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Help me be a better egg hatcher!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

 

I've been popping in here recently with incubating questions. This batch (my first) has finished and wasn't especially successful. I want to give a 'report' of everything I did and I would LOVE criticisms and advice about it. I want to be a better egg hatcher! I have a friend who is hopefully bringing me some Trader Joe eggs in a week and I would love to get into Welsummers (which don't seem to be around here, so would probably need to order eggs). I want to improve! Ok here goes...

 

On May 2 (Monday) I picked up 1/2 dozen Ameracauna eggs from a local lady. I put them in my basement. On May 3 (Tuesday) I picked up 6 LF Cochin eggs and 6 Olive Eggers from another local lady. That afternoon I put them into my LG Still Air incubator. The 'bator was borrowed from a friend who last used it last year. She said it was clean, so I didn't do anything to it.

 

I laid them on their sides straight into the 'bator.I had an extra accurate digital thermometer in there. I also had an Accurite humidity monitor (but am questioning its accuracy cause it was always the close to the same as the one on the 'bator). I turned them that night and the next morning then went out and bought an automatic egg turner! I also read about adding stones to the base to help distribute heat. I spent about 15 minutes that afternoon messing around with everything.

 

For the first 2 days I messed with the temp trying to get into be around 101.5 degrees, but this kept jacking it up so I eventually settled for a steady 100.5 It basically stayed this the whole time.

 

I did not mess with it at all except for candling on Day 7, 10, and 14. I marked the egg cells which followed the chart. One egg definitely did not look good, but the others did. Humidity generally about 45%.

 

I candled them on Day 17 (as I was going to be away on Day 18). Air cells like the graph and very dark on the pointy end. Also felt heavy. Thought we saw a foot in one.

 

Day 19 got a little messy. I turned the egg turner off and was planning on putting the eggs into baskets to keep the breeds separate. Except my baskets wouldn't fit in the 'bator! The egg turner also was turned off in mid turn so was leaning one way. I then cut up egg cartons, put holes in the bottoms and arranged the eggs by breed that way. I put them back in, on top of the egg turner and put in a wet sponge. Probably took about 15 minutes. I took out the other vent plug (so now both open). Temp returned to 100.5, but humidity never really changed. Would drip water onto sponge through vent hole throughout the day.

 

Day 21 (Tuesday) came and went. Day 22 nothing seemed to be happening so we opened the top window and started candling them. My mom noticed a tiny hole in one, so we popped it back in and closed the window (redampening the sponge). Hazel the Ameracauna hatched in the night and is so far doing fine.

 

Late Wednesday afternoon, Pearl the Cochin followed suit. By Thursday, 3 other eggs had pips now. Mabel the Olive Egger hatched at midnight and another one hatched in the early hours of Friday morning. She stayed very sticky and only lived a few hours (acted oddly the whole time). The other pipped egg had pipped in the wrong spot and we tried to intervene, but think it was dead by the time we did. I did add an extra damp sponge when we went in. And I took out each chick as it dried, but went in through the window and rewet the sponge each time. the only time I took off the lid was to retrieve the chick that eventually died because she had gotten herself stuck in a weird spot (I also didn't think I was going to get anymore living chicks, so was trying to save what we had).

 

So, out of 18 eggs we ended up with 3 chicks that lived. One of each breed. From different spots in the incubator (post me arranging them in egg cartons).

 

I have 3 local people who are incubating now using the same 'bator all telling me they're having issues as well and it must be 'something in the air.' But that can't be, can it? We're creating our own environment in the 'bator? Just an excuse for making mistakes?

 

Thank you for reading this whole thing and PLEASE, any comments are really appreciated!

post #2 of 7

I'm sorry to hear you had such a disappointing hatch! It sounds from what you said above that you did everything right though, so the problem could be with the eggs maybe? Here is a troubleshooting guide to hatch failures, day-by-day, that may help shed some light on this:

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/egg-failure-to-hatch-diagnosing-incubation-problems

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

Reply

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

Reply
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sumi View Post
 

I'm sorry to hear you had such a disappointing hatch! It sounds from what you said above that you did everything right though, so the problem could be with the eggs maybe? Here is a troubleshooting guide to hatch failures, day-by-day, that may help shed some light on this:

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/egg-failure-to-hatch-diagnosing-incubation-problems

Thanks for that, I really appreciate your reply.

Looking at that link, my best guesses are...

1. My incubating temp was on the low side. So, should I really work at trying to stabilize it at 101.5 for the best chance (LG still air)?

2. Some of the eggs may have been a bit old. We had terrible weather and I know one of the woman had trouble getting enough eggs for my order because her hens weren't laying. So some of them were maybe 8-9 days when I set them.

3. It's possible the eggs were from older hens. I have no idea.

Any other people spot any ways I can improve?

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Anyone else able to offer advice? I'd really appreciate it!

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanamarie View Post
 

Anyone else able to offer advice? I'd really appreciate it!

I ditto the temp issue.

 

While most people will only set eggs a week or less the recommendation is 10 days or less so 8/9 days isn't bad. My next to the last hatch I had my Spitzhauben eggs in there and collected 9 over 10 days (I only have the one Spitz hen) and had one early quitter and one after lockdown quitter. So 7/9.  The early quitter was my oldest egg the other quitter was a fresher egg.

 

I use the older Little Giant model (9200) but the fan was installed in mine. I will say that if you aren't in a high altitude and can run dry and have your humidity stay above 25%, I would run dry and monitor air cells to know how to adjust.  I prefer 30% humidity, Anything over 40% generally (unless the air cells tell me differently) makes me uncomfortable. There's only been once so far that the air cells yelled "more humidity"! and that was my shipped silkie eggs that were tiny and needed a higher humidity. (12/14 that made it to lockdown hatched so apparently they knew what they needed. ;)   I ended up incubating between 40-50% and man was that uncomfortable for me....lol)  I use this method and highly recommend it, especially for styros, but pretty much most table top incubators: http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com/blog/throw-away-those-incubator-manuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity

 

Overall from beginning to end, this is my hatch process (warning, this is from a hands on perspective, so may be a little more "liberal"  than most guides you will read): http://hatching411.weebly.com/

 

Overall I average between 80-100% hatch rates. Highest being my pullet hatch at 100%    The smallest hatch I have ever set was my last hatch with only 13 eggs set. The largest was 42 at set with 36 at lockdown and 33 hatching.

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply

Need help incubating/hatching? Are you more a hands on hatcher? Come visit us: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1081034/hands-on-hatching-and-help

A guide to hatching from the hands on perspective: http://hatching411.weebly.com/

Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyLynn2374 View Post
 

I ditto the temp issue.

 

While most people will only set eggs a week or less the recommendation is 10 days or less so 8/9 days isn't bad. My next to the last hatch I had my Spitzhauben eggs in there and collected 9 over 10 days (I only have the one Spitz hen) and had one early quitter and one after lockdown quitter. So 7/9.  The early quitter was my oldest egg the other quitter was a fresher egg.

 

I use the older Little Giant model (9200) but the fan was installed in mine. I will say that if you aren't in a high altitude and can run dry and have your humidity stay above 25%, I would run dry and monitor air cells to know how to adjust.  I prefer 30% humidity, Anything over 40% generally (unless the air cells tell me differently) makes me uncomfortable. There's only been once so far that the air cells yelled "more humidity"! and that was my shipped silkie eggs that were tiny and needed a higher humidity. (12/14 that made it to lockdown hatched so apparently they knew what they needed. ;)   I ended up incubating between 40-50% and man was that uncomfortable for me....lol)  I use this method and highly recommend it, especially for styros, but pretty much most table top incubators: http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com/blog/throw-away-those-incubator-manuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity

 

Overall from beginning to end, this is my hatch process (warning, this is from a hands on perspective, so may be a little more "liberal"  than most guides you will read): http://hatching411.weebly.com/

 

Overall I average between 80-100% hatch rates. Highest being my pullet hatch at 100%    The smallest hatch I have ever set was my last hatch with only 13 eggs set. The largest was 42 at set with 36 at lockdown and 33 hatching.

Thank you for that. I read the humidity link and will read your hatch approach when my kids let me. Thanks again!

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyLynn2374 View Post
 

I ditto the temp issue.

 

While most people will only set eggs a week or less the recommendation is 10 days or less so 8/9 days isn't bad. My next to the last hatch I had my Spitzhauben eggs in there and collected 9 over 10 days (I only have the one Spitz hen) and had one early quitter and one after lockdown quitter. So 7/9.  The early quitter was my oldest egg the other quitter was a fresher egg.

 

I use the older Little Giant model (9200) but the fan was installed in mine. I will say that if you aren't in a high altitude and can run dry and have your humidity stay above 25%, I would run dry and monitor air cells to know how to adjust.  I prefer 30% humidity, Anything over 40% generally (unless the air cells tell me differently) makes me uncomfortable. There's only been once so far that the air cells yelled "more humidity"! and that was my shipped silkie eggs that were tiny and needed a higher humidity. (12/14 that made it to lockdown hatched so apparently they knew what they needed. ;)   I ended up incubating between 40-50% and man was that uncomfortable for me....lol)  I use this method and highly recommend it, especially for styros, but pretty much most table top incubators: http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com/blog/throw-away-those-incubator-manuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity

 

Overall from beginning to end, this is my hatch process (warning, this is from a hands on perspective, so may be a little more "liberal"  than most guides you will read): http://hatching411.weebly.com/

 

Overall I average between 80-100% hatch rates. Highest being my pullet hatch at 100%    The smallest hatch I have ever set was my last hatch with only 13 eggs set. The largest was 42 at set with 36 at lockdown and 33 hatching.


​Read your hatch guide - thanks!

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