Would cooling eggs cause such a delay in hatching?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Lobzi, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Background is here in SF bay area of California we had some very cold (for us) days and nights. I have a hen who was broody on eggs that I marked Dec 16 so due to hatch last Wednesday, Jan 6. Over a week ago I found my hen sitting on a different nest with different eggs under her. The ones she had been brood were ice cold and I do mean just like little ice cubes. I was certain they were gonners but I didnt want her starting with a new batch of eggs and as a matter of fact I decided it would be better for her not having to deal with babies in these weather condition as I just lost 5 babies to a mama who was not able to keep them warm so I found them dead. Anyway, I just put her on the cold eggs so she could do her thing and Im thinking they will never hatch but she will be able to continue to brood. Then Monday, as a lark, I candled the eggs and low and behold I saw movement in all but one of the eggs. So looking forward to a hatch Wednesday I waited and watched and checked. Well it is Saturday and no hatch. Candling show movement but I hear nothing. I tap and no taps back. So my question is, has anyone had such an occurrence with their eggs? Does going through the possible hours of cold produce such an extreme set-back in development that hatching would be delayed so many days? This seems so unlikely. I was expecting maybe one or two days behind but here is it three days and no signs of hatching as of yet.
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Keep us posted. I would not be at all surprised if you have a successful hatch from this!
  3. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I posted this question in the "post your chick pics" thread because I was on it and thought others on that thread might have experienced this. A reply suggested my eyes might be fooling me so I did the water test and those little eggs wiggled and wiggled so I know Im not seeing things. Thanks and Ill post pics of the hatchlings as soon as I can.
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    It would be great if you can get some live chicks from those eggs! I've noticed that lower than required temperatures does set back development, I read somewhere that incubating eggs at a degree or 2 under optimum for example, can delay a hatch by up to 24 hours. Short term very cold spells' effect I'm unsure about, but if there is one thing I've learned with incubating eggs it's this: anything is possible!
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Retarding temp will retard the hatch time. Your delay in hatching has more to do with the overall lower temp than that one occurrence. Odd she when broody this time of year but then there was an unusual warming trend December this year which likely tricked her body into thinking spring.

    In the reverse of this scenario hot spells in late spring will hatch chicks under broody days early. Once had large fowl hen (not pullet) eggs hatch late day 18 into day 19. I count hatch days correctly so yes, that's 3 days early.
  6. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    See that is the thing...I wrote the date I found her sitting on the eggs on them but I may have been off by a day or two. Now it is Sunday, four days out. That seems like very long time. I did expect some delay due to the cold spell but this is awfully long. I just hope that if they hatch the babies are normal.
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I doubt you can see anything candling this late in hatch as they'd be fully developed chicks. If you pick up an egg might feel it move, that would let you know they are alive and fine. As for problems with chicks early hatching is the big factor (under developed and yolk sac not absorbed), late hatching just lowers number that hatch but will be healthy chicks.

    A story I read here on BYC years ago was of a fella that in incubating had a very late hatch. After some chicks finally popped out he threw the remander in the trash only to awake the next morning to chirping coming from the waste basket. A few more chicks were literally taken from the trash and put in the brooder.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  8. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Boy is that a learning moment (hatched chicks in the trash). I always leave eggs way longer than probably should, just to make certain they are not going to hatch.

    I was given the strongest little light for predator peering but I found I can use it with the late eggs. It is so light that I can see the fluttering up near the air cell. I love that I can tell that the egg is alive without doing the water test. That test scares me but I did it this time just to be sure I was not seeing things. I wont do it again now that one is pipped.
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO

    Up to 7 days of incubation, eggs can be cooled all the way down to near freezing for 24 hours or more without harm.
    Cooling delays hatch but not as much as the cooling period so there is some compensation.
    The older the embryo, the more likely it is to die below 80F.

    I never candle broody eggs. Usually I have to have complete darkness to see anything in my eggs, much less movement.

    I've had broody hens in some pretty cold weather, say those that went broody in a warm November period. They didn't have any problem keeping chicks warm down to the teens and below.
  10. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well here is the first to hatch from the very delayed hatchings. One of the three eggs I brought in to the incubator is pipping and another pipped and the baby seems a bit distressed. I decided the best was to put them back under mama. I removed two more of the late eggs and candled them. They are alive but much more delayed. Im not expecting them to hatch for days based on what I can see inside.[​IMG]
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by