colleensweetyMay 30, 2009

My chickens decided to roast under there house to get away from the roosters. There is a ton of eggs under there we know they are fertile. the chickens have been setting on them now for two months. nothing is hatching. I don't know what the problem is. last fall they hatched all the eggs this spring they dont seem to be doing a good job. Should I clean out all the eggs under there and let them start over. When we grabbed an egg from under there and broke it there was a half developed baby. but there not making it to the chick stage.

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

If there are 'tons of eggs' under there as you say, they are likely trying to cover way too many eggs and so cannot efficiently keep them warm enough to brood them to hatch.

A normal clutch is about 5-7 eggs. That's what a hen can properly cover and keep warm enough for a good outcome. I'd take a marker and mark the eggs that you want to hatch with a big X--that way as new eggs are laid, you know which ones are which and can remove the fresh eggs, leaving the marked ones to hatch.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 6:19PM
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Thank you, I got up this morning and we had one little chick running around so I am not sure which eggs I should take or not there are a ton of eggs under there. I will start with the ones that are rolled out around where they are laying. they are trying hard to cover all of them.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 8:26AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Congrats on the chick! :) You should be able to see and hear eggs that are pipping (starting to break out) and hear the chicks inside peeping, especially when you talk to the eggs (chicks will hear your voice and respond, peeping and making the egg rock back and forth). If they are lighter colored eggs, you should also be able to candle them. Dark-shelled eggs you kinda just have to trust to Mother Nature, as it can be difficult to see through the shell. Candling can tell you if there is a chick inside the eggs or not, that way you can safely dispose of undeveloped eggs and let your hen concentrate on the ones with possibilities.

If you've never candled before, it isn't difficult to do. You need a good, strong flashlight and a darkened room. Hold the egg in one hand and shine the flashlight up through the side of it. Keep the light right up against the egg, rotating the egg to see through it. Infertile eggs will be clear, with the yolk floating around inside. Fertile eggs will be dark, with the dark, unmoving part being the chick. You can see examples of candling and more about it, here:

Compare your hatching eggs with a fresh egg from one of your hens and you should be able to see differences. Of course, be careful to only take a few eggs out to candle at a time, leave the rest under mom to stay warm, and return the good eggs as soon as you can. Mark your possible hatching eggs with a big X in pencil so you know which ones you've done.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 12:17PM
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