Chicks dieing at lockdown!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Rescuedogmom, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. Rescuedogmom

    Rescuedogmom Out Of The Brooder

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    I have done MULTIPLE hatches since december. I use between 1 and 3 still air incubators. I have tried everything, temperature changes, humidity changes etc. I bought turners, I bought multiple thermometers and hydrometers. I ALWAYS have a ton of chicks who either pip internally and die, or never pip at all and die. I have eggs from different chickens, standard and banty and even eggs from a friend and the results are always the same :-( I have fixed a few problems, like I had the humidity too high at one point and chicks were hatching with edema. What gives?? I'm currently trying to find a circulated air incubator I can afford but why do they all do so well then die at lockdown? I've even switched the incubator I use for hatches so I can't blame one certain bator. I'm so sad every time I lose chicks I've waited so long for :-( this has happened with staggered hatches as well as one full hatch.
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    How discouraging. Keeping records may help you track down your issues. And get a really good thermometer - I would recommend a Brinsea spot check. And really, a better incubator can be well worth the added expense, when you compare it to the cost and frustration of failed hatches.

    Check through this Learning Center article -
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/egg-failure-to-hatch-diagnosing-incubation-problems

    Here is an article on still-air incubators -
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/incubation-cheat-sheet

    And a great hatching guide -
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
     
  3. Rescuedogmom

    Rescuedogmom Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the info. I will look into getting the brinsea thermometer. I really would like to have at least two incubators going...I like doing the staggered hatches. .but losing so many at lockdown just sucks. I've even worried that there is some sort of sickness in my flock I don't know about..but then the same thing happened with 4 eggs from a friend...two stopped developing at the 10 day candle. ..2 after lockdown. I have two broody hens sitting right now too so I am interested in how Thier hatches will go. I also began adding a vitamin supplement to all of my chickens food.. hopefully starting at the beginning of the process will help later down the line.
     
  4. Rescuedogmom

    Rescuedogmom Out Of The Brooder

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    After reading those articles I wonder if my humidity isn't still too high during the first 18 days. I've been leaving it alone for the most part and hatches definitely improved, but I can't say that my air cells are as big as they need to be at lockdown. It is almost time to candle some of them so I will be paying better attention to that now :)
     
  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    There are so many variables that can all lead to similar results, sometimes it's hard to know where to start. A better incubator can help with your hatches, but unfortunately you still have to watch it make sure its running right. Maybe if you get a broody hen you can throw some eggs under her, and check to see how your eggs develop that way.
     
  6. magdelaine

    magdelaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With you using different incubators and getting the same results, I think it's safe to say it's something YOU are doing rather than the incubators that is the problem. This is actually a good thing since you are correctable; the incubators not so much.

    I just had a test hatch a week ago after a disasterous 100% fail due to temp being too high...I didn't have a good thermometer. This time, I had a Brinsea spot check but it's still a little tricky with my old Hovabator and the heat was still a little too high. I know this because I had 21 eggs go into lockdown, candled as alive, and only 6 hatched...a full day and a half early.

    After this, it was a disaster. Some of the failure to pip might have been that the temps were too high, but many were probably due to the fact that I couldn't keep myself out of the incubator and I shrink wrapped the other chicks. Heck they were probably chilled too.

    So, when you go into lockdown, do any chicks come early? Do you leave them in there or do you take them out by opening the incubators? I have decided that next hatch when they go on lockdown I'm not opening the incubator until Day 23 or until all hatch, whichever is first.

    I also highly recommend doing an eggtopsy on several of your eggs as that will also point to what is going wrong for you; for example unabsorbed yolk sacks and external organs is an indication of temps being too high. Good luck with figuring it out!
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    With the table top incubators giving so many channels for water it's common for people to run far too high. With a calibrated hygrometer (salt tested) I find 35% in my geographic does the trick. A shot glass of water wedge to side of turner is all is needed to get that humidity for me.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I use an oral thermometer that everyone has in the cabinet to set the temp of incubator. They are accurate. If a digital then check the high and low to average. About 10-15 seconds after heater turns on is the lowest temp on mine. If not many eggs in incubator the range can be 96.5 to 102.5 but that averages 99.5 which is spot on.

    For non fan incubators the temp should be 101-102F measured at top of eggs.
     
  9. Rescuedogmom

    Rescuedogmom Out Of The Brooder

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    My eggs usually start pipping late on day 21 and don't fully hatch until day 22. I didn't think much of it as I usually don't put them in until the evening. I do have two broody seramas in the basement both on 5-8 eggs so I'm interested to see how well that goes. I had eggs due yesterday. There were 8 to begin with, 5 at lockdown. (This was a reallly small batch) No pips until late then 2 silkie eggs pipped. They both just hatched about an hour ago. The other 3 eggs aren't alive anymore. I usually do good to stay out of the incubator until the pips have all hatched. .then I will go through a window to grab and check any remaining eggs. The first time I hatched they all started pipping on day 19 and hatched on day 20...all bantams. Is is possible I am still running the temps too low? I'm trying to hatch tiny seramas, duccles and Showgirls/silkies. The fact that they don't even pip till very late on day 21 or even day 22? Ugh with 3 thermometers you would think I would figure it out :) I have opened many eggs in the past. Some internally pipped, some didnt. None seemed shrink wrapped. All usually have about half the yolk left to absorb :-(
    thank you all for your input..I appreciate everyone! I hope I got all the questions. .if not just remind me which I missed :)
     
  10. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Get a completely reliable thermometer and you will not have to worry about that anymore - my Brinsea spot check is well worth it's price. And every time you open the incubator for ANY reason during your hatch you risk the rest of your eggs. Best to wait until you have not had a pip for 24 hours.
     

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