Chicken egg failure...

Chickycammy

Songster
Feb 15, 2018
150
138
121
North Carolina
I have 2 incubators now, both the same type: Little Giant still air egg incubator 9300 and they hold up to 46 eggs each. I use one for the incubating and the other for lockdown. I'm not thinking it's the incubator's fault but maybe something of my own or the parent genes.

The first hatching I had 9 duck eggs and 8 chicken. Out of the ducks, every egg piped and hatched, even if some needed help after 30 hours. For the chickens, only 3 piped and 2 hatched leaving the rest never piping or hatching and dying.

I had 5 more eggs to hatch out this week so I moved them into the lockdown incubator (it was cleaned and at the right humidity and temp) yet so far I've had 3 eggs not pip and die in the shell (will I ever get used to that smell?). Every one I opened and looked at the chicken inside was perfect yet it was covered in green.

What can I do to help the last 2 hatch and then the other 10 in another incubator to hatch when the time comes? The other one I added those eggs on 3/5 so they should be ready near the end of the month. I'm just disheartened because my ducks hatched out and are great, as are the other 2 chicks but I've had so many unexplained deaths.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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St. Louis, MO
Layer feed vs. breeder feed. Layer feed is formulated to produce table eggs.
Breeder feed is formulated to provide the extra nutrition necessary for high hatchability rates.
Dumor layer feed, like all commercial layer feeds, is perfectly adequate to provide the nutrition for producing table eggs.
However, it may not be enough nutrition to grow an embryo and produce strong robust chicks. Think pre-natal vitamins in humans. The developing embryo is completely dependent on the amount of nutrients deposited in the egg by the hen for proper growth and the strength to get out of the egg, be a large vigorous chick with good immune performance. That is completely influenced by the breeder flock nutrition.
Breeder feed is basically layer feed with slightly more protein, vitamins and possibly some of the minerals. It is not normally used in small flocks because of the higher cost and the reason you never find it at feed stores.
While layer feed is usually 16% protein, breeder feed is usually about 17% crude protein but some of the essential amino acids may be more than 10% higher than that in layer feed.
Large companies that breed chickens have their own feed mills, poultry nutritionists and assay laboratories to come up with proprietary formulas.
I think the best we can do is start with a quality all-flock feed (since roosters shouldn't eat layer feed) and supplement with some animal protein and a vitamin/mineral supplement. Perhaps some Nutri-drench in the water a couple times a week.
This should be started about 3 weeks prior to breeding season or collecting eggs for hatching.
Don't overdo vitamin, mineral and protein supplementation. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
 
Last edited:

Chickycammy

Songster
Feb 15, 2018
150
138
121
North Carolina
Layer feed vs. breeder feed. Layer feed is formulated to produce table eggs.
Breeder feed is formulated to provide the extra nutrition necessary for high hatchability rates.
Dumor layer feed, like all commercial layer feeds, is perfectly adequate to provide the nutrition for producing table eggs.
However, it may not be enough nutrition to grow an embryo and produce strong robust chicks. Think pre-natal vitamins in humans. The developing embryo is completely dependent on the amount of nutrients deposited in the egg by the hen for proper growth and the strength to get out of the egg, be a large vigorous chick with good immune performance. That is completely influenced by the breeder flock nutrition.
Breeder feed is basically layer feed with slightly more protein, vitamins and possibly some of the minerals. It is not normally used in small flocks because of the higher cost and the reason you never find it at feed stores.
While layer feed is usually 16% protein, breeder feed is usually about 17% crude protein but some of the essential amino acids may be more than 10% higher than that in layer feed.
Large companies that breed chickens have their own feed mills, poultry nutritionists and assay laboratories to come up with proprietary formulas.
I think the best we can do is start with a quality all-flock feed (since roosters shouldn't eat layer feed) and supplement with some animal protein and a vitamin/mineral supplement. Perhaps some Nutri-drench in the water a couple times a week.
This should be started about 3 weeks prior to breeding season or collecting eggs for hatching.
Don't overdo vitamin, mineral and protein supplementation. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Thank you very much. Since I'm so new to this I didn't see anything online about all that.
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,285
28,242
1,077
St. Louis, MO
Well, I'm a nutrition Nazi. I read over and over about incubation failures wondering what went wrong. I never saw one that considered it could be breeder nutrition. The failure could be anytime during incubation if it is a single nutrient that is deficient, as in something that was omitted in the feed mill. If it is just overall insufficient nutrition, that usually represents after 18 weeks and during hatch - like pipping/zipping and not having the strength to escape.
 

Chickycammy

Songster
Feb 15, 2018
150
138
121
North Carolina
Well, I'm a nutrition Nazi. I read over and over about incubation failures wondering what went wrong. I never saw one that considered it could be breeder nutrition. The failure could be anytime during incubation if it is a single nutrient that is deficient, as in something that was omitted in the feed mill. If it is just overall insufficient nutrition, that usually represents after 18 weeks and during hatch - like pipping/zipping and not having the strength to escape.

The chicks that did hatch, zipped and were out within 12 hours after piping and they're very healthy and active. Yet, I keep having these deaths around 18 to 21 days and all have this weird green stuff. It's like they're fine then the next day they're dead and there's an awful smell and green stuff when you open the egg. I have no idea what it could be. We've cleaned both incubators with hot water, though I didn't use soap for fear it'd hurt them somehow. And the ducks who's parents eat the same thing as the chickens all hatched out with no problems at all.

I feel useless at not knowing how to fix this. The main reason for getting the incubators was to hatch out my own chickens so when their mothers stop laying the babies will be grown and continue laying eggs. At the moment we're feeding 3 families with the eggs that my girls have. Besides, that is fact that I love my chickens and really would like to have their babies.

Edit: Could it be our rooster? We're not sure of his age because he was given to us but the person that gave him to use said they had him for 4 years and he was an adult when they got him. Also, here are the ones that hatched out fine.
 

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mixedUPturk

Loves Hatching
5 Years
May 28, 2015
4,734
17,601
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South Louisiana
The chicks that did hatch, zipped and were out within 12 hours after piping and they're very healthy and active. Yet, I keep having these deaths around 18 to 21 days and all have this weird green stuff. It's like they're fine then the next day they're dead and there's an awful smell and green stuff when you open the egg. I have no idea what it could be. We've cleaned both incubators with hot water, though I didn't use soap for fear it'd hurt them somehow. And the ducks who's parents eat the same thing as the chickens all hatched out with no problems at all.

I feel useless at not knowing how to fix this. The main reason for getting the incubators was to hatch out my own chickens so when their mothers stop laying the babies will be grown and continue laying eggs. At the moment we're feeding 3 families with the eggs that my girls have. Besides, that is fact that I love my chickens and really would like to have their babies.

Edit: Could it be our rooster? We're not sure of his age because he was given to us but the person that gave him to use said they had him for 4 years and he was an adult when they got him. Also, here are the ones that hatched out fine.

Hey im aware this is old but i jus saw your new post following your cousins advice to add vinager to the water when incubating. I feel like that pkus the fact of fear of using harsh soap or chemicals has been your incubators trouble. Vinager has cleansing properties and the green youve been finding could be bacterial growth.

I use a cap of bleach to clean the parts of my bators that can be really scrubbed and i used disinfecting wipes to clean the parts u cant submerge such as the fan blades for those specifically and other hard to reach spots i wrap the wipe around a q tip.
 

Chickycammy

Songster
Feb 15, 2018
150
138
121
North Carolina
Hey im aware this is old but i jus saw your new post following your cousins advice to add vinager to the water when incubating. I feel like that pkus the fact of fear of using harsh soap or chemicals has been your incubators trouble. Vinager has cleansing properties and the green youve been finding could be bacterial growth.

I use a cap of bleach to clean the parts of my bators that can be really scrubbed and i used disinfecting wipes to clean the parts u cant submerge such as the fan blades for those specifically and other hard to reach spots i wrap the wipe around a q tip.

I haven't thought about using Bleach before in it. Thankfully the vinegar seems to be working. I'll use bleach from now on when cleaning between hatching.

Right now I have no eggs in there as I have a broody hen that is doing her thing with eggs. So I'll clean the incubator out with bleach. I probably won't use it again this year.

Thank you!
 

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