I hatch chickens and occasionally turkeys, not keets, but a lot of the basics are the same. I’ll try to answer. There are a lot of different recommendations out there and we have a lot of different experiences. Consider a whole lot of what you read as opinion more than fact. You are dealing with living animals so you are in the realm of many different things are possible instead of everything happening just like the book says they will.
1. Should I have waited to remove the keets till the hatching was complete, I removed each keet as soon as it was dry as per incubator instruction. Now think I should not have opened the incubator???
1a. How long can the live keets remain in the incubator???
Before the keets, chicks, or poults hatch they absorb the yolk. They can live off of that yolk for at least three days, sometimes as long as five days, without eating and drinking. That’s why they can be shipped in the mail. So you don’t have to remove the keets before three days. Many people do though.
One of the things that can possibly happen when the incubator is too dry is that a membrane that forms around the chick during development can dry out and shrink around the chick, preventing it from hatching. It’s called shrink wrap. One of the ways the incubator can possibly dry out enough to shrink wrap a chick is if you open the incubator after the eggs have external pip and let the moisture out. Many people open the incubator just as you did and do not shrink wrap the chick. Since it is possible I consider it good practice to not open the incubator once they have started hatching since it is possible you can cause harm, but if I have an emergency in the incubator I will open it and manage the problem.
Did you cause a problem by opening the incubator? I don’t know.
2. Some eggs appear to have started the hatch process and stopped, ???? Are they dead
The hatching process is a busy time for the chick. It has to position itself for hatch, dry up blood vessels it no longer needs in the egg and absorb that blood, absorb the yolk, do something to that liquid it has been living in so the down dries nice and fluffy instead of plastered down, learn to breathe air instead of living in that liquid environment, and who knows what else. The basic sequence of hatch is that the chick pecks a hole in the air cell and learns to breathe air (called internal pip), pecks a hole in the egg shell when that air starts to run out so it can breathe (called external pip), then cuts the shell in a circle so it can force its way out (called zip). Some chicks do a lot of this before internal pip. These generally pop out fairly soon after external pip. Some wait until after external pip to do a lot of this. These can take a long time between external pip and zip. I’ve had chicken and turkey eggs wait more than 24 hours after external pip before they zip. They are not consistent and yes, these do worry us.
Not all eggs that pip complete the hatch. There can be a lot of different reasons for this, not just the shrink wrap I mentioned above. I don’t know if those eggs are dead or not. I generally find that patience is best in these situations but even if I were there looking at them I still might not be able to tell.
3. When and how and why do you candle???
4. How do I store eggs waiting to be incubated???
There is a lot of good information in the Learning Center above. Here is a link. Some time reading might help.
Some people candle, some don’t. There can be different reasons for this. For a lot of us it is just fun to candle and observe progress. Some people use it to help with their hatching. And there are many different ways to candle, anywhere from building a nice candler to holding a flashlight up to the egg in the dark. There are articles in the learning center about candling.
There are a lot of different suggestions on how to store eggs for hatching. Try to store them where it is relatively cool and humid, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit is “best”. I don’t have any place that cool and with high humidity so I keep them at room temperature in a spare bedroom out of direct sunlight and away from air vents. It’s the best I can reasonably do and it seems to work. Try to avoid temperature swings from warm to cool while storing them. This is hard on the embryo. You are supposed to store them pointy side down so the air cell is at the top. This is fairly important. You want to air cell to stay on the top so the chick can find it and peck into it when it internally pips. If you store the eggs more than a week before starting incubation you should turn the eggs to keep the yolk centered. Most of us turn them when we start storing them.
The closer you can store them to ideal conditions the longer the eggs will be viable. Usually you can keep them for one week even in less than perfect conditions. If your conditions are pretty perfect you may be able to go two weeks and still do really well. It’s possible to keep them longer but hatchability really starts to drop after this.