Orphaned Chicken and Duck Eggs


8 Years
Nov 30, 2011
Something got into our shed Sunday morning and killed most of our birds. Many of the victims were broody hens and ducks. We have a pretty loose day-range system. Four ducks were sitting on a huge pile of duck and chicken eggs, and a muscovy was also setting on a clutch of duck and chicken eggs. Hens have been adding to these two clutches all along. My son candled the duck eggs a few days ago and they were all viable and pretty far along.

I put as many eggs as I could under a broody hen who survived and put the overflow in the incubator. Now i have a problem because I don't know how far along any of the eggs are, and I don't know how long they sat unattended.

The hen has a mix of duck and chicken eggs. She settled right down on them but she accidentally broke one as she was trying to make herself comfortable. I found a dead chick outside the nest, which I think came from the broken egg. (I would guess she tossed it out to keep her nest clean?) It looked fully developed, but had a tiny 1/4" bit of yolk sack still showing, so I guess it maybe had another day or two to go.

I checked on her this morning and there are no pips. Since she has been sitting all summer on a dud egg, I am pretty sure she will stay where she is until at least a few of the eggs hatch.

My bigger problem is the incubator. Should I put it on "Hatching" humidity or "setting" humidity? And If I put it on the lower humidity, how will I know when to turn it up?

Also, the eggs were pretty dirty. I opted to just place them as quickly and with the least amount of disturbance as I could. Should I now make an effort to clean the shells or just leave well-enough alone?
Candle the eggs to see how far along each egg is. I would mark each one with my guess. Then see how many groups you have with similar development and come up with a plan for a stagger. Depending on how many groups and how many eggs in each group and how important they are to you, you could buy another incubator. It all depends on how far they are developed. Also pull any clear eggs. How many eggs do you have in the incubator? You haven't candled any of them yet?
No, I didn't do anything yet. We also had a health emergency with a dog, a health emergency for me, and I had to work. Pretty much all I did was stick them in there.

One duck egg and one chicken egg blew up during the night. Without going back upstairs to look, I think I have 2 duck and 4 or 5 chickens left.

I have this fancy incubator from Incubator warehouse, and the humidifier kit that goes with it.


I cant get the humidifier to work properly. So mostly what I have been doing with my "free" time, such as it is, is fussing over that.

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