Desperate for some answers, chicks dying.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by weaversfarm, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. weaversfarm

    weaversfarm Out Of The Brooder

    95
    3
    31
    Nov 28, 2012
    I will try to be as thorough as I can. I have been hatching eggs now for years with an excellent hatch rate, 85-90%. I have always used the Little Giant incubators without fans and never used a hygrometer. This year I bought a Farm Innovator incubator and also have 2 Little Giant incubators set up and running. I bought the model 7200 fan kits for the Little Giant incubators since I had heard it improves hatch rates. I also have the GQF thermometers/hygrometers I am using for the first time. All 3 incubators have a turner in them. I called Farm Innovators because the incubator had condensation in the windows. They told me the temp. should read 93 degrees and to only put about 1/4 cup of water in the wells for humidity to be around 50%. I put my GQF thermometer in the Farm Innovators incubator and it is true to temp. The incubator will read 93 degrees but it is actually 100 degrees. The humidity with the Farm Innovator hygrometer is always high....between 70 and 80%. The GQF hygrometer reading in the Little Giant incubators is 38 if temp is 100 degrees. Now...the problem. I am having chicks dying because they can't break out of their shells. The shell is drying before they get out, or they will peck a single hole and not go any further. I have lost 4 today and helped 2 others out of the shell. The inside of their shells were so dried out that even though they had pipped all the way around the shell they couldn't break through the white inner layer. I have another 5 eggs like this right now. Their hatch date was Thursday, Feb. 20th and they are still trying to hatch out. I have no experience with the fans, hygrometers and what I need to do differently for the next hatch, which is next week. I had one chick having a hard time standing right after it hatched, it would flop over backwards and couldn't get up. I did give that chick some electrolyte water and it seems to be doing better now. I have another 123 eggs to set next week and I don't know what I am doing wrong. There has to be a reason why these chicks can't get out of their shells. Is the white inner shell drying out so fast because of the fan? Humidity is high enough now that the Farm Innovator incubator again has condensation in the windows and humidity is reading 79%. What should I do different? I don't enjoy watching these chicks struggling for hours and hours to get out of their shells and then never make it. Any help would be greatly appreciated...I am stumped on what to do.
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    9,279
    727
    321
    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    Okay, so your struggling chicks are in the Farm Innovator, right? Are your eggs still hatching fine in the LGs?

    Can you remove the hygrometer from the FI to calibrate it? Put it in a zip lock bag with a teaspoon of slightly wet salt (I put the salt in a soda bottle cap). Seal the bag and leave it for 6 hours. When you check it, it should read 75% humidity. If it doesn't, take it out and quickly adjust it to 75. If your hygrometer in there is accurate, then your humidity has been way too high and the eggs haven't lost enough fluid. Lots of times when that happens, the chicks get sticky, then when they pip that stuff starts to dry up and things get tough. I keep my humidity at around 25-30% (or up to 45% if I can't get it lower) for the first 18 days. Then I jack it up to 60-65% for the last 3. Those eggs have too loose fluid, but not too much. The dryer conditions allow that to happen.
    I was having your exact same problem before I started dry hatching. My poor little chicks would work so hard but just wouldn't make it. I'd open them up (which usually involved just popping off the top where they'd zipped) and they'd be perfectly ready to hatch, but they'd usually be funky and occasionally I'd find one or two that were stuck to the membrane in some place or another.
    I hope you get everything worked out. I used to just throw my eggs in the Bator with my thermometer and wing it. Got a hygrometer to improve my hatch rates and started struggling. It just takes some fine tuning. And its always an excellent idea to calibrate your thermometers and hygrometers every time you incubate. Good luck!
     
  3. weaversfarm

    weaversfarm Out Of The Brooder

    95
    3
    31
    Nov 28, 2012
    Yes, the only incubator I am having problems with is the Farm Innovator. I will try testing the hygrometer as you suggested, I have never heard of checking it that way. Not ever having this problem before, didn't know what I was doing wrong. I was ready to give up on hatching this year. I hate to get them developed only to have them die trying to get out of the shell. I do understand there will be casualties, but not acceptable if there is some way of fixing the problem. Thank you again for your response, this was a problem I had no idea how to handle. Sometimes I think I should have stuck to the way I used to do things, not so complicated and not so many deaths.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by