Chilled Eggs - I'm an idiot


10 Years
Jan 15, 2010
Southern Minnesota
I left the lid off of the incubator over night. They were on their 13th day, I took the lid off to give them a breather and was going to candle them after getting my kids to sleep and forgot. What do I do? I know you are not supposed to chill the eggs. I was so worried that they would turn into stink bombs, and had so much trouble telling the good from the bad. I guess if I can't save them I'll at least be able to tell what's good and bad right? This is my first time, and I feel horrible.

Maybe I'll try again in the spring. I was just going to order 50 buckeyes for the spring. Oh what to do?

Also I was wondering... I read that a little giant with out the fan attachment should be kept at 102, but never found the information with the little giant to say that. I kept it at 99.5. So let me know if I should keep it at 102 next time please.
Cold over night is not to bad. They should still hatch...

The temp of a foam still air bator should be 101 at the top of the eggs because of thermal layering.
I'm confused as to why you would "give them a breather"? You shouldn't ever remove the lid for an extended cool did they get? What was the temp when you put the lid back on, and exactly how long was the lid off? If it was me, I"d probably put the lid on & try to complete the incubation. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!!
Don't totally give up hope. It is possible some will make it. I'd probably do the sniff test at lockdown and toss any that smell rotten and keep trying with the rest. Or you can try candling at lockdown.

I don't have a stilll air. I've read that the correct temperature at the top of the eggs is 101.5* F. Even if the temperature is low, it is possible some will hatch, but they could be late, maybe 2 or 3 days late. I doubt them chilling overnight will slow them down much if they make it, since it is an average during incubation that counts, not one instantaneous temperature. The overall average would not have been affected that much.

It is obviously not a good situation but not totally hopeless. It is things like this that shows why your first eggs in the incubator should not be really expensive eggs. Your second effort should go a lot better. Good luck!! I'm afraid you will need a bit.
I guess I read that a cooling period once a day for about 15 minutes was good. That it sort of simulated the broody hen getting up and going to eat/drink. Normally I just took the lid off for a couple of minutes to see how things are going and check the water level. Then I replaced it knowing that it would take the incubator a while to heat up again. Is this not a regular practice?

It's about 60 degrees where the incubator is located and for about 8 hours. I know that's too cold, but there wasn't any other place where it wouldn't get bumped by my kids all the time.

I started it back up, and will candle again. I was seeing movement before so I think I'll save whoever starts moving around again by tomorrow. When and how do you tell if there's a stink bomb in your midst? I was super worried about this, I never smelled anything stinky besides the motor of the egg turner. And found contrasting information about black dots that float around. 'Cause my floating black spots seemed to be what's moving. Others seem almost totally grey inside. This is why I'm so worried, they seem to be at vastly different places.

It's great to know that it may not be a total loss. But if something gross and terrible happens I'm putting it away for a while!
Just smell the incubator every day an you will know without a doubt if one goes bad. If you smell a bad one smell them all to find it an chunk it.
Ive had power outages over 24 hours an still had good hatches. Those eggs were almost froze an made it. Just expect a late hatch.

Some people let them cool every day but I don't think its vary many. I don't.
Several decades ago it was a recommendation to simulate the hen leaving the nest by letting the eggs cool a bit, but that is no longer recommended. It is not necessary and can lead to accidents like yours. The eggs are so dense that the internal temperature of the eggs does not drop that much when the hen is off the nest so whatever cooling you get does not matter.
That is good to know!

Also while I have a captive audience, what are your opinions on moisture levels in the still air? I've been trying to keep water in the little grooves, and I have one red plug on and one off. But recently have been hearing people talking about running theirs dry and only adding water if it seems like the air sacks get too big.

I guess I thought this thing would come with more specific instructions and information! I have 3 books on poultry and have read all of their incubating sections at least 2 or 3 times! I still feel inadequate!

Oh and I would never start out with expensive eggs! They are all little chicken mutts from my own girls, we were just short on meat birds since some of our raccoons decided to give up their nocturnal habits in order to eat our chicken dinners!
There are no real local people with chickens.
I only know of about 5 people with chickens in a 30 mile radius. I don't think any of them hatch their own. Our meat farmers tried to hatch their own and had quite a few eggs explode all over in winter.
They had to open windows when it was really cold and spend copious amounts of time cleaning! That's what is really driving my fear of stink bombs. From all the posts and messages I'm kind of excited to see what happens. I'm sure I'm making all the mistakes this time, after this it should seem like a breeze!.

So, I happen to have my first broody hen while all of this is going on. She's been sitting for over a week and is currently on a clutch of wooden eggs!
Do I dare stick some of these under her to see what happens? I stuck some random eggs under her a week ago, but my youngest son collected them while she was off eating and put them in the frige.
She just jumped over to a different nest box with our "bait" eggs!

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