When to help an egg hatch?


In the Brooder
Mar 24, 2015
My poor Jenny has had terrible luck with eggs. She always goes away from the coop to nest and something gets her eggs. This time, our neighbor has 2 dogs that she made friends with and they've been guarding her nest. She started with 11 and I put 3 of the eggs under a broody hen as our backup plan, just in case. She hasn't come to the house for food in a few days so I went to check on her today and her nest looked destroyed. We finally found her and she has 2, possibly 3 babies under her, even though it's only day 26. The 2 we saw were fuzzy and walking, so they may have hatched yesterday.

We examined her nest and found 3 eggs that had been stripped of the outer shell and appeared to have pipped, but were all dead. We removed the inner she'll and they were perfectly formed and had absorbed the yolk sack, so I don't know what went wrong? They had ants on them and were cold, so did the ants kill them? Or did the ants come after death?

There were 2 solid eggs so I took them to the broody hen and found the other 2 eggs pipped (the 3rd egg had been smashed by another hen last week so she was down to 2). One egg has since hatched, but the other appears to be struggling and isn't zipping at all. Am I supposed to help at some point since turkey shells are harder than chicken shells? I'm assuming my turkey hen is the one that stripped the outer shell on the other 3 in an attempt to help them, but it didn't work. I did wet a paper towel and put it under the egg, which is under the hen, to try and keep the egg from drying out. I know it has been pipped for at least 8 hours already.

Any advice is appreciated as I struggle with letting nature do its thing but knowing when to help. And we really want these turkey babies!
My poor Jenny has had terrible luck with eggs.
If you want her to have better luck, get you a private hatching pen ready----next time she starts going broody, put her in this private hatching pen big enough she can get off the nest to poop, eat and dust---most are mine are t least 2ft x 4ft with the nesting box attached on the outside of that---the bigger ones I have the nesting box inside of it. I keep the food and water far enough away she can not reach it in the nest which encourages her to get off to eat, stretch her legs and poop. I never have one to poop in the nest doing it that way. Set her with fresh eggs you collected and just Leave her alone other than feeding/watering and monitoring. Once I set my many broodies---I do NOT touch them again until I move them After the hatch---no peeping under them---no touching---a treat will be put in the food bowl not fed to her while she is in the nest. Every broody I have set in just the last 3 years(over 150) had great hatches. Good Luck!

Moving a broody sometimes can break her broodiness if not done right, then some hens move easy.
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For anyone reading this later, we believe the wet paper towel saved the poult. After an hour, the soft inner shell was much more translucent and the baby was moving more. This morning, it was all the way out and looking great. I believe the other babies had pipped for too long and dried out.

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