Not sure what to do with the eggs


10 Years
May 6, 2009
I have a hen who has recently started laying eggs. I did not know till yesterday when I found her hideout in the woods. She has been going AWOL for about a week and a half and we finally found out where. She was nesting beside a tree. In her nest was 18 eggs and one outside of the nest. I feel so bad now that I took her off of them as I opened 2 eggs to see if the were fertilized and found both to have embryos in them. I am wondering what to do with the remaining eggs. I have kept them in a box surrounded by towels. Do they have a chance and if so what is the first things I need to do as I do not have a clue. PS How long can a hen store semen from a rooster??
2 weeks is about how long a hen can keep sperm from a rooster- I have heard- but never tested this.
If you want to try to save the eggs- I would candle (shine a bright light into the end with the air sac to illuminate the inside- if there are vessels or moving embroyo you can see it in white or light brown eggs) all of them, so you can pull out infertile ones or early ones. It is best to set eggs that are close to the same state together. Not ones 2 weeks in and ones just laid yesterday. Once you have a group you want to try- you need a broody hen or an incubator. If you have a solidly broody hen, setting in a safe and protected place (ie other hens can't get to her and lay eggs in her box, or kill hatching chicks) you can slip them under her at night. If you want to incubate with a store bought incubator, then go get one and follow the directions for set up. I would not try to make one, as this is pretty hard to do it right the first time- and you need to get these eggs warm very soon it they are to be given a decent chance.
if you have an incubator, put them in there. if you dont have one, nothing much you can do with them but leave them in her nest and allow her to stay with them.
I heard 30 days for the residual sperm from a roo. It is pretty much dead on too. I had a hen that was with a roo and the roo died. We incubated eggs and it was pretty darned close to 30 days before they started candling clear
Thank you all for responding. I just cheked the eggs with a flashlight and all but 2 had a shadow floating around in it. Is this a good thing and about what day in gestation would that be? The roo has been gone for 2 weeks today so any eggs she lays still could be fertilized based on the 30 day storage.
if you can see a shadow floating around in it, that should be the yolk. do you see a black dot? if you see a shadow but no black dot, IF, and I repeat, IF they are fertile, they are less than 4 days in gestation. If you see a black dot when you rotate it around, it is 7 to 8 days in gestation.

also they could be still fertilizing with the roo gone but after 2 weeks, its chances are dropping considerably.

crack one open that she lays today or tomorrow and see if it has the classic bullseye white spot on the yolk. if it does, her eggs are still fertile.

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