No Hatch yet help!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mommhen, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. mommhen

    mommhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok so my Silkie hen (whom is a thief and stole most everyone's eggs, she even made one hen stop being broody due to discouraging her by stealing so much) the eggs have been sat on by them about 21 days now (no hatch yet).
    HOWEVER, the 21 days I'm counting was back 9 eggs ago when they first started to be laid on...

    This past and Saturday I noticed she now has 19 under her!! STUPID me this is my first clutch (and her first clutch) so I did not mark them. I did candle them though and I thought the first 9 looked like they were growing fine (this was before they laid more).

    Couple questions for anybody experienced in any of this problem...

    *Should I wait up to 24 days and trash the eggs? (I have read that 24 days is max to wait and you wont see them hatch?)
    *Should I candle them again even though I already did last week? I heard that was a very bad thing to do this late.
    *If some do hatch. will my hen ditch the others that don't hatch right away.

    Thanks all!
     
  2. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 17, 2014
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    Wow, that is one crazy little silkie gal lol! Hope I can help give you some direction/answers:

    1.) Okay so if miss sneaky hen has been snatching eggs gradually from other hens you could have a variety of stages of embryo development!! If she had a clutch of 9 to start and there are now 19 total, then 10 eggs out of 19 could all be at different stages of incubation (depending upon how many other hens you had laying each day of course)!

    Ergo I think that 24 days out (then tossing eggs) could be a different date for different eggs. First thing I would do would be to candle the eggs and sniff them. Don't worry about candling the egg if you don't see an external pip on that egg and you proceed quickly (once they pip externally is when you need to make sure they stay at a perfect humidity so they don't get shrink wrapped). Candling before external pips occur has never caused an issue for me. If the egg is not externally pipped but internally pipped it will often peep at you in protest when moved. If it is internally pipped only then do a quick mark/take note that this bad boy needs to be hatching within a day or two-ish.

    Yes I know, the whole sniff the egg thing is kinda disgusting, but trust me when an egg is getting pretty rotten and dead that is being incubated it smells when you whiff it compared to the other eggs and you can tell the rest of the way by candling. When you candle each egg check for signs of life, guesstimate how old/developed it is roughly in days, and check out the air cell size/look for internal pips as your last clue to dating the age of the embryos. Mark the eggs now when you candle them with the approximate age you think they are & number them too. Don't forget too that 21 days is a day further out...what I mean is that the day the egg is first starting to be incubated is actually day #0, not day #1 if that makes sense.

    If there are some eggs that are infertile and/or barely starting to develop when you candle them (newly stolen eggs), I would toss those out since they are not going to be hatching anytime soon with this current brood. Just keep the eggs close to hatching out. There are a kagillion helpful posts and web pics of the looks of embryos at different ages, and it is super easy to narrow the age of development down within a couple days plus or minus when candling.

    2.) I have heard that hens usually stay 36-72hrs after the first egg hatches to complete the hatch. Hopefully you will have been able to remove the duds and add-ons before those external pips occur on the first eggs. If she gets off the nest and there is still a little one peeping away that hasn't yet made any success coming out I would use caution in helping it out if you had marked it as one of the probable original 9. Every time we have incubated and have done a help-out with hatching we have sorely regretted it. They were ALWAYS deformed, and many in a pretty severe way and we had to cull them anyways. You can candle any others to check for signs of life and the call is yours as to what to do with survivors left behind (i.e.- incubate the eggs a few days behind in age yourself, or cull them with the older ones that didn't hatch on their own, or help out the older ones that couldn't hatch by themselves, etc).

    Hope that helps out! Let me know if anything didn't make sense, or if you have any other questions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    We all make mistakes, even if we’ve been doing it for a while. It’s a good way to learn things. Next time I’m sure you’ll mark the eggs.

    You’ve gotten some good advice. I don’t know how big that Silkie is or how big those eggs are, but a hen needs to be able to cover all the eggs she is incubating. If she can’t the ones not under her can cool off enough to die, then that egg gets pushed back under her and another egg gets pushed out to cool off. You usually do not get really good hatches when a hen cannot cover all the eggs. That’s something you should be prepared for if the hen could not cover all of them. Hopefully you will have some hatch, maybe several. Fingers crossed for you. But that’s another reason to candle now and remove any that are obviously dead.

    Those staggered hatches are rough. There are a few things you can possibly do though. If you have an incubator, you can take any eggs still in the nest when she takes the first chicks to hatch off the nest and try to incubate them. You could easily get some more to hatch. You would probably have to brood them yourself though.

    You can try removing the first chicks that hatch as they dry off and brood them yourself, hoping she will stay on the nest and hatch any later eggs. Sometimes the hens will stay on the nest and hatch late ones like that but sometimes they won’t. And you have to brood them yourself.

    Some people claim to have had hens remove bad eggs from the nest but I’ve never had one do that. Don’t count on her kicking any bad eggs out. At best, it is something that might possibly happen, certainly not something that absolutely will happen.

    Good luck!
     
  4. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    Super curious how things are going and if you have had any hatching going on! Let us know how it all turns out for you. Sending good hatching thoughts your way!
     
  5. mommhen

    mommhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks all for your help. The advice was what I needed! Today marks day 23. I checked on them this morning and no babies yet.
    The sad thing is I swear I heard some chirps on day 21, but I haven't heard anymore since then.
    I suppose I should candle them tonight, and keep any partially developed eggs, and toss the 24 day old eggs (if I can even tell which ones those are)?

    What do you think?
     
  6. mommhen

    mommhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 23, 2014
    I am also wondering if the weather has anything to do with it. Temp has been around mid-high 30's?
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    She very well may ditch the late comers to mother the first chicks hatched. Hens set on eggs for the sole reason to make baby chickens that the hen can then mother. Once the hatch happens the hen usually looses all or most of her desire to incubate eggs. This is simple nature. Otherwise the hen would never successfully have chicks.
     
  8. mommhen

    mommhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Read my post below, what do you think I should do now?
     
  9. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    Shoot sorry Mommhen I didn't see that you had responded earlier today!

    Yes, I would go ahead and do another candling to see what you can see with internal pips or movement, listen for cheeps, and keep your eyes out for those external pips as well in the shells. If you aren't seeing any movement or hearing anything then there are a couple last ditch checks just to be positive that things aren't okay. I was taught to "tap" the eggs lightly to see if this will elicit a peep or visible wiggle (if possible while candling to see internal movement). If there is no sign of life with either of those checks then I was told to get a bowl of cooler water and very gently begin to float the egg in the water. This float test is the absolute last double triple check if everything else is showing that the chick is probably dead. If the chick is still alive when placed in the cool water it will cause the chick to wiggle with the quick chill.

    If it looks like the chick isn't alive after that you can go ahead and begin the eggtopsy. Just as a final "just in case" I would start the eggtopsy by breaking the shell up at the top in the air cell, then peeling the egg shell down from there so if the chick happens to be alive you will have caused the minimal amount of harm by starting in the air cell (less likely to stab/harm the chick and the vein blood circulation in the egg membrane tends to turn off around the air cell first and then works its way through the rest of the membrane). I had several hatches that were just fine, and then I had a round of duck eggs that began wiggling in the incubator and pipping externally. The humidity was way up, but for some reason as a couple of the chicks had begun to unzip they perhaps got stuck and suffocated. That was my first experience with an otherwise seemingly healthy baby dying just before hatching the rest of the way.

    I thought about what Ridgerunner had said the other day about the eggs getting too cool if the hen is trying to sit on too many eggs all at once since she can't completely cover all of them, and the eggs all have the chance of spending time on the cool/partially uncovered area and getting way too chilled. Since you brought up that it has been in the 30s I am guessing that this kind of issue could happen more quickly and easily. I sure hope that isn't the case, there is always anticipation waiting for some new little chicks to play with, and you have been waiting the full 21 days plus!

    Hoping for a good outcome!
     
  10. mommhen

    mommhen Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok well tonight I did what you recommended, thanks again for the help I am learning so much from BYC I love you guys!

    I pulled out all the eggs and candled them again. Turns out they all had a very strange smell, like a hard boiled egg, perhaps that meant they were bad? But I went ahead and candled them all anyway. Looks like no pips, even when taping no movement on any of them. After waiting till day 24+ (could have been more than this really cause I was guessing at the date) my gut teold me from inspecting them that they all had to go.... The few that were fairly new I didnt want to keep either because my broody needs a serious break. She has lost so many face feathers and I just wanted to releave her for a while.

    Though it was heart breaking to let them all go, I felt it was the thing to do from all the videos and advice I have gotten. Next clutch I will be a better momma hen and mark the eggs, and also make some coop adjustments.

    Thanks again all your advice is much appreciated!
     

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