Can I add eggs after I've started incubation?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by SqueakyRoseShalom, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi!
    I'm new at this and just started my first set of eggs. Can I add eggs after I've started? If yes what is the best time to add eggs? (Before 2 days have passed since start, 5 days, 7 days, etc or it doesn't matter?)

    If I can add eggs, how does it work for lockdown? Thanks in advance!!!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    The general recommendation is NOT to add new ones. But, IF you are an adventurous soul, and a risk taker, you could add some up to 48 hours after the first ones start incubating. They will MOST LIKELY hatch 2 days later than the rest, but, I've heard stories about later additions catching up and hatching at the same time. This would be a good way to separate fact from fiction!
     
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    X2, it can work, but since none of the eggs will have ideal conditions, you are probably going to lower your overall hatch rate. If you only have one incubator and you add eggs later, you will be doing what people call a "Staggered" or "Split" Incubation if you want to do a search on old threads talking about it. ie https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/952961/staggered-hatching-in-same-incubator the main problem with doing that is you have a hard time regulating humidity since different age eggs generally need different levels (your younger eggs need lower levels so they continue to lose weight/water to an acceptable level, while your hatching eggs need higher levels so they are able to hatch properly). If you have to do one, it is easiest to either do them really close together (add eggs within a day or two) and just treat it as one hatch averaging the days (you will lock down some eggs a day early and some a day late)... or have the eggs a week or more apart and adjust the humidity in between to be lower so the eggs lose more water/weight on the days you don't have to have it high for hatching ... Either way you need to keep a really close eye on the weigh/air cells for the best hatch results.
     
  4. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's some great information- thank you so much! I set only eight eggs since its my first hatch but the temp has been near perfect at 99.5-100 so my confidence has improved and now I wish I had set more! But maybe I will exercise my patience and just see it through because from reading other posts it appears that I have a long 19 days to go [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you are making the correct decision especially since it is your first hatch. Some people that do a staggered hatch on a regular basis use two different incubators, one for the incubation phase and one for lockdown/hatch. That method is a good one and pretty stress-free.

    Some people do use the same incubator for staggered hatches and have perfected their technique, but there are issues to overcome. Humidity is one. Turning the eggs is another obvious one. When a chick hatches it is still wet and will crawl all over, getting the other eggs dirty. They also poop while in there. Getting the eggs dirty like that can cause bacteria to grow and infect the later eggs. Doesn’t always but can. You really need to try to keep your incubator clean. Since they do poop and it is pretty damp in there, the incubator can start to stink after a few days.

    As I said, some people have perfected their techniques to manage this, but you don’t need that kind of stress your first hatch. Once you find out how easy it generally is, then you can increase your drama level if you so desire.
     
  6. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    x2
     
  7. SqueakyRoseShalom

    SqueakyRoseShalom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    after all this good info, i was thinking, in terms of how taking out the hatched chicks could be problematic because it lowers temperature and humidity for those still waiting to hatch, couldn't I just have my brooder lamp pointing right at the incubator up close when i take the lid off and have my husband spray mist into the air with a spray water bottle while the lid is off? or i could even place a pot of steaming water next to the incubator and have my hubby blow the steam into the incubator while the lid is open, still using the brooder lamp... i imagine that i will be able to open the lid, get the baby chicks, and return the lid within 60 seconds, right? [​IMG]
    i'm hatching only nine eggs total...
     
  8. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    If you keep your humidity up high enough during hatch you shouldn't have a problem. I keep mine at 75% or more and I have no problem taking chicks out w/o harming the hatchers. If you have a lower or the least recommended humidity then I would be more concerned.
     

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