Only one egg hatched under broody so far. Advice?

KauaiChickenMama

Songster
Jul 11, 2021
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461
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Kauai, Hawaii
Our young hen went broody so we ordered 12 Lavender Orpington hatching eggs for her. I let the shipped eggs rest for 9 hours, pointed side down, before putting them under her that night. She is in a separate pen, next to her sisters. On day 21, only one of the eggs hatched. The chick is adorable and is doing well. None of the others have hatched yet. I wanted to give it a couple of days to see if any late bloomers showed up on their own before I interfered at all. Today is day 23. Now what? She remains dedicated and is still sitting on the remaining 11 eggs. The one chick stays close to mama and has been eating and drinking just fine. If the rest of the eggs are not viable, will mama naturally abandon the nest of unhatched eggs on her own? Or will she just continue to sit on the eggs until they go rotten or what? What do you guys recommend I do at this point?
 

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WallyG74

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Mar 7, 2020
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They were shipped eggs so they already had an uphill battle. I’m pulling for you and your eggs but I am giving advice from personal experience. If I had one develop and it didn’t hatch by 23 they had died before pipping.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
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New Zealand
If they haven't even pipped yet, keep a close eye on them. Some do take longer to develop - I'd give at least 48 hours from start of hatch, but monitor the whole time.

Take them out one by one to candle in a very dark room, look for movement and proper development. At this stage, target the air sac side, cause you won't be able to see much anywhere else. It should be very dark and full in there. Anything else probably stopped developing a while ago. If they have broken into the air sac and moving, that's good.
Keep an eye out for pips and check their activity level. There's limited air in there and their lungs are adapting to oxygen at this stage, so give them some time, but if they grow lethargic after several hours, you can go for an 'emergency' hole - a tiny artificial pip, so they don't run out of oxygen, but this is rarely needed.

If you're certain there's no movement, you can float test the egg by lowering it into 'baby bottle' warm still water with a spoon. A 'good' egg should float at an angle and hopefully move on it's own - don't leave it in too long and dry thoroughly before putting it back.

If it fails the float, you can start cracking it open to see what's going on - at this stage you're committed to intervention if it's a live chick. Start on the air sac side and slowly excavate. Try to find the head or discern the position of the chick and break open the membrane gently near the beak when you find it. If you run into movement, stop, put the egg back and monitor. If not, you can finish excavating the chick to confirm when it likely stopped developing.

I've had one dead in the egg before that I estimate stopped development at around 19 days - fully fledged chick, unabsorbed yolk sac, no movement.

I've also had one that pipped, but was head over wing. I gave him 48 extra hours from pip to see if he'd get anywhere before helping. He was incredibly lame for the first few days and had a bruised beak, but caught up quickly to everyone else and grew up into quite a handsome little boy.

The biggest concern when intervening is the yolk sac not being fully absorbed. 'gaping' chicks in a pipped egg are likely still pulling the sac in, so leave them alone - give them all the time they need. Chicks have about 3 days worth of food in that yolk sac, so there's no hurry for them.
 

KauaiChickenMama

Songster
Jul 11, 2021
206
461
136
Kauai, Hawaii
I appreciate all of you that took the time to reply to my post, thank you. :)

I just finished candling the remaining 11 eggs. I was surprised to see that ALL of them were WATERY looking inside. That means they never developed, right? There were two that were slightly thicker in consistency but not by much. I’m a little surprised that I actually GOT one beautiful little chick after seeing those 11 watery ones! I’m assuming they would all stink if I cracked them open...am I right? My husband was curious to see if there was any kind of development inside them at all, but I don’t know if I want to smell 11 rotten eggs! 🤭

So do you guys think this watery egg result is due to the hatching eggs being sent to me through the mail then? I’m sure it must have been a tough journey for them, no doubt. They arrived in great shape with excellent packaging. I was hopeful. Yet, I still knew some wouldn’t hatch out. I definitely didn’t expect to get only 1 chick out of 12 eggs though. Would it have made a difference if I let them rest longer than 9 hours before I put them under my broody hen? She was a very dedicated mama, so it didn’t have anything to do with her not sitting on them sufficiently- that’s for sure.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,015
1,800
251
New Zealand
I appreciate all of you that took the time to reply to my post, thank you. :)

I just finished candling the remaining 11 eggs. I was surprised to see that ALL of them were WATERY looking inside. That means they never developed, right? There were two that were slightly thicker in consistency but not by much. I’m a little surprised that I actually GOT one beautiful little chick after seeing those 11 watery ones! I’m assuming they would all stink if I cracked them open...am I right? My husband was curious to see if there was any kind of development inside them at all, but I don’t know if I want to smell 11 rotten eggs! 🤭

So do you guys think this watery egg result is due to the hatching eggs being sent to me through the mail then? I’m sure it must have been a tough journey for them, no doubt. They arrived in great shape with excellent packaging. I was hopeful. Yet, I still knew some wouldn’t hatch out. I definitely didn’t expect to get only 1 chick out of 12 eggs though. Would it have made a difference if I let them rest longer than 9 hours before I put them under my broody hen? She was a very dedicated mama, so it didn’t have anything to do with her not sitting on them sufficiently- that’s for sure.
I've never gotten eggs shipped (always picked up) but it's my understanding that it's so the air sack can settle and reposition itself and it's recommended to wait 24 hours before incubating.

It could also be that they weren't fertile in the first place too or experienced too many extremes of temperature in shipping. If they're not smelly outside the shell, they prolly won't be too bad for investigating inside. Does sound like they were non-starters.

Usually the mom can tell when they're rotten and will throw them out. If they're not smelling on the outside, then it's prolly ok to crack them. -You can crack em outside if you're concerned. It actually takes a long time for unwashed eggs to go bad - as long as they haven't gotten wet, the bloom will have done a good job keeping the inside sterile this whole time.

Gonna name the survivor Lucky?
 

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