Why do Chicken Eggs not Hatch?

Raising chickens can be a lucrative and less stressful business than other farming projects. Suppose you want to raise chickens for eggs or meat. In that case, you’ll need to learn how to properly care for them, which involves keeping an eye on the incubator temperature for chicken eggs and maintaining the ideal environment for them to hatch. However, the road to a successful company will not be easy, particularly if you don’t know much about raising these birds and providing them with a comfortable environment. Even if they have all they need, not all of their eggs will hatch, resulting in new chickens’ birth, which could be a setback for your company. Let us look at the incubation process and find out why some of the eggs don’t get fertilized.

How are chickens born?

Hens begin developing eggs at the age of 6-7 weeks, depending on their size and breed. In nearly all birds and animals, both sexes are required to deliver an infant, and hens are no exception. Chickens, on the other hand, do not need a male or a rooster to lay eggs. They can do so on their own, but the rooster’s sperm will be needed to fertilize an egg and create a living offspring. Without it, the eggs will remain unfertilized and, therefore, will not hatch.

Another fascinating feature of chickens is that not all of the eggs are fertilized and hatch. To get a chance of developing into a living form, an egg must be held at 99 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 24 hours and then at a similar temperature for the next 21 days, known as the incubation period. Female chickens have two modes of operation: “laying eggs” and “sitting on eggs.” When her nest is filled with eggs, which generally number about a dozen, the bird will turn from one to the other.

The second process, known as “brooding,” is the last one that aids in the hatching of eggs. The hen rarely leaves the incubator to feed, rest, or stretch during the brooding period because she must keep the eggs warm as much as necessary for them to hatch. She also becomes more protective of her nest and will not let anyone else near it. On the other hand, chickens raised artificially and on an industrial scale cannot frequently eat brood since they only need to lay eggs, not to hatch them. As a result, most of them will continue to lay eggs that will not be fertilized by a rooster because he is no longer needed.

Why aren’t store-bought eggs hatching?

If you purchased a dozen eggs from the supermarket in the hopes of starting your mini-farm, you’d be disappointed to find that they won’t hatch. The explanation for this is simple: hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs, and fertilization cannot occur without him.

Chickens continue to lay eggs easily collected by farmers each morning and delivered to the stores where you purchase them. Even if there’s a chance a rooster fertilized the chicken eggs you’re buying, they’re kept in cool places where temperatures aren’t nearly as high as the 100 degrees Fahrenheit needed for incubation.

Why fertile eggs don’t hatch?

Hatching chickens from fertilized chicken eggs are more of a guessing game than an exact science. There are other explanations why not all fertilized eggs will hatch, which often has to do with infertility in either the rooster or the hen. Males that are immature or old roosters frequently have sperm issues, which may lead to infertility. Female chickens will suffer the same fate if they are too young or too old. Another factor that could prevent the eggs from hatching is the presence of overweight breeders, most of whom are males. Fertility issues may also be caused by improper feeding or a lack of nutrients for your birds.

Chickens, despite their toughness, can contract diseases or become infected with mites or parasites, which can lead to infertility. Finally, poor living conditions can impair a rooster’s sperm quality, reducing the likelihood of chicken eggs hatching. Allowing your chickens to roam freely can put them under additional stress if you don’t have enough space. When many birds share a small space or when too many females share the same male chicken, similar effects occur.

How to prevent fertility problems

Even though certain chicken eggs can “fail to launch” no matter how much time you devote to caring for your flock, the majority of infertility issues can be resolved.

Your chicks’ immune system and fertility will be boosted by proper feeding with high-quality, organic ingredients. However, before modifying your birds’ diet, consult a specialist or a veterinarian to ensure that it consists of all vitamins and minerals essential for healthy development. It’s vital to look at eggs that don’t hatch to see whether infertility or embryo death is the cause of the failure. Infertile eggs and those containing a dead embryo can also contaminate viable eggs, reducing hatching success.

Some Reasons for Poor Hatches of Chicken eggs

  • Inadequate temperature or humidity regulation is a common cause of poor hatching performance. The embryo’s natural growth and development are harmed when the temperature or humidity is too high or too low for an extended period.
  • In a still air incubator, maintain the temperature as close to 100.5 degrees F. as possible during the entire incubation cycle to ensure the best possible hatch. There may be a two- or three-degree fluctuation above or below 100.5 degrees F, but no sustained periods of high or low temperatures are anticipated. High temperatures are hazardous.
  • An incubator kept warm, averaging just above 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit, is more likely to create an early hatch. One that is run at a low temperature, below 100.5 degrees F, can generate a late hatch.
  • Place the thermometer bulb on a level with the place where the embryos will begin to grow in the eggs to get the correct temperature reading. When the egg is on its side, this is about 1/4 inch below the shell’s top surface. This includes eggs from chickens, ducks, pheasants, quail, and other birds. The thermometer’s bulb should never come into contact with an egg.

Check the temperature with the thermometer. Is it correct?

  • A one-degree error can severely hamper embryonic development over 21 days.
  • Place the bulb of the incubator thermometer next to the clinical’s bulb (orally used to monitor body temperature) or laboratory thermometer to check it. Compare the readings after keeping under lukewarm tap water. Make any required adjustments to the incubator thermometer.
  • A thermometer with a broken mercury column will not have accurate readings.
  • In a still-air incubator, the humidity is not too high. In most cases, it is minimal. As a result, the water pan should cover at least half of the incubator’s surface area.
  • Throughout the last three days of incubation, the humidity should be increased. This can be accomplished by adding another water pan or a wet sponge. Embryos need a lot of moisture to hatch correctly and quickly. A late hatch is more likely when the humidity is high, while an early hatch is more likely when it is low.
  • During the last three days of incubation, do not transform the chicken eggs. The embryos are in the process of hatching and do not need to be rotated. Close the incubator to maintain the proper temperature and humidity, but don’t close it entirely because the embryo needs oxygen.
  • Don’t forget to cover the incubator’s screen floor with a sheet, preferably crinoline. This prevents damage to the navel, which is where the intestine closes after enclosing the yolk remnants. It also makes it simpler to clean the incubator. The lower the fertility, the longer the eggs are kept before being sent. Attempt to hatch eggs until they hit the age of ten days. Fertility will drop to zero after three weeks.
  • Allow the newly hatched chicks to dry out before they fluff up in the incubator. After that, we placed them in a brooding unit.


  • To determine the fertility and condition of the eggs, use a candle.
  • Inspect and disinfect the incubator.
  • Check the incubator’s settings, particularly the temperature.
  • Ascertain that the incubator is put in a secure location. Incubators should be held in a room with a temperature that stays in the 70s.

Most incubators, including the Mini Advance, can operate at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hatchability can occur at temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature decreases below 60 degrees or rises above 90 degrees, no incubator, even the most expensive skilled incubators, would be able to maintain the proper temperature inside the device to ensure hatching. Incubators should not be installed in areas with direct sunlight.

Nutritional deficiencies:

Death or physical signs will arise depending on the severity of malnutrition. Please see the following:

Vitamin A: 

Death occurs after around 48 hours of incubation due to failure of the circulatory system to develop; kidney, eye, and skeleton abnormalities.

Vitamin D: 

Death occurred after 18 or 19 days of incubation, with malposition, soft bones, and an apparent defect in the upper beak.

Vitamin E: 

Early death, with hemorrhaging and circulatory failure, after 84 to 96 hours of incubation (implicated with selenium).


High embryonic mortality during emergence but no apparent symptoms in those who survive other than polyneuritis.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B 2): 

Mortality peaks at 60 hours, 14 days, and 20 days after incubation, with early peaks becoming more pronounced as the deficiency worsens. Embryo defects include abnormal limb and beak growth, dwarfism, and down clubbing.


The embryo from tryptophan easily synthesizes niacin. When specific antagonists are given during the incubation period, various bone and beak malformations occur.


Parrot beak, chondrodystrophy, multiple skeletal deformities, and webbing between the toes all lead to a high death rate after 19 to 21 days of incubation.

Pantothenic acid: 

Deaths occur after 14 days of incubation, though minor levels may delay the emergence of problems.


Antivitamin use causes early embryonic death.

Folic acid: 

After about 20 days of incubation, death occurs. The dead usually appear fine, but many have beak malformations, a bent tibiotarsus (long leg bone), and syndactyly (fused toes).

Vitamin B 12: 

Atrophy of the legs, edema, hemorrhaging, fatty organs, and head between thighs malposition all contributed to death after about 20 days of incubation.


Before emergence, death rates are at their highest. Dwarfism, chondrodystrophy, long-bone shortening, head malformations, edema, and irregular feathering are all common.


Deaths before emergence, as well as the presence of rump lessness, vertebral column depletion, underdeveloped eyes, and missing limbs.


Hatching time is extended, thyroid size is decreased, and abdominal closure is incomplete.


Candled eggs have a low hematocrit, low blood hemoglobin, and poor extra-embryonic circulation.

See also Free Range Chickens Farming

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