Variation in hatch times and an impatient hen....

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Achelois, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Help me, I'm on edge here. I have a hen sitting who sat on a clutch a few months back. There was a poor hatch rate - a lot of non-developers but a few tragedies too. She went broody again and so we gave her another lot of eggs. This time, we gave her 8 instead of 12 (she is a large hen, light sussex X rhode island red) as there were so many clears. This time all 8 had developed when I candled them at day 16, but yesterday one hatched right on day 21 and now there are two. All but one of the others has pipped, and the non-pipped one is alive. I know that there can be a big variation in hatch times, but what I'm worried about is that last time she got up abruptly after about a day and a half and started mothering the hatched chicks. One of the abandoned eggs was pipped and was cold in its shell and died, despite my attempts to save it.

    I'm worried that if the pipped eggs don't unzip soon she might give up again and leave them to die. I suppose I shouldn't have let her sit again, but she seems to be a good mother otherwise. I have a pretty makeshift homemade (plastic box) incubator but the temp and humidity have held pretty stable. At what point would you lose your nerve and let the incubator finish the job for her, just in case she pulls the same stunt again, or would you just leave well alone? And how long can a hatching chick survive without heat - i.e, how often should I check that she's still sitting on them? All of them are developed this time; I'm so scared of losing them at this stage! **** those early hatchers...last time they were robust little roos, ruining it for everyone else...
     
  2. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013
    I should add, it's summer here, if that makes any difference.
     
  3. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Argh! And the starred word I used was a variant of "darn"! Starring out a four-lettered word makes me sound really rude :(
     
  4. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Well, 7 out of 8 hatched. I should be really pleased with that as when we were putting more eggs under the hen a lot of them weren't developing. But the 8th chick turned out to be really sad. It hadn't pipped at all, not even the air cell, so I tried to assist.It looked really good and active, I made a hole and set it down with damp tissue paper in the incubator. I was so scared of shrink wrapping though that I dampened the membrane too much and I think I drowned it. Gutted. When I opened up the shell to see what had gone wrong it was in a weird position, not even like any of the pictures of common malpositions I've seen. It didn't have a wing anywhere near its head. Feet were where they should be. It had a mild beak deformity, no egg tooth and the top beak was a millimetre shorter than the bottom beak. If I'd done it right I could have saved it. The neighbour has a hen with a pretty deformed beak that gets on okay. Feel pretty sad right now [​IMG]
     

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