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Day 20 of Incubation --- Lockdown questions

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by JBarringerNC, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. JBarringerNC

    JBarringerNC Chirping

    I have 2 dozen chicken eggs in my homemade incubator.

    I've had steady temps of 99-100, and my humidity is now raised since they're in Lock Down.
    Digital therm says its 60-62% humidity.

    I turned the eggs individually by hand 3 times daily (morning, noon, night) each day (From days 1-18)

    Shouldn't I start seeing some egg movement today, and / or hear some cheeping if the they're gonna hatch ??

    Just sitting on pins and needles [​IMG] and I hate playing the waiting game.

  2. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Maybe, or maybe not. Nature is rarely very precise.

    Actual incubation period depends on a lot of things, including breed, bantam/fullsize, lineage of the sire and dam, and incubation temperature.

    For example, a low temperature incubation causes the embryo to develop more slowly, thus pipping later. High temperatures, accelerate development. Or off-temperatures can outright kill the embryo. It depends on magnitude.

    Twenty-one days is a good average for chickens, but our most recent hatch was on day 19. I suspect the temperature was too high on that one, for various reasons. But I present that as an example of what can occur.

    And, [​IMG]
  3. JBarringerNC

    JBarringerNC Chirping

    Thanks for the reply!

    This is my 1st Incubator and its "homemade" at that, so I'm a newbie to raising chicks without the hen doing the work for me!

    I have the eggs in basic old egg crates (grocery store type) and have the fat side of each egg facing upward.
    My thermostat is just a modified lower water heater therm.. (metal side facing the bulb about 2" away from it)

    Temps have fluctuated "a few times" from 97-102 Degrees... this is according to the digital thermostat/hygrometer I bought at Home Depot. I've also got an Analog type thermometer in there lying on the egg crates. Its reading 100


    During the LOCK DOWN period, how important is it to not open up the incubator?
    Are there any visible indications that an egg's not going to hatch, I seen something online about bloodspots or something of that sort.. .??

    ~Thanks for your help.

    J. Barringer
    Charlotte NC
  4. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Sounds like a nice incubator!

    Opening the incubator during lockdown causes heat and, more problematic during this period, humid air to escape. So, if your particular incubator can restore humidity quickly, then it would be less of an issue. Most do not open them during this period, so try to keep it closed as much as humanly possible.

    During the incubation most people candle their eggs at least twice: around day 5-7 and around day 12-14. These are to check for embryo viability. That's not to say that you can't candle them anytime you want, but to avoid opening the incubator too much, most just pick one or two days to do it.

    The bloodspots, etc. that you have read about are often visible at the first candling. Those eggs are usually removed early, as there is no hope for development. At this point in your hatch, if you were to candle an egg that was ready to hatch it would be almost completely dark inside, with a large air sack at the large end of the egg. You probably would not see much detail, as the chick fills up most of the space.

    You could do that candling at this point if it would like, just be advised about the humid air escape challenge.

    There is at least one real good guide on BYC on incubating eggs. But by the time you find it and read it you may have chicks already [​IMG]

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    In addition to the other information, it is not at all unusual for eggs to hatch a couple of days early or late, whether in an incubator or under a broody. I've had eggs pipping when I went into lockdown. I've had eggs hatch two full days early under a broody. I think with mine that is mainly a combination of heredity and incubation temperature. It could have other things affecting it.

    Are you sure you are counting the days right? It's not at all uncommon for people to miss it by a whole day. There is even a hatching calendar on this forum that has it wrong.

    Eggs do not have a day's worth of development 2 seconds or 2 hours after you put them in the incubator. It takes 24 hours for them to have a day's worth of development. When you count the days, think of it as days of development. If you set them on a Monday, Day 1 of development is about that time of day on Tuesday. An easy way to see if you are counting the days right is that the day of the week you set them is the day of the week they should hatch. If you set chicken eggs on a Monday, they should hatch on a Monday.

    Remember that this is just a rough target. Actual hatch could be off by a couple of days. Also remember that lockdown does not have to be real precise. Several people use that bogus hatching calendar and lock down a day early and still get pretty good hatches. Think of it as a guideline, not an absolute law of nature.

    I'm not too worried about temperature fluctuations when opening an incubator. The core temperature of the eggs is what is important, not the air temperature. It takes a long time for the core temperature of the eggs to react to temperature fluctuations. Too much heat is worse than not enough also. Cooling off a little won't bother them.

    The risk of opening the incubator during lockdown is in possibly shrink-wrapping the chick. This is where the membrane around the chick dries out enough to shrink around the chick so tightly it cannot move to pip or zip. Until it pips there is no real risk of this happening just from opening the incubator. That membrane is just not going to dry out that much in those circumstances. It can happen if the average humidity is too low during incubation but not from an instantaneous opening the incubator. That shell does too good a job of protecting the chick.

    Even after the chick has pipped, you probably will not shrink wrap each and every chick that has pipped if you open the incubator. There is a huge difference in what can possibly happen and what will happen each and every time. It can happen so it is best to not open the incubator when one has pipped, but that is not necessarily a death sentence to each and every egg if you do open it. Sometimes eggs pip on the bottom where you cannot see the pip.

    I have opened the incubator after eggs have pipped. For instance when the eggs had pipped before lockdown. Usually they hatch without a problem. But I also have shrink-wrapped a couple doing that. If I have a reason to open the incubator during lockdown, I will. But I understand the risk and have to have a real reason, not just I want to cuddle a chick.

    Before they hatch they absorb the yolk. They can live at least three days after hatch without eating or drinking after hatch because of that. I generally don’t open the incubator after lockdown until the hatch is over. If I need to add water, I use this, going in through a vent hole.


    Hope this helps. Good luck.
    3 people like this.
  6. PoultryGirly

    PoultryGirly Songster

    Mar 28, 2012
    Did your chicks ever hatch?
  7. LIN0125

    LIN0125 In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2014
    Hi I'm new this site and to hatching . I have a couple of questions. I have Barred Rock eggs that I put on lockdown yesterday. The temp is holding steady at 99.9 and humidity is at 67. When should I start to hear or see something?? This is driving me crazy!! Lol. Any help would be great!

  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    When the chicks are ready, they'll start by rocking the egg, chirping perhaps, and pipping their air hole. They rest a lot, and peck some. On or about Day 21, they'll break their way out.

    This all assumes fertile eggs that survived the journey to forming chicks and chicks successfully breaking their way out. Tie your hands down and let nature take it's course. It truly is best in the long run that you do nothing, nothing at all until Day 22 or Day 23. Just watch.
  9. LIN0125

    LIN0125 In the Brooder

    Mar 17, 2014
    Ok sounds great! So the temp and humidity are good?? Just want to be sure!
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    What you have is just fine.

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