We had the incubator humming quietly away in our kitchen for 23 days with no sign of hatching. The eggs were due to hatch on day 21. On the morning of day 24 I gave up and turned the incubator off.
I had candled the eggs at day 19 and thought that at least one egg (a cream coloured Plymouth Barred Rock) had a fully formed chick inside and potentially one of the Barnevelder eggs but it was difficult to see inside their brown speckled eggs. This was also my first time candling eggs so I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for.
That evening I broke open the eggs to see how many were fertile and at what stage had any chicks died inside the shells.
Six of the seven eggs were either infertile or hadn’t started to develop for some reason, possibly because they were too old at the time of setting the eggs. The seventh egg had a fully formed chick inside that had absorbed most of the yolk so must have died just before it was due to hatch. I have since learnt that I shouldn’t have candled the eggs after day 18 when the incubator goes into lockdown, so I am guessing that may have harmed the chick.
I was of course disappointed with the outcome but then I did know there was only a slight chance that the eggs were still fertile after losing both our roosters a few weeks before setting the eggs.
So what next?
I now have six Speckled Sussex eggs that I bought off Trademe (New Zealand’s equivalent to eBay) in the incubator. They are a reasonably rare breed in New Zealand so I hope they hatch. They are due on December 6th.