Originally Posted by neopolitancrazy
You may want to consult an incubation text, I seem to remember that malpositions may be caused by incorrect temperature during incubation, and that seems like a fairly high percentage of your hatch.
Originally Posted by CanadianBuckeye
Good idea about the heating pad- pricey but will probably save electricity costs. Your chicks do look content!
I found out that it's not worth helping chicks out of the shell- they are weak for a reason and it's tougher to cull a weakling day old than one in the shell - and you definitely don't want to have anything less than the strongest and healthiest chicks or your flock will suffer for it in the long run.
"Don't hatch if you can't dispatch" was some very good advice that I keep in the back of my mind, sadly it's very true even though difficult. I actually find it harder to cull the older birds- especially the older cockerels :-( (unless they are mean).
The heating pad isn't pricey at all - just a low tech Sunbeam (no auto-off feature) bungee corded to a frame of left over hardware cloth, covered in an old pillow case an cloth baby diapers. (I had VERY bad experiences with a heating lamp...)
Yes, regarding the malpositions, I've been working under the guidance of Sally Sunshine (incubating/hatching guru here on BYC), and have done lots of reading. Of note, all but one were from a single pullet (Jenny) - she lays round eggs. I took the chance incubating them anyway (though I had read of the risk) - 60% (3/5) of her eggs were malpos, and the main issue with all the malpo eggs was that they did not lose weight/increase air cell as much as they should have (the other eggs were totally fine, almost a bit big in the air cell department) - that can inhibit their ability to get in the right position. All that being said, several of us on the Incubating with Friends thread with the same incubator (R-Com 20) have had unusually high percentages of malpos. We suspect there may be something with the way the eggs are turned (horizontal rolling - questioning the angles). I'm going to run drier next time, and in another incubator (and hatch in R-Com). I have a batch of shipped NN eggs in the Brinsea now, due to go into lock down next week...
I assisted each of the malpos with the understanding that 1) they won't make it without my help, so there is nothing to lose 2) they might not make it even if I tried, and 3) if they make it, I may need to cull anyway. And, honestly, it was educational. I had already set up my plan/system to euthanize chicks before even setting the eggs - so I was ready and aware that that is part of the process. The others that I helped out are doing quite well so far - hard to predict (though by the end, after halfway in, I was sure enough that things would go bad with this last one that if I had to do it again, I would have euthanized that one in the egg).
- Ant Farm