Why Are My Eggs Not Hatching – The Vets Complete Troubleshooting Guide – The Backyard Chickens Coop (2023)

The reasons for eggs not hatching is not well known to many. It’s very disappointing for poultry farmers when they build huge expectations during the incubation period, but end up without chicks.

As someone with an interest in poultry farming, I know how it feels when eggs don’t hatch. The good news is that this article looks into the problem in detail and explains what to avoid. Here are the reasons why your eggs are not hatching.

1: Too High Or Too Low Temperatures

I have noted that too high and too low temperatures are not good for a quality hatching process. Just as it is for you, thriving in an environment with high levels of temperature is not possible. Similarly, you can’t dwell in an environment where the temperatures are too low.

Eggs require the right temperature levels for them to hatch. Remember, effective hatching is essential here. Just because you see an egg hatch does not mean that everything is good. The chick has to be in the best condition for the hatching process to be effective.

Too hot or too cold temperatures are not the ideal environment for the eggs you intend to hatch. Normally, if you expose eggs to high temperatures, it’s a dangerous affair. The result of this is that your eggs will probably hatch earlier than expected. High temperatures lead to reduced hatch rates and, of course, a high probability of deformities.

An example of the deformities that you’re likely to experience in this situation is a missing toe. Am sure you wouldn’t want to have your eggs hatch chicks with deformities.


If too low temperatures are in your incubator, chances are that the hatching process will delay. This will also reduce the hatch rate. A good number of eggs will not hatch because the temperature is not ideal for perfect hatching.

2: Too High Or Too Low Humidity Levels

According to Mississippi State University, during the incubation period, it’s important to ensure that humidity levels are right. If the levels of humidity are extremely high during the incubation period, chances are that the eggs will not hatch. Another problem associated with humidity is extremely low levels. If you expose your eggs to extreme humidity levels (high or low) during the hatching period, the result will be a failed hatching process.

From my experience rearing hens, water evaporation causes egg weight loss of around 12%. This is the normal weight loss range during incubation. In the event that there is high humidity during the incubation period, there’s definitely a problem brewing. The high humidity levels prevent evaporation from taking place. The result of this is that the chick could end up drowning in the water inside the egg. If the chick drowns and dies, there will be no hatching.

Also, if you allow humidity levels to decrease, there will be problems ahead. The result of this will be the membranes inside the shell sticking to the chick. Obviously, this will make it difficult for the chick to turn while inside the egg and prevent the hatching process.

So, if I want my eggs to hatch successfully, I should ensure that humidity levels are set within the right range.

3: Infertility

According to University of California, infertility is a problem that will definitely prevent hatching. Ideally, one of the things that come to my mind when I see my eggs hatching is that they were fertile. If they are fertile from the beginning, they will have to hatch unless there is another reason preventing them. On the other hand, if they are not fertile from the beginning, they will not hatch.

(Video) Raising Chickens: Everything You Need To Know!

Am sure you have a mature male in your flock. This means you have the source of fertilization at your disposal.

However, despite having a mature male with the capacity to do a great job, some eggs might not be fertile. The eggs that don’t get fertilized don’t hatch. So, if you notice that some of your eggs don’t hatch, it could be that they are infertile. The best thing to do is to continue candling your eggs after the first 7 days. This will ensure that you remove the ones that show signs of no development.

3b. Immature Breeder

Breeder roosters need to be mature and in good health. Very young cockerel or old roosters have abnormal sperm count. This abnormality in their sperm count prevents strong, healthy and fertile eggs. Your breeder rooster should be mature and have a near similar age to the hens.

Moreover, the hens in the breeding flock need to be mature and in good health to lay a sound and fertile egg.

4: Poor Egg Quality

If the quality of the egg is not at its best, there might be problems with the hatching process. Remember, the egg is the place where the chick develops. It is the place that houses the developing chick. So, if it lacks enough quality to bring a quality chick, it’s highly likely that you won’t see an effective hatch.

One of the reasons why the quality of an egg can be poor is the health of a hen. Quite obviously, a sick hen won’t produce a good quality egg. You should make sure that your hens are healthy and strong if you want to get healthy eggs from them. If your hens are healthy, then the quality of the eggs they produce will be superior as well.

(Video) Shocking Reason You Shouldn’t Keep Chickens For Eggs!

While it’s possible to have a strong and healthy hen, some eggs might not be as strong. This is still okay. The best you can do is to make sure that you take care of your hens at all times to maintain high health standards.

5: Contaminated Eggs

Contaminated eggs prevent the normal and healthy development of the embryo. Dirty eggs are not good for the hatching process. One of the problems that dirty eggs pose is that important gases don’t function as they should. Specifically, dirt prevents oxygen from finding its way into the egg.

Additionally, dirt makes it impossible for carbon dioxide to move out of eggs. The exchange of gases is vital for the developing chick.

Unfortunately, if there is contamination on your eggs or dirt on the surface, this exchange won’t happen. The embryo will choke and die in the process. The result is that there won’t be any hatching taking place.

Another problem with dirty eggs is that the incubator could get infected with bacteria and lead to serious problems. The bacteria find their way into the egg and end up killing the developing chick. Obviously, the egg can’t hatch if there is no chick developing inside the egg. The best advice I would give you is to always ensure that your eggs are clean. If there is any dirt on them, use a dry rag to clean them. Don’t use water to clean them. The problem with water is that it gets rid of the protective coating that keeps away harmful bacteria.

6: Mishandling Of Eggs

There is a risk when you mishandle eggs you intend to incubate. For example, if you order eggs for incubation, there could be a likelihood of mishandling in the process of the delivery. While you can order eggs for incubation and have them in good condition for the process, don’t be surprised if some don’t hatch.

(Video) Do You Make LOTS of MONEY Selling Backyard Chicken Eggs?

Normally, mishandled eggs reduce the hatch rate considerably. This is a problem that many people may not realize. The next time you order eggs, tell the delivery company to handle them well to avoid any risks of failed hatching.

Why Are My Eggs Not Hatching – The Vets Complete Troubleshooting Guide – The Backyard Chickens Coop (1)

7: Bad Egg Turning

If you’ve ever seen a bird turning eggs several times in a day, it’s because it’s important to do so. Whenever you’re incubating eggs, you should make sure that you turn them several times a day. Preferably, turn them 5-7 times a day. You can use your hand or an automatic egg turner for the process. Turning eggs during the incubation period is crucial because it helps the embryo to develop well. Failure to turn your eggs well or enough times leads to the yolk sticking to the shell and could cause the embryo to die.

If you’ve not been turning your eggs enough times in a day or in the best way, that could be the reason why they have not been hatching. A point of caution is that always ensure that your hands are clean when turning the eggs. Dirty eggs could contaminate the eggs and hinder the exchange of essential gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide). Take note of this and you’ll increase the probability of your eggs hatching effectively.

8: Too Old Eggs

Too old eggs reduce the chances of hatching after incubation. The normal time you can store your eggs before incubating them is 7 days. This is the maximum time you should store them before the incubation process.

If they stay longer in storage, you reduce the hatch rate significantly.

(Video) Why Keeping Chickens is a "BAD" Idea | World Egg Crisis

If you keep them in storage for 14 days, don’t be surprised if they don’t hatch. Again, make sure you store them in a cool and dry place. Of great importance still, keep turning them when in storage. While in storage you don’t need to turn them as often. Twice per day is okay.

Now that you’ve known the reasons why eggs don’t hatch, you can take the necessary precautions. Most of these factors are preventable. Remember, the process of incubation is an involving one. Therefore, you have to ensure that everything is right to get quality results.



Why hens are not hatching the eggs? ›

Infertile eggs at lay

Males sterile; poor hereditary hatching rate in flock; too many or too few males; males fighting with each other; males too old; inadequate nutrition or insufficient water (or water too cold) to breeding birds; seasonal decline in fertility of hens due to reducing day length; disease in the flock.

Can eggs still hatch after 21 days? ›

Chicks will typically hatch at day 21. If the fertilized eggs were cooled prior to incubation, the process might take a little longer. If you are at day 21 with no hatch, give the eggs a few more days. When the big day comes, let the chick hatch on its own.

How do I increase egg production in my backyard chickens? ›

  1. Providing vitamin and electrolyte supplements for more than 10 days.
  2. Supplementing complete feeds with cracked corn, oats, or other grains.
  3. Regularly adding green chops, lettuce, or other low nutrition ingredients to the diet.

Can eggs hatch after 24 days? ›

No. Usually, if temperature and humidity levels have been ideal, the hatchling will start to break through the shell 21 days after the eggs were first set.

What causes late hatching? ›

Temperature too low and rela- tive humidity too high during incubation period. Check thermometer; 1ºF (0.6ºC) below 99.5ºF (37.5ºC) will cause late hatch. Old eggs. Set only fresh eggs; allow extra time for hatch by setting old eggs early.

What do you do with eggs that don't hatch? ›

Once the nest is “inactive”—that is, there are no viable eggs or live young—it is safe, and legal, to clean out a nest. We recommend disposing of those eggs, deceased young, and/or nest materials (e.g., if you're cleaning out a nest box) in a place where they won't attract insects to the nest area.

What's the longest an egg can take to hatch? ›

The incubation period for chicken eggs is 20 to 21 days, and increases up to 30 days for other poultry. After sitting for some days, a broody hen can be given some newly hatched chicks and, if they are accepted, the original eggs can be removed and replaced with more chicks.

How do you know if an egg is not going to hatch? ›

Find out by candling

If you're looking to incubate your eggs, then the only way to tell if the egg is fertile is by incubating it for a few days, and then candling the egg to see its progress. This involves going into a dark room, and shining a bright light underneath the large end of the egg.

How long can an egg go without hatching? ›

Hatchability holds reasonably well up to seven days, but declines rapidly afterward. Therefore, do not store eggs more than 7 days before incubating. After 3 weeks of storage, hatchability drops to almost zero. Plan ahead and have a regular hatching schedule to avoid storage problems and reduced hatches.

What foods help chickens lay more eggs? ›

Treats That Will Make Your Hens Lay More Eggs
  • Mealworms.
  • Eggs and Eggshells.
  • Greens.
  • Watermelon and Fruit.
  • Japanese Beetles.
  • Sunflower Seeds.
  • Scratch Grains.
  • Cracked Corn.
Sep 24, 2021

What stimulates chicken egg production? ›

Daylight stimulates the reproductive cycle of egg layers, increasing production when exposed to more light. Hens typically produce more eggs in the spring and summer months because of the longer exposure to sunlight throughout the day.

What can you feed chickens to improve egg quality? ›

Your hens' diet should include calcium for strong shells; amino acids, vitamins and minerals for enhanced egg quality and hen health; and probiotics and prebiotics to promote digestive function. The complete layer feed should comprise at least 90 percent of the hen's diet.

Can eggs take 22 days to hatch? ›

Eggs hatched by the hen can take up to 25 days. The sweet spot for an egg to hatch is the same for the incubator, 20 to 21 days. The chicks can pip as early as 18 days old.

How long after chirping do eggs hatch? ›

When will the chicks hatch? Chicken eggs should hatch 21 days after they first start in an incubator. (Remember that your eggs have already been incubated for 14 days before you receive them!) Other bird species have different incubation times.

Why is my chick pipped but not hatching? ›

If chick embryos develop to the pipping stage, or at first shell cracking at hatching, they are normally healthy enough to hatch unless some incubator adjustment prevents it from happening. The problem is usually caused by either 1) poor ventilation or 2) improper humidity.

How do you increase egg hatching? ›

If you aren't ready to start hatching the eggs right away or don't have enough eggs collected, you can store them for up to 7 days in a cool (60 degrees or so) spot, at a 45 degree angle, pointy end down. Turning the eggs a few times a day will help keep the yolks centered, which can result in better hatch rates.

How can I increase my egg hatching speed? ›

You can speed up the Egg-hatching process by putting one Pokémon with either the Magma Armor or the Flame Body Ability in your party, and you can also use the Breeding O-Power to further speed up the time it takes to hatch an Egg.

How do you speed up egg hatching? ›

To speed up the hatching process, you can include a Pokémon with the Flame Body, Magma Armor, or Steam Engine Abilities in your party. The most efficient way to hatch eggs is to limit your party so it's just this Pokémon, with eggs taking up the remaining five slots.

Why do some chicken eggs take longer to hatch? ›

Bigger eggs need more total incubation time, as at the same egg shell temperature the embryo will grow at more or less the same rate, but as there are more grams of egg and grams of final chick, it will take longer to hatch.

How do you tell if a chick has died in the egg? ›

You'll see blood pumping through the heart of a tiny, developing embryo if you candle a fertile egg on Day 4. If the embryo dies at this point, you may still see a faint network of blood vessels inside the egg's contents. An embryo dying at this point will show a large, black eye.

What percentage of eggs will hatch? ›

Hatching rates on eggs straight from the coop are often in the 75 to 90 percent range; with mail-order eggs, there is no guarantee that any will hatch. When picking eggs to incubate, use those that are clean, well-formed and full-size.

How do you test if an egg is alive? ›

The best kept secret in determining an egg's freshness is to see if it sinks in water. To try the egg water test, simply fill a glass or bowl with cold water and submerge the eggs. If the eggs sink to the bottom and lay flat on their side, they're still fresh.

Does cayenne pepper help chickens lay eggs? ›

According to old-timers, cayenne pepper can be added to your chickens' feed in the cold months to help warm up your chickens and boost egg production.

Does yogurt help chickens lay eggs? ›

Please be advised that feeding yogurt to hens will NOT, can NOT and does NOT increase egg production! The truth is: chickens are not naturally equipped to digest milk sugars and yogurt can cause diarrhea leading to further health problems.

What time of day do chickens lay eggs? ›

Chickens are busy sleeping at night, and they will not wake up to lay an egg, but gather the strength and energy they need to lay the egg first thing in the morning. With an average production cycle of 26 hours, you can see that your hen will not lay at the exact same time from one day to the next.

What produces more eggs? ›

Top chicken breeds for lots of eggs:

Production Red. Australorp. Rhode Island Red. Golden Comet.

Do roosters help egg production? ›

Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. Without a rooster, your hens' eggs are infertile, so won't develop into chicks. If you do have a rooster, eggs need to be collected daily and kept in a cool place before being used so that they won't develop into chicks.

What's better layer pellets or crumbles? ›

Depending on the brand, this means pellets and crumbles are often nutritionally identical. Layer feed can be sold in both pelleted form and crumble form. However, chick starter feed is most commonly sold as crumbles since those are easiest for chicks to consume.

What improves egg quality? ›

If you are looking to improve your egg quality to aid in fertility, many tips revolve around improving your overall health. Exercising, reducing stress, improving your sleep patterns, and getting proper nutrition can all improve egg health. Some women opt to try supplements to improve their fertility.

Does what you feed chickens affect their eggs? ›

A significant factor in the quality of eggs you purchase is the chickens' diet, as it considerably affects egg production. Good-quality feed makes better eggs.

Will a hen leave her eggs if they dont hatch? ›

Normal eggs take approximately 21 days to develop and start to hatch. If the eggs are not fertile and do not develop at all, it is likely that the hen will abandon her nest and eggs. If no chicks in the eggs, the hen won't hear any peeps or chirps to encourage her to remain on the nest.

What is a dud egg? ›

A dud egg is an infertile egg. 💡Did you know 💡 Like most other egg laying species Crested Geckos can lay infertile eggs. They do not need to breed for this to happen. Not all lizards who lay eggs will lay dud or slug eggs, it is random.

How long can fertilized eggs survive without heat? ›

Some embryos can survive at temperatures below 90°F for up to 18 hours, so do not give up. You should continue to incubate the eggs after the outage; then candle them 4 to 6 days later to see if there has been further development or signs of life.

What do bad eggs look like when candling? ›

The red blood ring - if you're candling the eggs and detect a red ring of blood around the embryo, unfortunately the embryo has deceased and should be removed immediately from the incubator. Oozing substance - sometimes bad eggs will begin to ooze a honey/light brown coloured substance.

How long do you leave a broody hen in a cage? ›

Leave the hen in the cage for 1 to 2 days (with food and water access), and when you take her out, watch to see if she goes right back to the nest box or if she goes to her flock.

How long will a broody hen sit on infertile eggs? ›

A broody hen may sit on unfertilized eggs for six or seven weeks before she gives up. Between the minimal diet and the increased body temperature, that's not good for her health. A broody won't lay eggs.

Can dirty eggs still hatch? ›

Results from this study indicate that properly washed clean or dirty eggs hatch as well as unwashed eggs.

What is the longest eggs take to hatch? ›

The longest incubation was recorded in the case of an egg of the mallee fowl (Leipoa ocellata), Australia, which took 90 days to hatch, compared with its normal 62 days.

Does noise affect hatching eggs? ›

Embryonic growth was not influenced by any experimental factor, but the highest sound pressure level (90 dB) led to earlier hatching, higher hatchability, better chick quality and lower weight at hatching.


1. Raising chickens 101, getting started & what they don't tell you
(Hobby Farm Nutt)
2. 8 Beginner Chicken Care Mistakes To Avoid | Backyard Chickens 101 | Egg Laying Hens and Chicks
(Oak Abode)
3. BACKYARD CHICKENS FOR BEGINNERS | How To Take Care Of Egg Laying Hens the EASY WAY | Urban Poultry
(Oak Abode)
4. FREE RANGING CHICKENS 101 | How To Train Backyard Poultry | PROS & CONS | Caring For Egg Laying Hens
(Oak Abode)
5. First Year REVIEW of New BACKYARD CHICKENS Owners
(Acres Of Adventure Homestead)
6. A Guide to Backyard Eggs / What to know /
(Magnolia Ridge Farm & Gardens)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated: 05/20/2023

Views: 5543

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.