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Day 18, 19, and 20 and Air Cell is too small. Anything I can do? My first hatch/experiment with our free ranger's eggs.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've seen life and movement in these eggs when candling at day 14+ but I must have had the humidity too high (an old 6 pack sized plastic cooler with a heat pad at the bottom, a computer fan on top, and wet paper towel draped on the sides) because the air cell at day 18 and 19 looked about like it's supposed to look at day 7. 

 

I've read that my chicks can drown but is there anything I can do to salvage them? I've since bought a Hovabator and all the water is out of the trays now that I know what can happen with humidity too high. Sad mistake... but hopefully I can salvage the rest. I see movement when candling.

 

I wasn't really planning to get into hatching eggs... I figured my hen and rooster are producing fertile eggs so why not put a few in my experimental hatcher/cooler, try to keep it at 98 to 101 ish and see what happens. It's free and it's here so why not? I put them one at a time into my cooler as our hen laid them... Surprisingly the eggs actually grew and formed into chicks. So here I am now accidentally into a new hobby. Once I saw the movement in the eggs, I decided I should learn a little more.

 

However, one big mistake, I figured I better have humidity and went a little too humid I guess. Is there anything I can do to save the chicks once they pip the membrane? The eggs that are hatching are horizontal now that they're in lock down, but is it best to have the egg laid with the air cell down, up, or horizontal?

 

These birds are New Hampshires. They're tough birds and have lived for over a year with little human intervention or even feed for that matter (they prefer the forest to bag feed). Hopefully the chicks are as tough as the parents are.


Edited by 777funk - 5/19/16 at 2:07pm
post #2 of 9
What the humidity guage read?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

What humidity gauge? I know... I know... but as mentioned in the first post, it was a case of... hmm... we have all these fertile eggs, why not throw them in the little cooler with a heat pad and see what happens. I had a thermometer and it seemed to hover around 99 to 100F most of the time. But I had no way to measure humidity. Still don't really. I picked up some old mercury thermometers and will try the wet bulb test.

 

But yes, this batch was just to see if it'd work. I was a little surprised to see moving chicks at day 14.

post #4 of 9
Lol well now ya know you have to have one.. hope ya get the Kinks worked out
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Picked up one at Walmart last night. Hopefully it's Accu-rite. EDIT: tested the $9 Acu-rite indoor digital thermometer/hygrometer against the Hovabator included thermometer and a Sargent-Welch mercury thermometer and the Acu-rite read 3 degrees cooler than the glass units mentioned. I'm guessing the Acu-rite is the problem.

 

The first egg pipped on day 20 (really small external pip at the top (up while egg is laying horizontally) center of the shell). That was last night. This morning there is no new action with the egg. Today is day 21 for that egg.


Edited by 777funk - 5/23/16 at 10:56am
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Somehow the chick still hatched healthy (pipped day 20 waited another 12 hours for day 21 to put a hole in the shell then cut around the shell and out an hour later). Pretty surprised. Got another due today


Edited by 777funk - 5/21/16 at 8:08am
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Had a second one pip through the shell and could see the cracked shell moving with breaths, but hasn't hatched yet. It's been 12 hours. Today is day 21 for that one. We'll see! I had the one between the first one (which hatched) and this one that died around day 20 with no visible pip.

 

First the pictures of the very first bird to hatch (on schedule at day 21):

 

 

 

 

Next the one immediately after it in schedule which died at day 20 I believe. I dissected the egg at day 23:

 

 

 

 


Edited by 777funk - 5/23/16 at 8:19am
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Had a third that was supposed to hatch today that pipped through the shell yesterday. I could see it breathing (the pip moving) as I checked it once in a while. It was about to zip and turned the shell's pip downward. No more movement at the beak as of today so I cut that one open. There was no fluid at the beak but it gave up before it could zip.


Edited by 777funk - 5/23/16 at 11:05am
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

Had 2 die so far and 3 hatch. The last hatches have had less trouble and smaller air cells since I've since reduced the humidity. It seems like the mistake can be caught and remedied to a certain extent if caught before lockdown time.

 

Now I know! Better too low than too high. I've been shooting for 75% humidity upon lock down and 40-50% during regular incubation.


Edited by 777funk - 5/25/16 at 10:24am
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Incubating & Hatching Eggs › Day 18, 19, and 20 and Air Cell is too small. Anything I can do? My first hatch/experiment with our free ranger's eggs.