Originally Posted by BigWeenMachine
Okay, so I have 6 eggs I am getting to put into lockdown and this is the first time I have ever hatched eggs in an incubator. They are duck eggs that I collected out of my yard. 3 were put in on the night of 3/9, 2 were put in on the morning of 3/10 and one was put in on the morning of 3/11. How should I proceed with lockdown???
One problem that throws a monkey wrench in this equation is that the incubator I used for the first 7 days ran up and down on temps and then once I moved them to a better incubator I acquired, they ran about 96.8 degrees for 3 days until I got an accurate thermometer to adjust the temp up to 99.5. So much stress happened to these eggs yet they still have lil ducklings kicking inside.
Sunday night marks the end of 25 days for the first 3. Should I put them all in tomorrow night at the same time or maybe wait until Monday afternoon to put them in lockdown??? Or does it really matter that much if I put the first three in Sunday night, the next 2 on monday morning, and the last one on Tuesday morning??? Does it really kill the chicks to open the bator during lockdown, and what if I spray some water mist into the bator before I shut it to get the humidity to rise up quickly again??? As long as the humidity comes right back up again wouldn't it be okay to open the bator???
Seeing as they are all within 3 days of first set, it's actually not that bas as long as your air cells look good. Now, considering the low temps in the beginning you will probably see a delay in the hatch anyway. So you have a few options here. You can go into lockdown as normal, you can wait a day and lockdown on the middle set's date or if you don't get any pips before you can wait until the third day to go into lockdown. If your air cells are nice and big and where they need to be, I'd probably wait the extra day and then go into lockdown. If they are small and need more time, I'd wait until the first one pips or until the air cells measure better.
No opening the bator during lockdown has no certainty of death, as a matter of fact, if you have decent humidity, it poses very little risk as long as you are not holding the bator open for an extended period of time, and your humidity recovers once you shut it. Yes, you can mist it before you close it to help with humidity.
I believe the biggest risk you run is having the membrane around the pip drying and possibly sticking to the chick. (Which can also happen if you never open the bator.) If you at any point see the membranes around the pip turning yellowish/brown, and leathery, it needs to be moistened and you need to check the inner membrane to make sure it's not becoming stuck to the chick. If it is, you moisten it an loosen it from the chick, and usually, problem solved.
I open my bator frequently during hatch (too frequently to count,) I have never had a chick (I do chickens) shrink wrap or die during pip or zip. I keep my humidity at 70-75% (I prefer 75%) and it often shoots up over 80% once they start hatching. I use this to my advantage and I remove hatchlings as they become active, pull shells and roll over pippers that have been knocked. I also assist if I need to (or think I need to .) Being hands on and opening at hatch isn't for everyone, but you can be just as succesfull as hand off too.