Diary & Notes of Hatching SILKIE Eggs MOST AIR Cell Damage from SHIPPING THE FOLLOWING NOTES from this thread HAVE BEEN UPDATED FOR YOUR REFERENCE IN AN ARTICLE ~ Hatching Eggs 101 https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101 CHANGE OF PLAN when received eggs! (NOTES: AFTER (go figure) researching egg cell damage it seems it happens ALOT with shipped silkie and bantam eggs... Got it!) FIRST THINGS FIRST: Eggs should hatch in 21 days, give or take couple. (NOTES: READY A NOTEBOOK! Record keeping, got it!) EXPECTED HATCHING RATE: Don’t count my chickens before they are hatched, or even after for that matter! Shipped eggs have lower hatch rate. Got it A few weeks ago I decided on a Farm Innovators Model 2200 Circulated Air Incubator (styro ~Pic above) ONLY because it is affordable and the ratings are good for being a "styro" incubator. I DID NOT purchase the turner because I am always at home! (NOTES: thumbtacks that came with it don't work to hold the screen in place, so replaced with roofing nails. Not having hinges and the cord placement in front on-top makes it very awkward for opening and I hope it wont effect speedy egg turning, another words It feels klutzy! I ALSO PLACED the bator ON-TOP of two PCS of wood so the small HOLES on the bottom of the bator are getting more air through them, BUT NOT COVERING the holes!) Hatching chickens that are healthy depends completely on maintaining a controlled environment; Temperature, Humidity, Ventilation (oxygen), Turning. Got it! VENTILATION (OXYGEN): 1 of 2 RED TOP PLUGS were REMOVED: (removed the rear plug closest to the fan) I will replace the other as necessary during lock-down. (NOTES: This is a fan model. I attempted to run w/o either plug but couldn't get a steady humidity level until I replaced one red plug. ALSO PLACED the bator ON-TOP of two PCS of wood so all of the small HOLES on the bottom of the bator styro are still getting air through them. Normal air flow is needed during embryo development it needs oxygen and produces carbon dioxide, got it!) TEMPERATURE: I have been running the new "bator" EMPTY a steady 99.5/100 temp in the basement 2+ weeks and I have been "going by" the 2 internal thermometers set at top/egg level. I have also sterilized some flat rocks to lay around the outer parameter IN THE BOTTOM under the wire to "keep the heat" when turning the eggs or adding water but NOT over the small bottom ventilation holes! (NOTES: Temperatures outside the range of 97°F to 103°F will produce very few hatched eggs, got it!) NOTES: No electric and I have NO idea how long it was out, I didnt wake until MORNING ~ BACKUP PLAN lol yea ok... thats ok if u wake up! temp was down to 90 in bator put generator on and back up to 100 within 15minutes w/o touching anything, so I think those ROCKS were the best forthought! internal temp must have been holding! NOTES: No Matter how prepared you are, you really arent! Purchase water weazel to keep track of internal temp. Postponing am turn a few hours HUMIDITY: We have a room dehumidifier set to keep humidity at 65%. also to help keep the room warm. I split approx. one cup of warm water into the two thin holding areas on the bottom at start up and will only add as they get low but not run out. HUMIDITY NOTES: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/113681/humidity-in-bator-excellent-info-here-everyone-should-read-this after reading for this thread for 2 hours I have decided to Run humitity lower in my styro incubator, 42/48% WEIGH at CANDLING check AIR Sacks.The last three days not over 60% and average about 58%. The Humidity is ranging from 42/48% on the exterior gage and on a Zoo MED Analog Dual thermometer & Humidity Gage for reptiles (I velcro'd it on a small plastic cup so it will be level with the eggs, aside of the included interior thermometer). ALTITUDE of my location: about 171 m or 561 ft above sea level. (I have read higher altitude the more humidity needed, but I am not real high, plus less humidity in a "styrofoam" bator.) (NOTES: Humidity naturally will fluctuate in your incubator and it fluctuates widely in nature. If it is slightly lower or higher some days then don't worry about it. This fluctuation will seem natural to your eggs and they will do fine. Just watch for trends and if your air is consistently too dry or to moist then take steps to correct the situation. ALSO ...Bator plugged into surge protector. Several POSTERS will be posted not only at the incubator, but on lower level entryways in re: to keep the doors closed as much as possible and NEVER touch the incubator, and never unplug it! We also have a generator as well as vehicle converter if necessary because we live in the mountains and always are loosing our electric! got it!) (NOTES: Distilled water for wells, Research cleaning shipped egg, also have on hand Brinsea’s disinfectant, formulated to be used for cleaning eggs, incubators, safe and effective against yeasts, fungi, viruses and bacteria which can cause fatal damage to the growing embryo. WISH I would have known this BEFORE I set eggs and got MOLD in my BATOR!) Below pic is a Simple waterer/suctioner out of aquarium tubing placed through side and into water wells with a CVS Kids cc syringe to add/suck without disturbing the bator or eggs. 2 hoses into two compartments. check! (Note: draw a black line with a sharpie on the tube at top where water level should be in the water compartments, so I can see the water level better w/o Opening the Bator!) Below is a pic of what I had to rig INSTEAD of using the wells in the bottom of the bator, I had a hard time getting humidity correct, so I started using different size containers and caps for water holding, I could easily remove replace as necessary, small if it was too high and bigger ones if it was too low! It WORKS WELL and I can keep them clean and sanitized better and not mess with my eggs! I will use those wells at lockdown. EGGS: I have read that I should have purchased eggs locally instead of having them shipped, but I wanted Bantam Red & Blue Silkies! I ordered 6 of each through MyPet Chicken on line. GROUND SHIPPING may be a much better way of shipping due to the air pressure and temp changes of flying. NOTE: Call and make sure you know exactly what location your eggs are being shipped from. Got it! RECEIVING EGGS: Clean hands, always clean hands. Inspect eggs don't wash. Someone on this site sent me to this site.... http://www.bevsmarans.com/hatching_eggs.htm which I will follow for SHIPPED eggs. (NOTES: DISCARD ANY EGG THAT SHOWS ANY IMPERFECTION IN THE SHELL, EVEN HAIRLINE CRACKS. Allow eggs to sit in a moderately cool, somewhat humid place for 24 hours before you begin to incubate them. Basements are great. Moderately cool means 65-75 degrees store the eggs on their sides or with the blunt (less pointy) side UP. The blunt side contains the natural large air space in eggs, and this should NOT be on the bottom, or the embryo will develop wrong. DO NOT THROW YOUR EGGS RIGHT INTO THE INCUBATOR WHEN YOU GET THEM. DO NOT WARM THEM UP FAST IF THEY ARE COLD WHEN YOU GET THEM. Rotate your eggs a couple times a day while they sit. This will encourage the yolks to stay mobile. If the eggs are on their sides, just turn them at least a quarter turn. If the eggs are upright in an egg carton, put a thick book under one end of the carton, and to "rotate" them later, put the book under the OTHER end of the carton. Got it!) THESE ARE WHAT WE GOT... THESE ARE WHAT WE GOT... (NOTES: Next time at least TRY the candle wax/crayon wax or finger nail polish and see if it works on hairline cracked eggs, Got it!) I MADE this Record sheet, if anyone wants the files to use it and make changes I can email it. SITES oN AIR CELL DAMAGE... 1. AIR CELL INFO for Incubation http://www.squidoo.com/mailed-shipped-fertilised-chickens-eggs-fertilized-hatching-chicken-egg A normal air cell in a freshly laid egg are dime sized up to quarter sized in a week-old or older egg, and fixed at the fat end and just looks like a line when candled. From rough shipping it is possible to see detached, loose or rolling air sacs as seen in the picture. For those eggs, you need to change your hatch plan. They have to sit 24 hours always pointy end down, to see if the aircells will reattach, about half of them will in my experience. Either way, leave them in the egg carton for all 21 days of the hatch. Stop turning early at Day 16 not 18. It is possible to hatch chicks from eggs with detached air sacs when the cells never stabilized even after 24 hours, but were left upright for hatch. Make sure any turning is gentle, and no flatter than 45 degrees, more vertical is better! Disrupted, shattered or ruptured air sacs are seen when instead of one bubble on the side of the egg, there are more than one. Handling must be very rough in these situations and I believe can be enough to kill the embryo in the first place. These should have the same treatment as the detached air sac eggs, but don't re-candle after 24 hours, these won't reattach. Just having the air bubbles rising to the top of the eggs at the fat end while hatching the eggs vertically in trays gives any chicks that do grow chance to pip into the air cell. Likelihood of a chick hatching is lower than intact displaced air cell eggs, but worth a try if the eggs show no sign of spoilage or leaking. 2. Suggestions for Management of Damaged and Mal-positioned Egg Air Cells https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/501034/suggestions-for-management-of-damaged-and-mal-positioned-egg-air-cells "These eggs should then be set into the incubator in a vertical position and not turned for 36-48 hours, after that turning by tilting side to side at a 45 degree angle helps to keep the air at the top. Otherwise leave well alone and dont remove for weighing. During the second week the chorio-allantoic membrane (generously supplied with blood vessels) grows out from the chick to line the complete inner surface, including the air cell. Think of it as inflating a balloon within an already inflated balloon. The air cell is now resealed and from 15 days can be treated normally though gentle handling is needed." 3. http://skeffling.hubpages.com/hub/Chicken-Incubators-and-getting-the-most-chicks-from-your-hatching-eggs "For rolling, detached or disrupted air cells (so cells no longer at fat end of the egg but like a spirit level bubble on the long side), you’ll need to change your hatch plan. They need to sit 24 hours always pointy end down, to see if the cells will reattach. Leave them in the egg carton for all 21 days of the hatch. Stop turning early at Day 16 not 18. I have hatched chicks from eggs with detached air sacs where the cells never stabilized even after 24 hours, but were left upright for hatch. Make sure any turning is gentle, and 45% or more vertical (NOTES: CHANGE of HATCH Plan DUE to EGG Cell Damage on most of the 12 SILKIE eggs. Settle 24 hours fat end up in Styro Egg Cartton with the bottoms cut out so that the eggs still get air circulation, heat and do not get condensation under them. Got it!) Abovse pic is setting 24 hours Below, Incubation begin after 24 hr settle (NOTES) Incubation begun... 10:30 am 9/2/12 Begin temp 99.5 humidity 46% (dropped from adding eggs to 97 & 40%) will check in 4 hours to see if stabilized to initial settings. Remained in carton with holes cut out of bottom, tried to not move them when placed entire carton in bator. checked water, left small water well I keep full. No turning for 48 hours. wait wait wait.... posted signs on bator and lower level doors, now I will get my record keeping organized. (NOTES: Rain outside finally, but causing me issues with the bator already! Opened the 2nd VENT plug because humidity keeps going above 50% averaging 52/55% TRYING to keep it at 46/48% Turned the room dehumidifier and am letting it run without setting the % levels. Wondering if its not also do to adding the eggs. Temperature is slowly leveling to where I want it 99.5) EGG PLACEMENT &TURNING EGGS: Mark eggs, using a pencil, with an X on one side and an O on the other. Make sure to turn the eggs at least 3 times a day. When turning eggs, move them to a different part of the tray to protect them from temperature variation. If the eggs are not placed on their sides, they should be placed at an angle so the small ends are in the downward position. When adding the Eggs the temperature will immediately drop. DO NOT ADJUST THE THERMOSTAT, or risk accidentally cooking them. Wait 4/6 hours and if the temperature is still low, make a small adjustment, as small as you can. (Note: Small adjustments on the manual Styrofoam incubators make BIG changes! Ever a Stink coming from the bator, find the bad egg & remove so it doesn't contaminate the rest ! Got it!) (NOTE: Chicken hatching eggs should be turned 5 to 7 times per day and if turning by hand they should always be turned an odd amount of times. Turning the egg prevents the embryo from touching and attaching to the membrane inside the egg which could cause abnormal growth. The most convenient way to turn eggs is to purchase an egg turner. This also helps you to maintain a consistent humidity, since your incubator does not have to be opened the recommended 5-7 times for hand turning eggs. During the last 3 days or lock-down turning should be stopped and the incubator should be opened up as little as possible. Got it!) NOTES: Pic 1 BELOW is before I turned today and 2nd is after... very gently I leaned them the other way psss they are silkies and very tiny. I read more this morning and decided to start turning like this 3x day, I just turned at lunch so they settled for 24 hrs and then set in bator w/o turning for 52 hours... I havent decided when I will candle yet, def not until day 7 though! I DID move the EGGS and NOT the carton!I moved the thermometers and hygro around too! just happens it looks the like the pic is flopped! EGGTOPSY (NOTES: Candled Culled NEW MEANING to the words USPS "SCRAMBLED" My EGGS!!! See pics, need I say more?? decided to cull after reading bacterial info on eggsploding eggs in the bator) This was one of the eggs noted with a HUGE moving air cell apon rcvg. and still moved when candled now. and it was broken in the bag very carefully! Pic below... Small "sappy" spot on egg. TINY Sappy spot on a Blue Silkie C egg found at last turn today, 3rd day in. 3 pics below...... Culled Blue Silkie A egg found at AM turn today, 6th day in. pics below...... This was one of the eggs noted with a AIR CELL MOVING END to END apon rcvg. eg Pic below.eggtopsy.. Small "sappy" spot (can still see in pic) on egg plus alot of running wetnes. I didnt candle because it was gross.broken in the ziplock very carefully too, looks the same as first sappy egg but now the scrambled egg is a bit browner. SCALE ordered !! $12.99 good reviews on amazon cheap too!! LOVE THIS LITTLE THING http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001QADQZO/ref=ox_ya_os_product WeighMax Pocket Mini CD Digital Scale 500g x 0.1gram NOTES: WEIGH EGGS ~ WHY? Explaination & FREE printable Graph http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/MonitoringEggWeightLoss.html http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/EggWeightGraph.doc can record your eggs weights as you go. CANDLE INFO: AIR SACK CANDLING: Track the air sac with pencil tracings when you candle, @ 7, 14 & 18th days to make sure the air sac is growing at the right rate. I will refer to this site https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/491013/goose-incubation-hatching-guide-completed as a pictorial guide for candling. (NOTES: I purchased a candler from amazon for $13.00 plug in and works great when tried on a fridge egg) CANDLE 7th day: Determine growth, weigh, pencil mark air cell size. Determine which are fertile. The eggs remain in the incubator and the candler is positioned over the air cell (blunt end) to illuminate the contents of the egg. There should be a red 'dot' about the size of a match head with faint blood vessels surrounding it. Those eggs without any indications of fertility should be re-candled at 10 days and 14 days & thrown if they're infertile. AGAIN, I will refer to https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/491013/goose-incubation-hatching-guide-completed & http://chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=73884.0 as a pictorial guide for candling. also this side for pics of BAD eggs, Progression Though Incubation https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/261876/chicks-are-here-egg-candling-pics-progression-though-incubation also https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...-egg-candler-using-common-household-materials for more pic examples. OMG SILKIE BLUE B IS ALIVE!!!! pic below day 6 THIS is a video of a CANDLE at DAY 10 ! exactly what I saw!!! except I was a little more excited!! DAY 10 candle....see EGGTOSPY pics below two blobs bubbles air sacks, one infertal moving thick airsackS Only see Silk B alive... rest look infertile all Red silkies (thinking they have a Roo problem, I emailed but no reply, go figure) CANDLE 14th day: Determine growth, weigh, pencil mark air cell size. Dispose bad eggs. CANDLE 18th day: Determine growth, weigh, pencil mark air cell size. Dispose bad eggs or "quitters". PREPARE BROODER: Prepare everything you need for them once they have hatched. Now is the time to do final checks on brooder, heat lamp and feed. Incubation Cheat Sheet https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/incubation-cheat-sheet LOCK DOWN on 18th day: LOCK DOWN = lower the temperature about 0.5C & increase the humidity the last three days not over 60% and average about 58%, STOP turning and the incubator stays closed, unconditionally for the next three days while the chicks hatch! (Note: To boost humidity, add warm water or increase the size of the pan or add a wet sponge. You can also adjust the humidity by adding or cutting back airflow. A full incubator needs to have the vents at least half open for the last three days.) PLACE the eggs in an egg carton upright to hatch at LOCKDOWN for easier hatching, safety of other eggs/peeps and cleanliness. HATCHING: Once the eggs begin to hatch, humidity will naturally rise but don't open the incubator! Open 2nd red top vent plug. Wait until the majority of the eggs have hatched and dried before removing chicks, and then do it quickly, without disturbing the incubator & the remaining eggs. Pipping, can take up to 6 hrs for the chick to fully emerge, and a another 6 hrs for it to dry, fluff and begin to move around. Since the chicks have reserves of yolk to draw on, they don’t need to eat or drink for the first 24 hours after hatching and can be left in the incubator until the stragglers have had a chance to hatch. TO ASSIST OR NOT TO ASSIST: refer AGAIN to end of https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/491013/goose-incubation-hatching-guide-completed for how to help a chick. Sites I will refer to: Intervention: Helping Your Chicks Hatch https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/9316/intervention-helping-your-chicks-hatch Float Testing, Checking Egg Viability For Late Or Overdue Hatching Give Eggs A Full 24 Hrs Overdue Before Float Testing. It Works On All Bird Eggs- Period! Takes Very Little Equipment Or Time To Do And Is Easy To Perform. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/383525/float-testing-checking-egg-viability-for-late-or-overdue-hatching Eggtopsy: What happened to my egg? https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/363717/eggtopsy-what-happened-to-my-egg-graphic-pictures FINISHED~ SANITIZE EQUIPMENT DIP THE BEAK OF THE CHICK IN THE WATER BEFORE YOU TURN IT LOOSE. A taste of water right away helps them to find more water soon. If your chicks are at all stressed, add about 3 tablespoons of brown or table sugar to each quart of water for extra energy. Most baby bird loss is caused because the bird doesn't start to eat or drink. Never let your bird run out of water. http://odysseyranch.com/Chick Care Tips.html http://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/chapter-4-caring-for-baby-chicks.aspx The Care of Baby Chicks, Ducks, & Geese http://www.strombergschickens.com/chick_care 3 Essential Chick Care Tips (pasting up and Cord info) http://ezinearticles.com/?Do-You-Know-These-3-Essential-Chick-Care-Tips?&id=4449831 Some causes of EARLY CHICK MORTALITY ~ https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/39604/some-causes-of-early-chick-mortality CHICKEN ORTHOPEDICS ~ (I have these saved in my favorites for hatch) https://sites.google.com/a/larsencreek.com/chicken-orthopedics/leg-braces https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/72885/boot-for-curled-toes-on-3-month-old-chicken-update-w-pics http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/02/spraddle-leg-in-baby-chicks-what-is-it.html Small Animal Euthanasia at Home http://www.alysion.org/euthanasia/index.php How to cull chicks http://www.waldeneffect.org/how_to_cull_chicks/ SEXING CHICKS ~ With in TWO DAYS you must do this or wait till they crow or lay!! refer to : http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/sex_linked_crosses.html & http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/Feather_sexing_practice.html FINALY: Jump for joy or throw the darn thing out the window.... hmmmmm ???? TBD pssss I think I did my homework, but reading about so many failed attempts I at least INTEND to give it my best shot!!! THANKS for any CORRECTIONS and HELP ahead of time!!! Calling right now to see where my EGGS are!!! harumphhhh I am located in Eastern PA. I have an addiction to Chickens and tend to spoil them rotten. I am a stay at home Mom who raises her kids, English Springer Spaniels and babysits for friends & family. We have built two recycled coops for our 17 hens and Roo. We spoil the "girls" with oatmeal, raisins and anything else we know they love! My kids even started a Meal Worm Box and their next project is a worm farm. But not until these finicky girls eat them!! I am not new to chickens & peepers, BUT I am a NEWBIE to hatching! I have always purchased my chicks at our local Ag center. This time we decided to hatch (OK I decided to hatch, like everything else, the hubby will come around full swing and get "into" it even more than I do! He is already letting me know that the incubator is running at the correct temp every time he ventures up from the lower level!) I have to admit I have read, read and read myself into total confusion in regards to incubation! What the BeeeJimmmmminy Krickets! Soooooo....Taking what I have learned, what makes the most sense and hoping you can help fill in the cracks!