The COLD Test
(Are the unhatched eggs alive or rotten?)


What about the eggs that did not hatch?

Candle tool

Well I could candle the unhatched eggs.

(Turkeys and chickens in the background waiting for the good or bad news about the egg)


I could do the "Cold Egg Test"

27 days and I was worried. The following day baby turkeys should hatch out. There should pipped eggs today.

I had been lifting the hen for the past five days, inspecting eggs for new air holes. My concern was there were too many eggs in the nest and I was going to arrange the pipped eggs (hatching eggs) to the outside of the group (fat end out), so the poults could hatch easier. 

However day 27 had arrived with no apparent egg activity. Had I marked the calendar incorrectly for 28 days?

And the other problem….Last week the hen had carried at least one rotten (unfertilized) egg away from her nest.

So were any of the eggs fertile?

I decided to do a “Cold Test” on the eggs.  The cold test is a simple method I discovered by accident that gives very accurate indication of whether the eggs are alive or rotten.

Note: I could candle the eggs, but the cold test is reliable and I do not have to hunt down the candle tool and light.

 The cold test is simply to let an egg that is ready to hatch sit by itself for approximately 10 minutes.

Note: The cold test only works with eggs that are due to hatch in 5-10 days.

A rotten egg will go cold in 5 minutes.   Bury immediately!

A live egg will stay warm, even hot.  Give back to mother or place in the incubator.

A few of the eggs will be in the 'half-way' position, warm but not cold. (These eggs, -back to mom or the incubator for now.....)

Story in Photographs:

"Test" Mom on guard

Well, she is guarding her eggs and I forgot the archery wrist guard....

The COLD test...... (Gloves are so eggs do not roll off the table)

FAILS! These eggs turned cold in less than 10 minutes.

All of the warm eggs were returned to their mother. As it was, it turned out that most of the warm eggs were also "pecking" when you placed the egg to your ear.

These eggs marked with red tape were the "Maybes"--Neither cold or hot. They were marked and placed in an incubator to be tested again in a few days.

Day 28, & little turkeys under the hen. -two Blue slates (silver), three Royal Palms (yellow) two Wild, (brown) and 6 Spanish blacks (black with white heads)

If you are familiar with turkeys, you will recognize the poult the above picture is a wild or wild cross turkey, yet the mother is a Blue slate.

Two things going on....

1.  "Other" hens have been laying eggs in her nest. Especially a black hen.

2.  I shuffled some eggs around during the pre-incubation stage.

One reason I shuffle the eggs, is so the mothers will have babes of all colors and in the event of an emergency I can add new babies to this mother's brood and she will not notice the new off color poult is not hers.

Royal Palm poult

The red taped eggs in the incubator? One hatched out on day 29.

I performed a second "cold test" and two eggs failed.

Two others I placed back in the incubator. One hatched out on Day 31 and the remaining egg? The poult below was full week late!

This cutie was not only a week late, (he or she) was peeping at the wrong end!

I have seen turkeys hatch successfully from the wrong end of egg, so I just watched. However after 8 hours of not going past a large air hole, I opened the egg. The little turkeys back had dried and it could not spin and peck, to cut out of the egg.

It is doing fine under mom!

Have make a comment: at the excellent website HeritageTurkeysUK in the egg hatching section there is a description of "tough love"---Basically their philosophy not to assist turkey poults from escaping their eggs because that would allow weak birds into their flock. --I understand the concept....however the poult in the photo was/is a heathy turkey, but the feathers were stuck to the inside of the shell, not allowing the baby to rotate and cut with the egg tooth. A humidity issue. (too low)

And the baby needed my help. How could I refuse?

So that is a personal choice & I cave. Help when needed.

Mom and babes on their first walk!

Please review the wonderful page at backyard

FYI, I found the link at a cool site:     Raising Happy Chickens

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