can't seem to get it right


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jun 16, 2013
I have had 16 eggs in my incubator and I have not hatched one yet. I keep the temp at 100 degrees and keep water in the incubator for humidity. I have candled the eggs and all have started an embreo but on hatch day nothing happens. Some advice would help. I use a little giant incubator. Thank you in advance as I don't get on the internet every day.
I had that happen to me before. I found that my problem was TOO MUCH humidity. I read a number of posts with people doing a dry hatch. Look up dry hatching and see what others have to say....Thats pretty low humidity. I don`t think it goes below 30 to 35%. So thats what I`m trying this time. Good luck!!
It could be that your humidity was incorrect, but it could also be due a number of other causes, such as the age of the eggs, incorrect turning or positioning of the eggs, even incorrect feeding of the layers can have an influence. If you can give us some more info we may be able to help you figure this out. Some questions:

Do you know what your humidity was during incubation and lockdown? What was it?
Where did you get the eggs from, were they local or shipped?
How old were the eggs before you set them?
How often did you turn the eggs?
How did you position the eggs in the incubator? (Upright, fat/pointy end up or on their sides)
If the eggs were from your own flock, how old are the layers and what are you feeding them?
Did you open the eggs at the end to try to determine at what stage of development they quit? Normally if they stop the first week it’s something that happened before incubation started. If they stopped during the last week, it probably has something to do with incubation.

Have you calibrated your instruments, thermometer and hygrometer, so you can trust them? The ones that come with incubators and the ones you buy can be off quite a bit.

Is your Little Giant still air or forced air? A forced air has a fan to move the air around. Hot air rises. If it is a forced air it doesn’t matter where in the incubator you take the temperature. It should be the same everywhere. If it is a still air you should aim for 101.5 degrees taken at the top of the eggs.

How long after hatch day did you stop? It’s not unusual for eggs to hatch a couple of days early or late either in an incubator or under a broody hen. That 21 days is a target, not an atomic clock.

Did you count the days right? You’d be surprised how common it is for people to get it wrong. A way to check your counting, the day of the week you set them is the day of the week they should hatch. If you set them on a Tuesday, the 21 days is up on a Tuesday.

I know. Between Sumi and me that’s a lot of questions but that’s an indication of how many different things it could be. It would really help to know at what stage they stopped developing to help narrow it down. For 16 eggs to start developing and none hatch there’s something (or maybe things} pretty basic wrong. Those eggs are pretty tough. If you are close on most of this stuff a few should have hatched. Hopefully the fix won’t be too hard but it can be frustrating getting there.
In my last incubation project, I did dry hatching. (which doesn't mean NO humidity, just LESS, there are posts and articles on it, so I will leave that up to you to research.) It was one of the best hatches I ever had. Currently I have another incubator full. Doing the same thing and hoping for good results.
Thank y'all for the replies. I will answer the questions as best as I can I do not know the humidity. The eggs were bought local and the hens were two years old, I dont know what they were feed. The eggs were picked up out of the coop while I was there. I have a rocker in the incubator, I did open one egg and the chick was fully developed. My incubator is still air. Twelve of the sixteen are still in the incubator, I placed them on 8-16 the hatch date was 9-6. Thaanks again for the reply.
Assuming they are all fully developed and dead without pipping. Some possible causes:

Humidity or temperature off – Calibrate your instruments so you know what you are dealing with. In a still air, make sure you are taking the temperature at the top of the eggs.

Suffocation – The chicks need to breathe oxygen, which is absorbed through the porous shell. There needs to be an exchange of air inside the incubator. That is not important at all the first week or so, but the older they get the more important that becomes. I’m not familiar with your model of incubator but it should have plugs. Were the plugs in or out?

Eggs not positioned properly – You said you used a rocker, which we usually call a turner. How were the eggs positioned in it? Pointy side up or down? They should be pointy side down so the air cell is up at the top. If the fat side that has the air cell in it is at the bottom, the chicks cannot internally pip right and will drown.

Those are the things that come to my mind. Hopefully some of this helps.

You said you had them in a rocker. Are they still there? It’s not that important but eggs don’t have to be turned after 14 days. It’s very important they are turner during the first two weeks. It will not hurt the eggs to be turned after 14 days, it’s just not necessary. We normally take the turner out after 18 days when we raise the humidity to get ready for hatch. It makes clean-up a lot easier after hatch plus they might get a leg or wing caught in the turner and injure themselves after they hatch.

I just lay my eggs flat on the bottom of the incubator. They do not have to have fat side up during hatch, laying flat is fine. What is important is that the point side is not up during incubation or hatch. That’s what causes problems.
X2 the above. I would suggest for future hatches, get a hygrometer, calibrate you instruments so you know what's happening in the incubator and can adjust temp humidity as needed. Incorrect humidity can ruin a hatch, so it's important to get it right. Ditto the egg positioning. Incorrectly placed eggs eggs can result in incorrect air cell development and malpositioned chicks who are unable to hatch unassisted or without difficulty. The ventilation, yes, very important during the final stage of incubation especially. It's small things like this that has a huge influence on your hatch results.

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