A few hatching-process questions....

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Apriljc, May 30, 2012.

  1. Apriljc

    Apriljc Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Hi there. A couple questions for you.

    I read that a day or two before the chicks break the membrane, the membrane draws down and anywhere from a day to three days after the membrane is broken, the chick pips and emerges. My question is, does this all begin around day 18 so that they emerge around day 21? Or does the process START around day 21? Will I see these changes when I do my final candling on day 18?

    And, I assume they naturally position themselves to break the membrane. Does having the airspace turned toward the bottom of the egg or toward the top at lock-down, matter?

    Lastly, does high humidity need to occur before they break the inner membrane or is it okay to wait till they pip? I ask because it was suggested to me to delay increasing humidity since the air spaces aren't very big. I'm having a hard time getting the humidity down in the incubator to encourage some evaporation because the weather has been so hot and humid lately.

    Today is day 16. ( I candled this morning and the air spaces are a tiny bit bigger than my pencil line from two days ago).
  2. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida

    Keep in mind that we are speaking in generalities here because depending on a number of variables the timetable can run a little fast or slow. At about day eighteen the chick begins to position itself to begin the hatching process. It will internally pip meaning it breaks into the air cell then may likely rest a bit before it begins to work on breaking through the shell itself. The average chick in average conditions will typically fully hatch on the twenty first day.

    Yes, having the airspace properly positioned matters. Sometimes a chick will pip the wrong end of the shell. Sometimes the will successfully hatch anyway, sometimes they won't. Usually though they know to position themselves towards the fat end of the egg where the air cell should be and those are the ones with the greatest chance of successfully hatching.

    That's a tough one. Ideally you would want to bump the humidity the last three days to soften the shell membranes to make it easier for the chicks to hatch. But if you've been running high the entire time I believe I would not increase it at this stage as you are already at risk of having some drown in the shell or at least hatching very sticky.

    Do you know exactly what your humidity is right now and are you using a calibrated hygrometer or wet/dry thermometer?
  3. Apriljc

    Apriljc Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Thanks for your input.

    As far as air sac position is concerned, I was thinking about position after the air cell has drawn down. It is usually biased to one side from the large end to the side, right? So should i put with the side of the egg with most of the air cell up? I think i will to prevent to much leakage of fluid into the airspace.

    I'm using a preset bator. It reads near 55% humidity most of the time. Since yesterday, I have been letting it dry out a bit and now its in the 30's %. I know thats a bit low but since its been near 55% for 15 days, I'm thinking lower humidity still won't reduce the average humidity by much? I will load it up with water at lockdown, I guess. (Or maybe when I see the membranes drawing down--demonstrating imminent hatch?

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