How To Tell If A Chick Has Died In The Egg, (9 Ways To Tell)

Incubating your chicken eggs at the right temperature doesn’t always mean that they’re going to hatch and produce chicks. We can hope that they do, but this isn’t always the case. This article explores how to tell if a chick has died in the egg 

Signs that a chick has died in an egg can be seen, heard, or felt early on, a cracked eggshell, a cold egg, a lack of peeping can all mean that the bird has died in the egg 

How to tell if a chick has died in the egg

Lack of Movement:

Live chicks will react to stimulants even if they’re in the egg, dead chicks will not move no matter what you do.

If the egg is in an incubator, and it never moves, then you can be pretty sure that it has died in the egg. Placing the egg in a bowl filled with warm water and watching if it moves or not can also help you figure out what’s going on inside the egg

Temperature test:

Live chicks will release body heat, even when they’re inside an egg. Eggs that contain dead chickens will be cold to the touch. If you touch a chicken egg, and it’s cold, then the chick is likely dead.

A cracked eggshell:

The eggshell is the protective layer that keeps growing chicks alive, if the shell cracks, then pathogens and bacteria will enter the egg and harm the still growing bird. If you notice that your eggshell is cracked, then the bird inside the shell is likely dead.

If the contents of the egg are spilling out of the egg, then it’s very likely that the bird is dead 

Old eggs: 

Eggs can take longer than 21 days to hatch. Some eggs will hatch on the 24th or even on the 25th day. Read more here

If your egg isn’t hatching on the 25th day, then the chick has likely died in the egg. The reasons why your egg has died in the egg, and has not hatched, may be genetic, incorrect settings on the incubator, or bad luck



Smelling nitrogen on your bird eggs is quite normal. This happens when waste is released from the egg. On the other hand, if the egg smells like sulfur, then this likely means that the bird inside of the egg is dead.

Looking inside the egg: 

You don’t have to crack the egg to see inside the egg, you can do this by performing the flashlight test. The flashlight test entails shining a bright light behind the egg, while in a dark room, to see what is inside.

A dead chick in the egg will not move in response to light, a live chick will move in response to the light wondering where the light is coming from 

Peeping sounds:

A chick will start to peep close to hatching time. These peeping sounds can also be heard when you candle the egg. The chick will peep as it tries to figure out where the light is coming from.

If you candle your egg between day 21 and 25, and there is no peeping, then the bird is likely dead. 

Tapping sounds: 

Tapping sounds are a sign that the bird in the egg is alive, hearing these sounds means that the bird is trying to get out of the egg and hatch.

If there are no tapping sounds coming from inside the egg towards the end of the eggs life, then the bird is likely dead 

Abandoned egg: 

Parent birds know when their eggs have problems. If the egg that you’re referring to is in the wild, then the mother will abandon the egg if the chick in the egg is dead. This egg will be left for predators to eat. 


In conclusion, you’ll know that a chick inside an egg is dead if it is cold to the touch, if there is a crack in the eggshell (especially if the contents of the shell is flowing out) if there is a bad smell coming from the egg, if your egg is older than 24/25 days old, if there are no peeps or movements coming from the egg and if there is no movement in the egg when you candle the egg to look into it. 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Chicken Swollen Leg Joint, Chicken Feathers Ripped Out, Chicken Comb Turning Black In Summer, Chicken Comb Pale and Drooping,

How To Tell If A Chick Has Died In The Egg, (9 Ways To Tell)
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