Recurring Problem Hatching Eggs w/ A Broody

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MacNachtan, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. MacNachtan

    MacNachtan Hatching

    Sep 24, 2013
    Highland, MD
    For some reason this fall, I had two hens that decided to go broody with the change to cold weather. Seemed like bad timing to me, but I decided to (for the first time ever) try hatching out some eggs with broodies.

    One hen is a Barnevelder, the other a Golden-laced Wyandotte. I have an Easter-egger rooster so I figured I'd get some olive-egger chicks! The Barnevelder was the first to get the bug and I gave her 9 fertilized eggs to set on. Four of them broke beneath her. She did manage to hatch out a chick on day 22 and we waited a full week beyond 21 days for any stragglers to hatch. Mama was diligent but we had no luck with the remaining 4 eggs, all of which were at 28 days of incubation by the time they got tossed. Mama and chick appear to be doing well, but I was frustrated with the low hatch rate.

    Well, as soon as the new baby arrived, the Wyandotte decided she "wanted one" too. So...take two. Thinking that perhaps 9 eggs was just too much for a hen to cover, I only gave her 5 eggs to set on this time. Two broke under her. Twenty-one days came and went. Unfortunately none of the eggs hatched. At this point, I began to wonder about the fertility of the rooster. So at 28 days I finally bit the bullet, kicked her out of the nest and opened up the eggs to see what was going on. The rooster is fertile. All three chicks were dead, but were very well developed. Something is happening near the end of the hatching period.

    Any ideas? Could there be something genetic causing late term problems? Cold weather? Could it have something to do with the eggs that broke beneath each hen?

    The one chick that did successfully hatch seems healthy in every respect and has already integrated with the rest of the flock along with his mama.

    Matt M.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    I'm betting it's the cold. The hen probably gets up once or twice a day to eat, drink, and poop. So during that time, the eggs might get too cold. That's just a guess......I wonder what others will say.

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