Have you ever hatched chicks before? Well, if you’re reading this guide, then I assume you’ve never. Now, hatching chicks is an exciting experience that comes with great anticipation, as days get closer to 21. Although it will feel like forever, imagine getting past 21 days and then you realize the eggs aren’t hatching. Well, you’ll probably get nervous and start to wonder why are chicken eggs not hatching after 24 days.
At first, you’ll ask yourself whether you did the process wrong. After that, you’ll wonder whether to crack the eggs yourself or simply toss them away.
So, to give you some peace of mind, this short guide will explain why eggs are not hatching after 24 days and what you’re supposed to do if you realize the eggs are not hatching. We’ll also try to answer a few questions that are related to hatching chicken eggs.
How Long Does It Take for a Chick to Hatch?
If you’re asking how long it takes for a chick to hatch, then it’s 21 days from the time incubation began. So, this is the average incubation process regardless of whether it’s a broody hen sitting on the eggs or you’re incubating the eggs yourself using an incubator.
However, there are times when this period may pass by just a few days. If you’re using an incubator, then this slight difference can be caused by a failure to adjust temperature and humidity settings correctly. If you’re using a broody hen, then a slight delay might occur if you forgot when exactly the hen sat on the eggs.
For these two reasons, you shouldn’t get stressed or panic. However, if the incubation time gets past 24 or 25 days, then there’s a reason to get concerned. In most cases, you should test the eggs to see whether they have chicks inside or not.
6 Reasons for Not Hatching Chicken Eggs After 24 Days
It’s normal for eggs to get past 21 days before hatching. But what happens if they get past 24 days? Well, in this case, it means something is probably not right and there’s a possibility the eggs are spoiled or the chicks are dead. So, in this section, we’re going to discuss 6 reasons that might cause your eggs not to hatch after 24 days.
1. Incubator Management
If you’re using an incubator, then incubator management might perhaps be the reason why your eggs are yet to hatch. One, the issue might be caused by incorrect incubator settings, which we’ll discuss in detail below. Since temperature is a major factor in the incubation process, failure to set it correctly can affect your chicks.
Another factor is the failure to clean the incubator correctly after the last hatch leading to the growth of bacteria. Still, on the incubator, a slight fall in incubator temperature, especially during a power outage, can affect the eggs.
Lastly, if you’re dealing with farm-bought eggs, a slight delay during transit can cause the eggs to get cold and take a long to hatch.
2. Sick Hen
Sickness or infection is another factor that can cause chicken eggs not to hatch after 21 days. A sick hen that’s showing signs of high fever, lethargy, and hunched posture might not be in a position to care for the eggs. If you notice the comb is reddened or swollen, then there’s a high possibility she’s sick.
Here, you need to take immediate action by calling a vet. Medication such as antibiotics is ideal to support recovery. You can also boost the recovery by providing subsidies such as treats and protein-rich feeds.
3. Low/High Temperature
If you have a broody hen sitting on the eggs, then you don’t have to worry about temperature and humidity. That’s because the mother hen is capable of controlling them naturally. However, if you’re dealing with an incubator, then you must take care of these factors by yourself.
Speaking of temperature, a slight increase or decrease in temperature can cause eggs not to hatch after 24 days. For optimal chick development, the temperature should range between 99°F (37.5°C) and 102°F (38°-39°C).
Anything higher or lower than this means that your chicks won’t thrive. They will either die or grow too weak to pip the eggshells when hatching.
Another factor that can cause your chicks not to hatch is volatile humidity. When hatching chicks using an incubator, the level of humidity should range from 50-55% then increase to around 60-65% in the last three days of incubation.
Raising the humidity too high can cause the chicks to pip the eggs shells and hatch too early. The chicks will not be able to dry and will hence die easily. On the flip side, if the level of humidity is too low, then it will cause the shell to harden making it hard for the chicks to pip through.
5. Egg Turning
If you notice eggs not hatching after 21 days, then you should confirm whether you’ve been turning them. If you’re a beginner, then it’s easy to bypass this step due to a lack of proper knowledge.
You see, eggs should be turned several times daily until they’re 18 days old. After this period, usually known as the lockdown period, the eggs should not be touched again. This is important as it allows the chicks to set themselves in the proper position for piping.
The last factor that can cause eggs not to hatch is egg infertility. You see, egg infertility can be caused by several factors. Some of these factors include lack of adequate feeding for the chickens, starvation, or having few roosters in a large flock consisting of hens.
Other times, the roosters might be too old; too young (cockerels) or the roosters might be suffering from reduced sperm production caused by chronic illnesses.
What to Do if Chicken Eggs Not Hatching After 21 or 24 Days
If you’ve been patient for 24 days and the eggs aren’t hatching, then you have every reason to get concerned. So, in this section, we’re going to highlight a few steps you can follow.
Step One: Stay Patient
The first thing you need to do is to stay patient and watch if the chicks will hatch on day 25. Sometimes, the problem might be a minor issue such as eggs getting too cold during transit (before incubating them).
Step Two: Check Whether the Eggs are Positioned Correctly
One common mistake most people make when incubating eggs is the failure to position the eggs correctly. So, if you’ve been asking why don’t eggs hatch, then this might be a possible reason. When positioning the eggs, the larger end should point up and the narrow end down.
This position ensures that the embryo is centralized during incubation. So once you’ve done this, close the lid of the incubator and set the temperature. Did you do this from the word go? If not, then you should try to position the eggs correctly and then see what happens.
Step Three: Check Temperature/Humidity Settings
Incubators are very delicate machines. A slight mistake in temperature and humidity settings can cause the eggs to take longer to hatch or fail altogether. Earlier on, we discussed how to set temperature and humidity levels in an incubator.
Therefore, if you realize that your eggs have taken too long to hatch, then it’s important to confirm the incubator settings. Sometimes, temperature settings might drop slightly due to a power outage or maybe a malfunction. So, just confirm to ascertain the root of the problem.
Step Four: Check Whether the Egg is Viable
Once you’ve confirmed incubator settings, the next step is to confirm whether the egg is viable or not. Now, you can use many effective ways to check your eggs. However, since you’re incubating the eggs at home, we’ll discuss just two methods that require basic tools.
Candle the Eggs:
So, all you’ll need here is your eggs and a source of light. To start, you’ll have to pick your egg and get to a darkened room. Lift the egg near a source of light to view the inside. If you see a shadow of an embryo and clear blood vessels, then it means the egg is fertile.
If you look at the embryo keenly, you should see slight signs of movement. This means the chick inside the egg is alive. On the flip side, if the egg is completely opaque, then it means the egg is infertile.
Use Warm Water:
Another method you can use when hatching chicken eggs is using warm water. So, pick a bowl full of warm water and insert your eggs one by one. If the eggs float and show signs of movement, then it means the chicks are alive. If the eggs sink without showing any signs of movement, then there’s a high probability the chicks are dead.
Step Five: Pip the Air Sack
If you’re not convinced by step 4 above, then you can consider pipping the air sack to see whether the egg is viable or not. The air sack is located on the large end of the egg. Simply poke a small hole in the shell then peel a small area of the shell.
Blow air gently through the hole and see what happens. If the air sack expands, then it means the chick is alive. If it shrinks, then it means the chick is dead. Once you confirm the chick is alive, return the egg to the incubator and give it a few more days.
Step Six: Hatch the Egg Yourself
If you take the eggs back to the incubator and notice the chicks won’t hatch after 24 days, then you can consider hatching them yourself. Hatching the eggs yourself is dangerous especially if you’re not aware of what you’re doing.
Here, you start by poking a hole in the shell using a knife. Check inside the shell to see whether the chick is dead or still alive. Also, check to see whether the membrane has dried. Sometimes, the chick might be too weak to remove the membrane and hatch the egg.
Place the egg inside the incubator and give it some time. Otherwise, if the egg releases a rotten smell, then it has already gone bad and should be tossed away. So, if you have cockatiel eggs not hatching after 21 days, then this is an essential step you can consider.
Signs an Egg Is About to Hatch
When eggs are 7-10 days of incubation, most experts agree it’s the best time to candle the eggs to determine whether the embryos are alive or dead. Here, all you need is to shine a light on an egg to view the inside.
If the egg appears clear with no visible objects inside, then it’s infertile. If there’s a tiny red object inside, then it means the embryo was developing at some point but died very early. These types of eggs are bad and should be removed from the incubator to avoid contaminating other eggs with bacteria (especially if they explode).
Lastly, if you view through the egg and you see blood vessels, then it means the embryo is alive. This is mostly visible from day 7 to 10 of incubation.
By day 18, you’ll notice the embryo has grown and has occupied most of the space inside the egg. In fact, this stage is where you begin to notice some movement inside the egg.
Day 18 through to 21 is the pre-hatching stage. This is where the chicks prepare to hatch. In this stage, the eggs should be positioned with the larger side facing up to allow the chicks to position themselves. Here, humidity should be increased to around 70% while temperature should remain at around 100.5°F.
So, if you’re wondering why chicken eggs do not hatch after 21 days, then you might have messed up at this critical stage.
How Can You Tell an Egg Is Bad?
Earlier on, we discussed two methods you can use to determine whether eggs are viable. These are the candling and the warm water methods. Now, assessing the eggs before lockdown is essential as it allows you to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you’re dealing with viable eggs that will hatch chicks. So, to assess whether an egg is bad or not, you can use either of these two methods.
What Is “Pipping”?
Pipping is the final stage that summarizes the entire hatching process. This is where the chicks start cracking the inner membrane and then the outer shell to squeeze their bodies out of an egg. This moment is considered beautiful and magical but it’s also a nightmare if your hatching chicken eggs are yet to hatch after 21 days.
Do Chicken Eggs Hatch After 25 Days?
Well, it’s still possible for the eggs to hatch. However, the odds of the eggs hatching are quite slim at this stage. If you had candled the eggs before lockdown and there were signs of development, then there’s a probability they might hatch.
If you’re feeling uneasy or you’re getting impatient, then you can follow the six steps we discussed earlier. In most cases, incubator settings (humidity and high/low temperature) are the two main factors to blame.
Can Store Bought Eggs Hatch?
The answer is no. You see, most eggs sold commercially in grocery stores come from large-scale poultry farms. Most of these farms raise egg-laying hens only. Since there are no roosters there, the eggs laid are infertile. Remember, hens can lay eggs with or without roosters. Since the eggs are only for consumption purposes, they cannot be used to hatch chicks.
However, if you want to buy fertile eggs for hatching, then you can consider visiting your nearest poultry farm to see whether you can buy some eggs for incubation.
In summary, eggs not hatching after 21 days don’t happen quite often. But if it does, then it means there’s a problem somewhere. Sometimes, the problem is major, and other times, it’s just a slight hiccup. In case of a hiccup, the eggs don’t go past 24 or 25 days before hatching. So, if your eggs are past 25 days, then you should investigate the issue as it’s hard for the eggs to hatch past this duration.
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Hello, I am John Reid. I have been raising chickens for the last 15 years. I have got my experience from my father. My father is the owner of a large chicken farm. This is our family business that has been continuing for over 35 years. I am very interested in backyard chickens and I know how to take care of them. You can learn more About Us here. Happy Reading!!