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Newbie hatching question

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Although we've kept a laying flock for more than twenty years, My son and I are hatching for the first time. So far, we are finding the experience both exhilarating and stressful. And we have had so many questions along the way.

We set 24 eggs in our incubator. The first chick hatched out around 7:30 yesterday morning. Since then at least six more have hatched.

Here's my question: how long can the first chicks remain in the incubator without food/water? I know that they are okay for the first 24 hrs., but how much longer...if at all?

We've read that you're not supposed to open the incubator during a hatch, and we don't want to put the remaining eggs at risk, but we also don't want to chance losing the chicks that have successfully hatched.

What we'd like to do is pull out the hatched chicks at a point where we don't see any pips in the remaining eggs. That way we can leave the remainder in the incubator...just in case there are a few more late comers. ((We know that a 50% hatch rate is about the best we can hope for).

The humidity in the incubator is perfect, and the room is also quite warm and humid, so I don't think either will drop too much if we're quick, but we're not sure.

Can anyone please advise us?
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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post #2 of 6
Before they hatch the chicks absorb the yolk. They can live off of that yolk at least three days, sometimes a little longer. That’s why they can be mailed. I’ve seen a chick hatch on a Monday and the broody hen not take it off the nest until Friday, that chick was fine, but I’d use three full days as my maximum.

About opening the incubator. It is possible to shrink-wrap unhatched but pipped eggs by lowering the humidity when you open the incubator. It is possible you will have a fender bender the next time you travel in a vehicle. Neither happen that often but they do happen. I find it prudent to drive responsibly when I drive. I find it prudent to not open the incubator during hatch. But if I have a reason to open the incubator during hatch, I will. I have several times. Yes I did shrink wrap a chick once doing that but I usually don’t. Sometimes you have to decide the best way forward when neither choice is ideal.

I assume those are shipped eggs. I’ve had 100% hatch rate with shipped eggs in an incubator. I’ve had 25% hatch rate with shipped eggs in an incubator. I haven’t had 0% with shipped eggs yet but I have with a broody hen. Usually my broody hens do better than I do with an incubator. I see that 50% thing with shipped eggs all the time. That’s not my experience from individual hatches. Each hatch is unique, whether in an incubator or under a broody hen. You generally don’t get great hatch rates with shipped eggs, but don’t look at 50% as some law of nature. There is no telling what rate you will get, but you are at least sure it won’t be zero. So far you are doing great, I hope it continues that way for you. Please update this thread to tell us how it works out for you.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice! We now have 8 chicks out and at least 2 more pipped. After a lot of agonizing, we decided to remove the first 7, so we raised the room humidity (with a separate humidifier) and worked quickly to grab out the chicks. Before closing the lid we put a wet paper towel in the incubator to help restore the humidity. It retuned to 65% pretty quickly.

We're really happy with our hatch rate so far, but are keeping our fingers crossed that it will go up a bit more. The latest chick in the incubator has managed to roll one of the pipped eggs so I now think it's upside down. So not sure what will happen to that chick.

We've decided to let nature run its course and hope for the best. Only time will tell if this was the right decision.

What is your experience with fiesty chicks rolling the unmatched eggs around?

Is there something we should/could have done to prevent this?
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
Reply
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
Reply
post #4 of 6
Some people worry about the chicks playing rugby with the unhatched eggs. I don’t. I don’t think it causes any problems but I don’t know for sure. You wonder how much movement goes on under a broody hen after some have hatched.

The way I understand it, the professionals that might hatch 1,000,000 chicks a week don’t worry about it either but again, I’m not 100% sure on that. They lay them flat because of another problem. The eggs generate a tremendous amount of heat when you have those thousands of eggs in the hatcher. They work to keep the eggs cool enough so they don’t cook in that heat by blowing air over them. They cool off much better when laying flat than standing up, more area is exposed to the breeze. With our smaller incubators that isn’t a problem.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by auntiepoohnh View Post

Although we've kept a laying flock for more than twenty years, My son and I are hatching for the first time. So far, we are finding the experience both exhilarating and stressful. And we have had so many questions along the way.

We set 24 eggs in our incubator. The first chick hatched out around 7:30 yesterday morning. Since then at least six more have hatched.

Here's my question: how long can the first chicks remain in the incubator without food/water? I know that they are okay for the first 24 hrs., but how much longer...if at all?

We've read that you're not supposed to open the incubator during a hatch, and we don't want to put the remaining eggs at risk, but we also don't want to chance losing the chicks that have successfully hatched.

What we'd like to do is pull out the hatched chicks at a point where we don't see any pips in the remaining eggs. That way we can leave the remainder in the incubator...just in case there are a few more late comers. ((We know that a 50% hatch rate is about the best we can hope for).

The humidity in the incubator is perfect, and the room is also quite warm and humid, so I don't think either will drop too much if we're quick, but we're not sure.

Can anyone please advise us?

I remove my chicks as they become active and start moving around the incubator. I'm a highly hands on hatcher. I have never lost a pipper/zipper because I open (quite frequently to remove chicks, eggs shells and roll over pippers that have been rolled,)  during hatch.  It's a totally personal decision that the hatcher needs to make based on their comfort level and how well their bator recovers humidity once opened.

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/

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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/

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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your reply. We ultimately decided to remove the chicks as they became spunky. Still waiting for the last two pipped eggs to hatch...or not. We hear peeping from one, but haven't seen any real progress in hours. We are beginning to suspect that the last two might not survive. It's hard to watch, wait,
...and wonder.😔
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
Reply
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
Reply
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