and the reason she went broody to begin with! We have hens that won't brood at all but will help raise the chicks or somehow steal them away from their mom and raise them as their own.

    For future reference: When we have a broody hen in one of the coops we either try to de-brood or move her so no one lays eggs on her. Sometimes we leave them where they are, give them enough eggs and put a piece of chicken wire across the nesting box to keep everyone out. Of course, then we have to make sure she has food and water since she won't be getting out of the nesting box. There are a couple girls that won't tolerate being locked up and start eating their eggs until we let them out then they run off and start a new nest and don't reappear until they have hatched out all their chicks. We have marked eggs before and tried leaving the hen where she was but there are a few of the ladies that just won't tolerate us checking her eggs everyday to take out the new ones and they usually end up taking off to hide and make a new nest. Oddly enough, even with 130 hens I have gotten to know most of them and how they will react when broody.

    Good luck....
     
  9. MarineCorpFarmr

    MarineCorpFarmr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    [​IMG]
     
  10. bougraisse

    bougraisse Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 18, 2012
    new-brunswick, Canada
    OK, I checked the 6 eggs underneath Lily. Well, 3 of them have a very large air cell. Two of those are not perfectly round anymore. I can see them move. They have to break that air cell before they can get out right? does it mean I might be a grandma soon :)
    The other 3 are also very dark but the air cell is not as big. Maybe 15-16 days. I think.
    Also 2 of the ones I have in the incubator seem to be advanced more. Ouf!
     

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