Orphaned Eggs


10 Years
Mar 20, 2009
I was awaked by a scream, ran outside and found my hen gone and 4 eggs where she used to be. I believe they only have about 5-7 days before they should hatch. I'm wearing them around my stomach at the moment to keep them warm. I'm new at this and don't have an incubator. Is there anything else that can be used? Thanks for any help. Kim


The Madd Hatcher
10 Years
Feb 26, 2009
Southern Pines, NC
I have heard of people making an incubator out of a cooler and a light bulb. I guess you could put a small bowl of water in it for moisture. You do not have to turn them for the last three days. write "homemade incubator" in the search box and see what comes up.

Welcome to BYC, sorry about your hen!


13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Bryant Alabama
There was an article in Backyard Poultry Magazine about using an electric skillet for such a situation. Thet used pine shaving or sand on the bottom, a custard cup of water and kept the skillet at the very lowest setting possible, just where the light came on. If your Skillet does not have a vent then you would have to prop the lid slightly to allow for air circulation. I have used the Cooler with a light bulb and a dimmer switch and it has worked very well. They have light strands at the hobby shops that allow 2-4 bulbs. Mine will take 40 watts. I just made one and used it to keep some eggs going during a staggered hatch. It has to be watched often but if you are in a temperature controlled room it works fine. The dimmer, is a lamp dimmer, available at Lowes or HD. It has a slide that allows you to dim a lamp. You plug in the strand of light into the dimmer and the dimmer into the elect. outlet. I used three night lights positioned, one each on three sides for more even heat. I did not hatch this time in this little hatcher but have done so in a previous unit I made. I have also hatched in an emergency with a plastic shoe box and the eggs were placed on a warm damp cloth. I used a clamp light mounted to a chair leg next to the box and I just raised and lowered it as the temperature got to hot or to cold. It works well, but again you really need to be nearby to keep an eye on it.


11 Years
Jun 4, 2008
Lucerne Valley, California
Jimnjay, great answer. I read that article about the warm sand. The eggs need heat and humidity, that late in the hatch they do not need to be turned.

They may need more or less time due to loosing mom. I know if your incubator has a temp spike, more time is needed. I know nothing about if it cools.

I have carried around cold dying chicks in my clothing as well, but a good old blowdryer works better than my body temp for cold chicks.

Sorry about your loss, boy would that break my heart. I have had birds snatched away with the feathers everywhere, nothing else. Good old Cement fixed that for now.

Keep the thread updated with the hatch time, etc. Hope the little ones make it.

You can candle the eggs to see how developed they are. We are all here to help, just let us know what you see. Good luck to you.


10 Years
Mar 20, 2009
Thanks so much for y'alls advice. I've put the eggs in a drawer with a heating pad, some rags and a bowl of water. I have to leave for work soon. I'll go to the local feed store today to see what they have to offer. I'm glad I found this site. I have so many questions.


10 Years
Feb 21, 2009
Columbia river gorge
keeping them next to your body will keep them warm for a time butyou need to build a incubator out of something , there are lots of hommade bator desings here jsut type in Home made incubator and see what coems up or Miss prissy bator . you can also use a small box and a desk lamp to keep them warm I have heard. Youll need to moniter the temp to make shure it dosnt go under 98 or above 102 , they need moister at the end so a dish of water and a cover over at least part of the box , maybe a damp sponge or two in the box as well. dont get the eggs wet.
Good luck


10 Years
Mar 9, 2009
I have heard of the bra technique as well. I also heard that doing it too long can inhibit the airflow that they need to thrive in shell. I can't claim to know how valid that is.

I'm really sorry to hear about such a loss. We had a near miss yesterday with a neighbor's loose dog, and the frightened scream from the chicken he had hold of was horrible.

Great, fast thinking with the electric blanket. And yes, please keep us updated!


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