Dangers of leaving auto turner on through entire incubation?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jeffross1968, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    So, I have a staggered hatch going on. I have duck eggs (either 2 or 7 days away), chicken eggs both 5 and 2 weeks away. I'm wondering if anyone has kept the auto turner going through the actual hatch period. I'm guessing that if I actually had one that was in the process of hatching, I might unplug it for a few hours? It was silly to put eggs in at all different times, but considering it an experiment....
  2. helomech

    helomech Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2012
    East Texas
    I don't think the chicks will be able to get into position if it keeps turning them. I would take out the turner, and mark the ones that need turned. Leave the one's due to hatch unturned and turn the others by hand.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
  4. DirtCreature

    DirtCreature Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2011
    Olympia, Washington
    I ave staggered hatches in my bator right now, this is what im doing too. i think you cant take rows of the turner out from what ive heard, im going to the feed store to look at a turner to see how "easy" it really is, (with eggs already in the bator!).... good luck. i will keep an eye out for your posts about your staggered hatch. what day(s) are they due?

  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Chicks can hatch in an auto turner, but it's not ideal.

    Depending on the style of turner too, I have found a few babies smashed in the past...
  6. TexasLady

    TexasLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2012
    Yes, they can hatch in it. I marked a hatch, took all the eggs out for that date, was interrupted during taking out the eggs, and I didn't notice that I had missed more than a dozen eggs marked with the same date. I think I had those marked on the calendar wrong, and I didn't look at the eggs that were marked correctly. I never noticed it because I don't open the incubator for any reason other than checking for viability, dates when I need to move eggs or a bad smell.

    However, there are several problems. #1, the chicks are able to crawl all over the eggs beside them (and they do). When they are wet, it probably suffocates the chicks still in the eggs. (I had none hatch that were crawled over but I was having a serious incubator problem at that time). Whereas, laying on the side where the chicks are on a flat level, they don't do that because they can't get over the eggs (for the most part). They might bump the eggs, but they can't crawl all over them when wet and slimy.

    #2, when I discovered them because peeps were coming from the incubator, I quickly opened it, and I discovered two had been crushed by the slight slide of the tray (or they just got in and couldn't get out). One was stuck between the pole on the tray and the metal side of the pan. He lived, but he didn't feel very good for a day or two. They were still wet, so apparently the did a fair share of crawling around while wet. I'm guessing that, when they hatch under a hen, they crawl to the outside of the eggs so that they can get more air and dry.

    You can stop the movement, but if you do, the embryos that are not far enough along are very likely to stick to the eggs. This will create a problem when they go to hatch. But it doesn't stop problem #1.

    I'm not sure why you can't take the 18 day eggs out of the incubator. Normally you should do that and move them to your hatcher so you can get them still while allowing the rest of the eggs to be turned in the incubator.

    If it was me and I had no transfer place that was ready, I would put the eggs on the bottom of the incubator in the bottom slot and let them turn. If you do that, then put pieces of rolled up newspaper on the sides of the egg holders so the chicks don't get there and get smashed. But it would be well worth your while to get a transfer place ready ASAP.

    You could also go on a local site and just purchase a cheap foam incubator and put the eggs in there. They should keep the eggs until they hatch. Be sure you get the humidity up right before you put the eggs in however.

    Good luck. It was a harrowing experience for me, and I lost too many chicks to ever make that mistake again. Now I check everything twice, and I transfer in the morning when my mind is still fresh.

    Sorry for your trouble. We all make mistakes.
  7. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    I don't have a hatcher. Personally, I'm not sure what is required of a hatcher, other than heat and humidity. How tight would a hatcher need to be. I would need to use what is available to me. I wonder if placing a bunch of newspaper at the bottom of a small fish tank, covering most of the top, and positioning a heat lamp over it would work? I could put some bowls of water in there for humidity. That way, the ones that are ready for lock down can be taken out and the turner can continue doing it's job.

    As for the question of hatch dates...I have 13 duck eggs of unknown breed. I'm hatching for a friend, who found the clutch by her pond, and she has several different kinds. 15 were given to us, it is day 26 and 13 are faring well. I know nothing about duck eggs, other than they could hatch at day 35 if they are muscovy? She took some duck eggs she found in another clutch, put them in her incubator the same day, and she has pips today. So that's a toss up. I also have 5 chicken eggs due around Easter, and then 3 freak (frizzle x polish) eggs a friend gave me that are only on day 5.

    In the past, I have lost MANY in the final days. I have attributed at least part of that to the process of taking the turner out, placing the eggs back in, and having to mess with the temp all over again to get it steady. Egg cartons never worked to keep the eggs never worked properly. So, since I'm a stay at home dad and can be here, and don't have to worry about hatching while I'm gone, I had decided early on that I'd leave the turner in anyway. The idea of a staggered hatch came later.

    Along with my question above about a makeshift hatcher, if I was to leave the turner in, but just turn it off, should I wait to do so until it's at the end of a turn and the egg is nearly on it's side, instead of straight up and down?
  8. TexasLady

    TexasLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2012
    Anything is possible. http://www.ehow.com/how_4988665_build-chicken-incubator-light-bulb.html

    Not everything is practical.

    I personally would not take a chance with a lightbulb stuck into a cardboard box on my house's safety. I'd be scared my house would burn down, and it wouldn't be worth it to me.

    That being said, no matter what you do, there will be problems, but if you want to go ahead, you will have to choose i.e. the old "pick your poison" saying.

    If the humidity for the lesser developed chicks is too high, they will drown.

    If the humidity for the nearly hatching chicks is too low, they won't hatch.

    If you stop the eggs from turning, they lesser developed chicks will stick to the side of the egg causing hatching problems. So by stopping the turner, you will injure them.

    If you keep the turner running, you might have crushed chicks.

    If you shut the turner off and open the door to turn the other eggs, you will lose humidity every time you open the door. This will result in most of your hatch being unable to hatch and dying.

    I would find a way to move the eggs to another place. Look up home made incubators online. You probably can find one that is reasonable. Here's another one that you could build for maybe $20. There are a lot more all over the internet. I would guess that you will have varying results with each different type.

    IMHO the greatest loss is where ever you have the most chicks. If your 18 days chicks are the biggest group and if you don't build a hatcher, then the others will have to suffer. If your 7-14 day chicks are the biggest group, then you will have to deal with the non-hatching chicks.

    If you are hatching wild birds, depending on your locale, you might end up with disease in your own birds that you won't like.

    You definitely do have a set of problems I'm glad I'm not facing.

    Good luck.
  9. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    So...we started with 15 duck eggs (were not sure when they were due because we didn't know the breed), plus 6 or 7 chicken eggs (due tomorrow), and 3 more project chicken eggs (currently on day 10). 14 days into it we threw away 2 duck eggs away. On day 27, we got our first pip, and turned off the auto turner. Yesterday, 9 of the 13 hatched...the other 4 did not hatch. The chickens due tomorrow are down to 3 (rest were early deaths). They went into lock down during the duckling hatch. They have now been placed in a Brinsea mini eco that we won in a contest. They've been through a lot, and really don't expect much.

    The final 3 project chicken eggs are still in the main bator, having turned them a couple times per day very quickly during the lock down of the duck eggs, and then once that was finished, we plugged the auto turner back on.

    I won't go through a 2 part staggered hatch again. I'll likely build, or purchase another styrofoam, to use as a hatcher. Feel lucky we got such a good hatch rate though from the ducks. Could have lost everything the way we were panicking at the end there.

    I appreciate all the replies. My advice for anyone reading this later...have a hatcher ready to go, or don't do a staggered hatch [​IMG]

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