Very "High-Risk" Eggs


Jun 11, 2016
North East Florida
My Betty, a Buff Orpington (X RIR) got broody and began sitting on 15 eggs on 6-25-16.
Sadly on 7-6/7-16 during the night, she was attacked and killed by a predator despite that her nest was in a fully fenced/enclosed area with a roof.
I found her that next morning (7-7) and her nest, obviously, was uncovered.
I was devastated, yet I knew that I had to act quickly if there was any possibility of saving the eggs/embryos.
I called a friend who had a very basic 7 egg incubator which was brought over right away. Also my silkie hen is very motherly.
So I decided to split the eggs between the incubator and Mima, my silkie hen.
I tried candling before placing the eggs in either the incubator or Mima's nest. Due to the bright sunlight I saw not a thing and I didn't want to bring the eggs inside for fear that the temperature drop would harm them.
As crazy things happen in cycles, after several days in the incubator, I woke up one morning to find the incubator had turned itself off in the night. The eggs were cold. Nothing I did turned the incubator back on.
I moved a few eggs to Mima's nest.
Presently Mima has 10 or 11 eggs with her.
I tried candling again today but still too bright light made it very hard to see anything especially in the darker brown eggs.
The eggs in question are from 3 different hens who lived together and shared a nest box: Betty(no longer with us) plus Henrietta and Snow White...those are white (snow White is a white Leghorn), medium brown (Betty's) and darker brown (Henriettas)
During candling today I saw in some of the eggs a very dark color where the air pocket should be but much larger than I'd expect. When I rotated or tipped the eggs that dark area moved consistently with the movement of the egg.
I fear that this is not a good sign.
Some of the eggs I could not see through or inside of, maybe due to color or maybe due to something else going on in the egg (not fertilized? )
Can anyone please help me in terms of what the dark color/s mean? Viability of the eggs? I did smell each egg right close to my nose and none had a foul odor. In fact they smelled like newly laid eggs. (I've been told that an egg that contains a deceased embryo will smell foul).

I thank everyone in advance for any insights, advice or ideas!
Welcome to BYC
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your broody hen. The eggs, I think you need to candle them when it's dark, so you can get a better idea of what's going on in there. The ones with the dark mass moving sounds a bit worrying… Embryos do move a bit in the eggs, but it may be something less desirable going on in there! If you can take some pics of your candling results we can have a look and advice.
Thanks to both of you for replying :)

I still can't get over loosing Betty. She was such a sweetie. But I could go on about that part endlessly...
The eggs: I'll try candling tonight (last night we had a huge storm). Taking pictures may be challenging unless I have another set of hands to help me. I use one hand to hold a flashlight, the other to balance the egg.
I'm going to take a look for videos or pictures on this site and maybe get a better idea of other techniques. Mine is very basic.

On the other hand, no matter what is inside the eggs, I'll see pretty soon. I mistook the date I posted. She started sitting on the fake eggs on Saturday 6-25. I switched the real eggs in to the nest on Sunday 6-26. So even if I give an extra day or two because of the trauma to the eggs I'll know early this coming week.
Is it true that if an egg is "bad" (i.e. the embryo didn't survive) that there would be a foul smell?

I certainly hope some of them have a chance!
Thanks again. I'll do my best to get pics.
When I candle and I need an extra hand, I sit down and hold the flashlight in position between my knees. One hand to hold the egg, one hand free to do what's needed. We learn all sorts of tricks as we go along lol

A few years ago I lost a broody hen on her nest to a predator and again about 3 years or so after that. It really sucks…
I hope you can hatch these eggs for her, that they're o.k. and viable.

Here are a bunch of candling threads with pics for reference:


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