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barnardflock

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2015
45
10
34
Indiana
Can anyone tell me a method of telling if an hatching egg is fertile without cracking it open or sticking with your chickens 24/7? Our last hatch was a real let down as most of the eggs were never fertile in the first place, and out of the 48 we began with, we have 5 chicks. 11 hatched, but we didnt have very good turnout with the crooked toes ones, and a few just died. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make the next hatch more succesful? In the meantime, the remaining are doing very well, and can't tell each other apart from their little turkey and duckling companions!
 

barnardflock

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2015
45
10
34
Indiana
We have 23 hens and one rooster, however we only collect from 12-15 of the hens. They are 1 and a half yrs old (hens) and the rooster just turned 2. The rooster is buff, and the hens are buff, new hamps, and brahma. They are on laying ration with supplements likee oyster shells and scraps, etc.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,479
3,536
436
NEK, VT
Do you have room to pen off the rooster and only the hens you want to breed? Other than incubating or cracking open a egg you wont know which is fertile. The key there is getting the cock over less hens for a few days. Or if you know which birds he's breeding then put them separate and collect their eggs. They'll still be fertile for up to two weeks away from the cock.

Problems with incubating could be low temp or a multitude of things that can't be addressed unless explained. Were the chicks that hatched on time or late?
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,057
581
Southern Oregon
I've had a rooster cover that many hens with good fertility, but that could sure be your issue. I'd agree to pull half the hens out for a few days so he focuses his mating on fewer hens. Should only take a few days to collect enough eggs.
 

StewedMammal

Songster
6 Years
Feb 19, 2013
464
34
141
Pembroke, MA
You can check eggs by the bulls eye in the yolk


Also, make sure the humidity doesn't fluctuate too much during incubation. Keep it steady within 5-10%, closer to 5% is better.
 

barnardflock

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2015
45
10
34
Indiana
Thank you! I got another rooster and I just hatched out 26 of 30 eggs and 1 duckling! They all say "Thank you" with me!
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Can anyone tell me a method of telling if an hatching egg is fertile without cracking it open or sticking with your chickens 24/7? Our last hatch was a real let down as most of the eggs were never fertile in the first place, and out of the 48 we began with, we have 5 chicks. 11 hatched, but we didnt have very good turnout with the crooked toes ones, and a few just died. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make the next hatch more succesful? In the meantime, the remaining are doing very well, and can't tell each other apart from their little turkey and duckling companions!

It sounds to me like you need some new and did i mention vigorous young brood stock?

Are you gathering your eggs two or more times daily?

Also are you storing your eggs @ about 55 degrees in a quite location and turning them 3 to 5 times daily?

They also need to be kept in the dark and @ about 60% to 70% relative humidity.

There is a neat new old book named "A Guide to Better Hatching"

This book is easy to read and tells it like it is and besides it covers both artificial and natural incubation.

https://www.google.com/webhp?source...&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=a guide to better hatching

I have bred one older cock to over 40 younger hens and got over 80% live chicks. I will stipulate that the rooster had been subjected to several weeks of physical exercise and training designed to get the fat out and his wind up.

Some roosters are so out of shape that if it wasn't for the milk man none of the eggs laid by the hens in his flock would hatch.

He should feel like a football in your hands. A hard and lively football, not one of those flabby, flaccid, Tom Brady footballs.
 
Last edited:

barnardflock

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2015
45
10
34
Indiana
Well, we actually got a new rooster, got rid of our old one, and hatched 26 out of 38 eggs. We did turn them a lot, usually 4-6 times. In this large of a family, somebody is always caring for them and giving the chicks attention. We have a hen sitting on some more, but for some reason, they keep cracking? Co you know why this may be?
Thank you for your help...I sincerely appreciate it!
 

MANNA-PRO

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