To candle, or not to candle - that is the question!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by krista74, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone,

    First time chicken owner here! I currently have a broody RIR hen (yes, I know, what are the odds?!) who has been stuck like glue for the past 6 days to 11 eggs, some BO x BO, others BO x RIR. It has been suggested to me that I should candle her eggs at some point to check their viability.

    I'm unsure if I should be interfering with my Broody and her eggs, or if I should just leave her alone. Shouldn't she know what to do with her eggs? Won't she know if one is bad?

    I have heard of eggs exploding under hens, but how often does this actually happen? Am I risking the whole batch by being negligent?

    I know it's not hard to do, but I'm wondering if it is best to just let nature take it's course. If I take her off the nest (which I do on days when she hasn't eaten) I don't want to upset her by playing around with her eggs.

    Any thoughts/comments would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    - Krista
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    If you take the eggs at night it doesn't seem to bother them much. I try to candle broody eggs twice, around 7 days and 18 days. Don't know how often bad eggs breaking w/broodies happens on a % basis, but I have found eggs occasionally that were definitely bad/rotting and had a good possibility of being broken, and there are enough threads on BYC where people have had it happen that I don't like taking the chance.
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Personally, I prefer to leave a broody alone and let her do her job. I've had broodies the past two years - last year for a total of 60 eggs, this year's total was 20 eggs - I know that's not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but last year's rooster was a dud, and out of 60 eggs I got 5 chicks. Out of the 55 eggs that didn't hatch, none exploded under the hen. This, of course, has only been my experience. I'm sure someone somewhere has had an egg explode under a hen. Yes, the broody knows what to do with her eggs. She'll get up once a day and eat, drink, poop, dust bathe if she can, and stretch her legs. This is a good thing. She will rearrange the eggs every now and then, and she will sit. And sit And sit. It's OK. She knows what she's doing. The thing to remember is, hens have been hatching chicks for centuries without human intervention. If they couldn't manage on their own, they'd have been extinct by now. Good luck and enjoy watching your broody and chicks when they hatch.
     
  4. TaraBellaBirds

    TaraBellaBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have had several broodies hatch out healthy babies without my assistance. If you want to candle I don't see why that would be a problem. I would definitely do so at night as suggested. In my personal experience my hens push out any eggs that aren't viable. I've even had several girls share broody duty and it works out fine! Good luck!
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I don't candle my broody's eggs as a rule. I've never had one explode or be rotten.
     
  6. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for your advice. It's obviously one of those things that you are either keen to do or not.

    I really feel like I should just leave her alone to do her thing as far as the eggs go. My only concern was rotten egg explosions, but if this is fairly rare I think I'll just let her be. I will keep an eye on things, and if I smell anything unholy then of course I'll remove it [​IMG] Fingers crossed George (the cockerel) has done his duty as far as fertilisation goes. He certainly does a lot of practising, lol!

    Being that this is my first batch of chicks, I am really looking forward to the surprise of how many will actually hatch. I know not to expect 100%, and as it's Winter here (in Australia) I am half expecting a fairly poor hatch rate, but if I can get two pullets from the 11 eggs I will be elated, for both her and me! I guess the fact that it is cooler might help limit any rotten eggs too, as opposed to lots of hot weather?

    So, all being well, I take it I just wait until a couple of days after the first chicks hatch, and then candle what is left in the nest? They all went under her within a few hours of each other.

    Exciting times!

    - Krista
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Manningjw

    Manningjw Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Hot vs cold weather shouldn't really matter for rotten eggs considering the hen must keep them around 99.5 degrees to be viable either way. Excessive heat above 100 in the shade would be bad news I imagine.

    Any cracks in the eggs, excessively soiled eggs or very old eggs prior to setting are at a higher risk of bacterial infiltration and exploding. I haven't had this happen either. I tend to go out at night with my flashlight and take eggs out one at a time and candle them, my broody didn't mind at all, she will just tuck them right back under her(your mileage may vary).
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If you're worried about exploding eggs, simply lean down by her and give a good sniff once a day or so. I've not had rotten eggs under a broody, but the two I had in an incubator were stinky enough it would have been very difficult to miss them! I'd imagine the same would be under broody--you'd smell it long before it got to the exploding stage.
     
  9. spotsplus

    spotsplus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just love to candle eggs and see the embryo developing but I've had broodys that didn't like me messing around the eggs so in some cases I just let them be. Never had an exploding egg in the 8 years I've had chickens.
     
  10. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good idea Donrae, I think I will do just that.

    She is quite co-operative with me and will let me pat her and clean around her, so hopefully I should smell a bad egg if there was one.

    Thank you for the wise advice. It sits better in my conscience to just let her do her thing and interfere as little as possible.

    - Krista
     

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