Are my eggs dead and chicks crippled because low temps?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 10, 2008
Europe, Estonia
I had a really frightening hatch just ending today
, and I am now thinking, is there anything I should change quickly, to help save most of the new eggs in the bator.
I had 19 grey partridge eggs, that went in the hatcher, and now I have 12 chicks, out of which one has most probably slipped both tendons (to be culled sadly) and two have spraddle legs (taped them). 7 never pipped internally, while they were alive about 1,5 day before the first pips, today just dead in the egg (I think most were dead at time of first pips of other eggs), not absorbed anything etc. And the ones I have alive now, hatched so late ... on the evening of 26 th day (they are said to take 23-25 days, last year I had two great hatches on day 25 and 23, with my own built foam bator ). Some pipped 48 hours before hatching, some a little later, but still like 1,5 days before hatching, I think. By then I was so worried and helped some of them to zip, while I would generally not do that, but I need these birds.

So, I am thinking, what was wrong, I have Genesis 1588, which I turned down a bit, (of course stooped me did not trust the factory settings) (all my 7 therm-s showed it to be a bit hotter at factory, although now seems it has hot and cold spots anyway), and I moved the eggs to my own built hatcher (worked great last year), which works by turning the light bulbs on and off. That was on day 19 (a bit early, I know, but I read first the days from day one - put the eggs in the bator like 6 in the morning of day one so counted at first this day also, and also somebody advised me to do it a bit earlier). All of them were alive then, although moving so very little at times, had to candle several times to see movement. So, after that I left the hatcher alone, and i think for about 12 hours it was sadly a bit cooler than it should have (about 98,6).

I do wonder, if they were late and malformed because general low incub. temp, or because that 12 hours on lower temp in the hatcher .... or maybe because the incubator and hatcher work so differently (one keeps constant temp, other uses on-off lightbulbs)? They took soo long to zip after pips.
Or maybe my breeding birds have some deficiency?
My humidity was ok, I think, 55- 64% incubation and 75-85 hatching, worked great last year.
All my thermometers show different readings, but the one that shows lowest showed "in" temp between 99.3-100, the same time of this themometers "out" with probe showed sometimes higher, so I was not worried about that 99.3. And at the same time at the other corner the same therm was showing 100.5 both in and out, so I did not see any room to turn the temp up. Other therm-s showed higher readings.
Still afraid to turn it up

I really do worry and wonder, I have 15 pheasant and 32 partridge eggs in the bator now, pheasant is due 17.-19. june and the other eggs are on day 8. I do not want to kill half of them again and see malformed chicks.

Please, anyone have any suggestions?

Edited: - these 7 were dead in the egg, not air cell.
Last edited:
Thank you, Danny, I did up it around 1 degree.
Do you think if those 7 were dead and not internally pipped, I had humidity problems - I did open the hatcher quickly quite many times during those long days, but the humidity and temp seemed to me raise up pretty fast, within few minutes.

I have never misted my eggs with spray - do you think I should spray my partridge and pheasant eggs? Is this done only while hatching?

I have heard people cooling the eggs for 5 or 10 mins every day during incubation, but I have never done that either.
I don't really think humidity is the problem. I think the cool temps just slowed growth so much they just never got started. The biggest reason for humidity is in the last few days and after the first pips. It is too keep the membranes moist and tender to allow the chick to turn and pip out properly. You might try lowering your humidity about 10 % during incubation. The thing i would do is get my chicks hatching on time and then worry about the humidity. I usually check my eggs 2 to 3 times a day during hatching and spray the eggs if needed each time. Incubators can be a little tricky sometimes because sveral different problems may have the same result. For instance pipping and dying can be caused by 3 different things.
Low humidity- They pip and can't go any farther because the membrane dries and they can't pip on around.

High humidity- An egg is supposed to dry down about 12 to 14 % during incbation.If there is too much moisture in the egg and the chick is unable to turn because the inside is too slick or there is no room so they pip and the membrane dries because they stay in the same spot. At that point there is little you can do because if you spray them to moisten the membrane you are just adding more moisture.

Low temperature- Causes late and drawn out hatches and lot of them pip and die because they are designed to be hatched in 21 days and if they are late the chick basically wears itself out just trying to pip and has no more energy to come out and even if you help them out most of them have deformities. I think it is because they are late and should already be breathing outside the egg.
I may not have worded all this right but it gives you an idea.
Ok, so my ringnecks were internally pipped (some) on day 22, and the ones that did get out were out by the evening of 24th day. I tried to keep the hatcher temps the same that the pheasant eggs had in the bator after I rose the temps - about 100.5 to 101.6. In the bator they had constant temps about 101.3, but my hatcher works with the lamps.
Out of 15 eggs that were alive and went to the hatcher, 1 was never pipped internally and had egg yolk all over the place, 2 pipped internally and had died. 2 died, because I tried to help them (have to stop that!), I think, was nervous wreck about the dead ones, but maybe those 2 would have needed a bit more time.
One that came out has crooked outer toes and had a hard start, could not get its head up, but seems to be doing better now, after some vit-s. Those pheasant eggs came from somebody else, not from my birds.
So I wonder still, what I keep doing the most wrong. I will try next time not to open the hatcher at all, even if they never hatch ... see if that approach makes any difference. My humidity gets up pretty quickly, in a minute, but still, maybe opening does mess it up.
I did keep the hum around 80 - 85%, which is a lot, but have read on the net to keep it that high in many places ... what is up with that, is it too high? Why does so many places and "oldies" recommend it so high then? It worked fine last year on partridge eggs, but in a different house/environment/location.

I am still not sure, if my incubator is ok. Now it is around 101.3 at the hotter sides, and 100.4 to 99.8 (the thermometers I trust, have "in" and "out" with probe, so those do not show the same at all times either, but othewise I think those are pretty accurateish). I try to keep hum between 55-64 %.
Is my incubator in the safe range?
I think actually the egg turner on this Genesis 1588 does mess up with the airflow. When the racks are level, then the temps are more even, and when they turn, temps go a bit messy. Also I have not found out, why my bator has so big differences on different sides - almost 101.5 on one side/corner and then maybe at the same time 100 on the other. Strange, it should be evenly heated, right, since it is circulated air one?
Does it matter, how the eggs are distributed?
So now I think maybe Danny was right, I should try to lower the humidity as well. On my last hatch that ended yesterday, I had the humidity going around 60-65%, and temps were between 100.2 and 101.1 (on different sides), mostly 100.5 on the cooler side, since the hot days. And I tried to rotate the eggs once aday, from cooler to hotter sides. When I candled some days before going to hatcher, I thought maybe the air cell was not as big as it should have been, but due my lack of experience it`s so hard to be sure on this. I think all the eggs were alive when they went into hatcher, which I managed to hold also around 100.5-100.9 steady, with humidity around 80-85%. Well ... out of 31 eggs I got 15 to hatch. 1 chick with both slipped tendonds died during last night. All other eggs died during the time in the hatcher, most of them did not even pip internally (I think only one did). One chick did pip externally and then took ages and eventualy also died, it still had a little of the yolk to absorb (but was almost finished), but was overall very wet inside and was gasping air in the end, with some wet stuff around its beak. Most of the eggs that hatched or pipped did that on day 23, one first chick hatched on day 24 and then the rest tooked AGES to hatch, seemed to take long times to get ready to zip, some had blood in the veins for a long time. Half the eggs finished during day 25, last ones at night. So not actually more sooner that my first hatch with lower temps. No spraddle legs or crooked toes on this hatch, but two chicks with both slipped tendons ... seems that maybe the ones that grow bigger in the egg (or are from a bigger egg) get this, these chicks seem to be quite the bigger type and always seem to have a thick feathering.
What really makes me wonder is that quite many did pip so that there was a hole in the eggshell (the membrane totally broken), and since it took SO long for them to get ready, they were by that time dried around the beak and I had to help quite many of those. The ones that did not get a complete hole in the shell, did fine and hatched out on their own. But still did take long, I think all of them took at least 24 hours from pip to zip - which is a lot longer than last year, when quite many pipped and zipped inside 12 hours and even faster. And to get 50% of eggs to go alive into hatcher and then just die in there after a day or so, yet they are fine until they do go into hatcher ...
Am I right - I most likely have too high humidity or some problems in feeding my breeding pairs?
For all the hatches I`ve had for now, it seems similar that they take so long after pipping to zip, at least one whole day for some eggs and even more for others. And in all I`ve had quite many eggs (almost half the eggs) die in the hatcher and not even pip internally.

I am trying to have the humidity lower now for the eggs that are in the bator (they are on day 11 and 14 - hopefully not too late for those), between 50 and 55%, not over 55%. And maybe around 70% for hatching? See if that makes any difference ... this is getting very sad and frustrating, to see half the chicks die every time ...
. These eggs are so valuable for me, feels like I`ve laid them myself....
I think you are on the the right track. I had to stop putting water in my bators around the first of june because i had a lot of pipping and dying and a lot of slimmy chicks as well well as dying before they pip. Now they are back to hatching good.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom