Am I doing something wrong or is this normal?

bevyjo

Chirping
May 31, 2020
21
25
56
Chicks from my second batch of incubated eggs hatched yesterday - 8 lively babies and 1 who sadly didn't make it. I had set 18 eggs. This morning I checked two that had pipped yesterday and made no further progress. Both had died in their shells. This evening I found an egg that was leaking yolk. It too had a dead chick inside. I have one that has pipped and appears to be alive, and a few others that have not begun to hatch yet. I have candled them but am not expert enough to know what I'm looking at - they appear to be occupied, but whether by live chicks or dead ones I can't tell yet. Since the person who gave me the eggs said they were collected over a five day period, I'm going to leave them be for awhile.

This is my second hatch using my Little Giant still air incubator. The first hatch I had only 2 chicks hatch out of 24 eggs. I found out by reading the VERY FINE PRINT that if you weren't using the egg turner (not included) that you needed to raise the temperature by 4 degrees. Unfortunately I found that out too late for those babies. I finally broke down and bought the egg turner, mostly because I had so much trouble keeping the humidity up and I felt like opening the incubator to turn eggs 3x a day wasn't helping. For this hatch, I removed the egg turner 3 days before hatch day as instructed. I adjusted the temperature as well, so that it would be about 99 degrees where the eggs were. I got the humidity up above 65% and kept it there - in fact it went even higher as the babies started hatching. I got 8 little chicks who were all as healthy as could be! I ended up taking them out of the incubator because they were rampaging around in there and knocking the other eggs all over the place, and I was afraid this would disrupt the process. (I read a couple of articles that stated that if you HAD to open it, you should do it quickly - which I did. The temperature and humidity were not affected, per the readout on the incubator.

So after all this - here's my question. Is this a normal hatch rate (nearly 50%) for someone who is just starting out? Is something I'm doing wrong causing the chicks to die? I had one shrink-wrapped chick in my first batch and I was sure it was because of the humidity, but that can't be it this time. I know there are many things that can go wrong in this process. I just want to make sure that I'm not contributing to the problem. Thanks for your advice.
 

Kafen

Chirping
Apr 3, 2020
72
146
86
British Columbia, Canada
I’m not an expert by any means, but there is a float test you can do if you want to know if a chick is alive and it’s a late hatcher. You have to make sure it hasn’t internally pipped though!

With my last hatch I kept the lid closed until I was sure they were done. I’ve read that it doesn’t really make a difference if they get knocked around a bit and they do peep at each other like they’re cheering them on! I honestly think it’s pretty cute.

I have also seen that it’s best to have a second hygrometer (and calibrate it!) to double check your instruments. Best not to just trust the one that comes with it.
 

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