I thought this would be a happy experience. Instead, I feel really bad about the way this is turning out. I have 4 hens for eggs and 4 rouen ducks, all just pets. I thought a logical extension of this hobby would be to hatch my own, rather than relying upon the limited selection the local feed store offers, or mail order which seems risky. I had previously had a cheap, foam incubator and hatched some chickens, quail, and pheasants with good results, back in the early 1990's. I also used the cheap foam incubator one time to rescue an entire clutch of mallard eggs after something killed the mother in the night and left her dead body on my front lawn. This worked -- the eggs were at around day 14 when this happened, and I managed to get 8 out of 8 to hatch, and eventually I was able to release 8 healthy, 12 week old mallards back into the wild. I thought this was pretty good, especially since 2 of those 8 eggs were cracked when I rescued them, and I put scotch tape around them and it worked! And, I also felt this was a good outcome in light of the fact that I think that particular incubator was VERY unreliable -- all kinds of wierd temperature problems, spiking up, cooling off -- I found it very hard to keep consistent. So, I ordered a really good incubator, a Brinsea Octogon 20 Automatic with humdiity pump this year. I thought this would make incubation a breeze. However, I have set almost 2 dozen eggs from my Rouen hen, and so far, all I've gotten are mostly dead eggs at various stages, some as late as day 25/26, three that died after pipping, and I do have ONE lone little duckling now a few days old and healthy, thank goodness. This one sat for almost 48 hours after it pipped, and I couldn't take it anymore and decided to intervene. Luckily, it was fully developed with an absorbed yolk. A lot of them get to various stages and then seem to turn black and die. A couple of them were at the pipping stage when this happened. And, a couple that pipped and then dd nothing for several days died in the shells. When I examined them, they still had very large egg sacks/yolks attached with some unabsorbed egg white, and seemed very small compared to the size of the shell. I also noticed that black areas, visible from outside the shell, were forming at around the time of pipping. I know some of the things I've done wrong, and I've vowed to learn from my mistakes -- some of the eggs were dirty, so I washed them, instead of just discarding these; I held them too long before setting, trying to get a "batch" that would hatch all at the same time, and I didn't turn them in storage. I've got 2 more that have been pipped for 24 hours, but show no signs of hatching. The one duckling I do have sat for 48 hours pipped before I decided to intervene and "help" him, which was nerveracking but this time worked out. I hope I don't have to do this again, but I don't really know how long to wait before trying to do something. So, I feel really bad about this, like a murderer. It wasn't my intention to bring lives into the world only to have them end in pain or suffering. Now, I'm pretty sure it's not a problem with the incubator, for one reason - I did a batch of turkey eggs with success. Does anyone have any thoughts to offer on what could be going wrong here?