Coming out of denial - low hatch rates

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MomMommyMamma, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
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    I think I'm ready to admit that something is just not quite right with my incubator & hatches. I just read this article on possible issues, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa204. In general, I have 50% or lower hatch rates. On shipped eggs it's often 1-3 chicks from 12+ eggs. This has been super disappointing because eggs that were "affordable" become one or so very expensive chickens. Here are my details as they come to me:

    Brinsea w/ auto turner - less than 1 yr old
    Have checked humidity w/ two different hygrometers, both of which showed to be off by 14 & 25 points respectively when tested w/ salt in baggy test for accuracy. As far as figuring in those readings when checking the humidity - it seems to be within normal range.

    I'm curious about dry hatching & what that means.

    A friend w/ the same incubator has suggested that maybe the temp is slightly high because: had excellent hatch w/ runner ducks, seem to hatch a higher than normal rate of males, most seem to develop to the last few days then die, have hatched 4 this summer with toe deformities (though 3 of those came from a breeder who has had past issues w/ her birds having the exact same problem - so that may not be due to me). Temp reads 99.6 on the glass thermometer.

    Just hatched 12 eggs from a breeder right down the road - so no rough handling by PO, 8 of 12 hatched. This breeder has the exact same incubator and I follow her routine to a "T". She puts in 12 eggs & gets 11 healthy chicks.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  2. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    When I get shipped eggs. If the eggs are warm when I open up the box, I put them in right away, just don't turn for 2 days. If they are cold I let them come to room temp then put them in and don't turn the first 2 days. I don't add any water to the incubator besides the 2 or 3 times in incubation when I mist them down with disinfectant (Oxine or Brinsea Incuabtion Disinfectant). Humidity stays around 25%. For hatch, I bump it up to 65-70% and I also hatch in cartons. I get great hatch rates doing it this way. I do the same for my own eggs (except I turn starting from day 1).
     
  3. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
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    Thank you!

    I should say that the temp is actually between the hash marks of 99 and 100 since it is not marked in lower increments. Also will add that those that do hatch, usually pip and occasionally hatch 1 day early. This is probably the main reason I'm suspecting higher temp too.
     
  4. alicefelldown

    alicefelldown Looking for a broody

    Aug 18, 2008
    We incubate in a HovaBator 1602 w/ fan.

    We do our own improvised version of a dry hatch and we also monitor weight loss of our eggs. We try to keep our incubator temperature in the 99.5-100.0 range and start off with our humidity at around 35-40%. When the water evaporates and drops down to 10-15% humidity, we let the incubator "stay dry" for about 12-16 hours before we add any more water. The goal is to get the eggs to lose about 12-14% of their weight by lock down, so we weigh our eggs before putting them into the incubator, and then weigh again when we candle on days 10, 14, and 18 (lock-down). If we see on days 10 and 14 that we are either losing too much or too little weight, we adjust how "dry" our hatch is by either attempting to raise or attempting to lower the humidity prior to lock-down.

    It's still a work in progress, but we're finding that the drier the hatch and the more weight lost during incubation, the more likely that our chicks will hatch (they also come out a bit sooner with this method, with some chicks coming out on day 19!).

    Here are some links that may help you:

    http://paraguinparadise.netfirms.com/Dry Incubation.htm
    http://www.eggincubator.biz/set-humidity.html

    We also use old egg carton lids to hold the eggs (on their sides) for lockdown. This cuts down on the 'soccer' that the first baby chicks to hatch tend to do. Our hatch rates went up a good 5-10% once we started using that trick. We are currently on the look-out for appropriately sized plastic cutlery trays to cut down on the waste. Another good thing about using the trays is there is much less 'egg funk' that gets dried onto the plastic water tray. Much easier clean up.

    Good luck!
     
  5. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2010
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    I was going to ask about using the cartons...we've had a few that pip but the pip is on the bottom of the egg and they then drown/die. So when you use the egg cartons - you're laying the eggs on their sides or putting the eggs in w/ large end up?
     
  6. anniesmom

    anniesmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have you checked the temperature in the Brinsea? I have the same one. It was brand new in March. My first attempt at hatching with it resulted in 0 chicks out of 21 eggs. The eggs were from two different farms and were hand carried. I found other people with the same problem and was told to check the temperature. I put about 4 different kinds of incubator thermometers in it and took an average. Mine was about 4 degrees colder than the read out said it was. The humidity was fine. There are directions in the back of the instructions on how to recalibrate it. (If there weren't past problems they wouldn't need to have the directions in there, would they.) My next hatch was much better. I even got a Little Giant foam incubator to use with it as a test at the same time putting half the eggs in each. The hatch percentage was about the same in each - MUCH better. I have since learned a couple more possibilities why eggs some of my eggs didn't hatch - double yolks and poo on them. There is definitely a learning curve with this. I'm sure there is a lot more I need to learn! At least I have chicks now.
     
  7. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I incubate in and old antique GQF wooden incubator (350 egg).

    I have found my hatches are better at 100.5-101 F.

    Shipped eggs are a crap shoot. 50% should be considered excellent with them.

    If you are fooling with the temp or humidity too much that will greatly effect the hatch: also, a good cooling off period tends to enhance the hatch.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Lark Rise

    Lark Rise Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have a Brinsea spot check thermometer? I would use it to check the temps at the egg level. I have found in my Brinsea that if the glass thermometer is just under 101F, the temps at egg is 99.5F. There are others who have mentioned this with their Brinsea. Try searching "Brinsea ECO 20 temperatures". Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2011
  9. MomMommyMamma

    MomMommyMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    West Virginia
    Quote:What is a "good cooling off period"?

    In reading this and the links provided by others, I'm thinking my humidity may have been too high recently. We had one or two get super glued into their shells a while back (dry membranes) and since then I've kept the humidity higher. Here in WV, even in the house - humidity is naturally VERY high so I may just be overdoing it. I was just thinking today as I emptied the incubator of unhatched eggs, how heavy they felt. I think I'll try weighing them in the future to check the weight loss.
     
  10. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 30, 2009
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    Quote:What is a "good cooling off period"?

    In reading this and the links provided by others, I'm thinking my humidity may have been too high recently. We had one or two get super glued into their shells a while back (dry membranes) and since then I've kept the humidity higher. Here in WV, even in the house - humidity is naturally VERY high so I may just be overdoing it. I was just thinking today as I emptied the incubator of unhatched eggs, how heavy they felt. I think I'll try weighing them in the future to check the weight loss.

    Think about the average hen (if there is such an animal). She gets off those eggs every day or so (unless she's an Asil) and gets a drink, eats a little, and poops. Those eggs are allowed to cool for that time.

    Now what are you trying to do with an incubator? Replicate the environment provided by the hen. Many with automatic turners never even open the door to their incubators unless it is to add water/and some not even then because it is on the outside of the incubator.

    Thru the years, many of us have discovered that the best hatches come from circumstances that best replicate nature. (You can't improve on nature). So we choose to turn the eggs by hand so that the door is open three times and day for 5 minutes or more each time.

    Actually, you might be interested to learn (or not, lol) that when hatching Muscovy Duck eggs in an incubator it is suggest to open the incubator door and leave it open for 30 minutes or so...... that's why I let the Muscovies hatch their own!!!! to much work. lol
     

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