Originally Posted by red horse ranch
I have been rereading your posts rimullins. You said you had been using your own eggs to hatch and I wanted to share my first hatch last weekend. I started out with 28 eggs. Only 15 made it to lockdown. All 15 had live chicks at lockdown. But only 9 of them hatched. The others failed to pip. I think when eggs are collected in January the breeders aren't in top physical condition. Mine had been confined a lot during December and January. The health and age of the breeders has a lot to do with the ability of the chicks to hatch. It's very possible that you didn't do anything wrong.
I have another bunch of eggs incubating now. Out of 33 eggs that I started with only 21 appear to be developing. Hopefully a better percentage of these will actually hatch.
I don't think laying the eggs on their side caused your chicks to drown. I always lay mine on the side. But what is important is to candle them before laying them on their side. The air cell will dip down one side of the egg and this should on the up side of the egg when it is laid in the incubator. This way when the chick internally pips the beak will be in the air cell.
I did an Easter hatch last year with eggs I bought from a local gal. I really wanted eggs out of her silkie pen because she had a SG in there but the silkies weren't laying well and I ended up with only 3 from her silkie pen. Out of 36 that went into lockdown, only 3 did not make it. One of those three hatched, but only with in like 4 hours of pipping and still had a fully functioning vascular system between egg and chick and a ruptured yolk sac. The other two made it all the way to day 19/20 and shrink wrapped tight (I have pics). All her other birds were laying well and hatched perfectly, including Spitzhaubens and black Jap bantams (the rest were mixes). I would put money on the fact that they were laying low quality eggs because of time of year and they weren't regular in their cycle. I vowed I would never buy eggs again unless the birds were laying regularly. So I do think time of year makes a difference- to a certain extent. Plus you have the fact that fertility is often lower during cold winter.
I mark my cells days 7/14/18 to monitor the growth and to have an idea of where the chick should pip.
I do however believe that the majority of eggs that make it to lockdown that don't survive, are usually due to either temps being too low or humidity being too high.