Difficulty hatching Buff Orpingtons

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Scarecrow1966, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Scarecrow1966

    Scarecrow1966 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 30, 2010
    A few questions for those of you who are experienced in hatching:

    First, I am using the typical home-made incubator that I made following plans here on BYC, using an old cooler. I have hooked up an automatic turner inside, and it is forced air. I have had excellent success in the past with "barnyard mix" eggs from a friend, along with some rocks I hatched out for another friend. In both cases I had a 90% + hatch rate.

    I have recently tried to hatch out some Buff Orpingtons from my own flock. These eggs come from hens that have been laying regularly since August, and there are two roosters over four hens - I do not believe fertility is the problem. These Buffs came from Tractor Supply early this year, so they are hatchery chickens.

    In both recent hatch attempts I have had a 50% hatch rate. In both hatches, the chicks are not pipping until late on day 21, and most do not hatch until late on day 22 or early 23. I have for the first time experienced one chick dying after appearing healthy (it lived for around 18 hours) and one I had to euthanize due to a splayed leg.

    I have not adjusted the temperature on my incubator since the first successful hatches, and the humidity is not a problem.

    Given the "day late" hatches & other problems, do you suppose it is due to the incubator being perhaps one degree too low? While I did not record daily temperatures, the temps seemed to be within the acceptable range.

    I have also heard that many people experience problems from hatchery chicks - fact or fiction?

    Or, are Buffs a little more difficult to hatch?

    Any constructive advise would be greatly appreciated, as I would like to hatch more over the winter for a good friend who kept me in farm fresh eggs while I was waiting for mine to hatch.

  2. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    Here are a list of reasons for late hatches. It could be any one of them.
    1. Your temp is to low because your thermometer is off.
    2. You could have temps swings making your average temp for the entire incubation period to low.
    3. Barnyard chickens have an unpredictable incubation period because different breeds develop at different rates. eg My leghorns have always pipped early like right after lockdown or even before.
    4. My BO's have hatched on time at day 21 or as late as day 22 or 23.

    I have also noticed that healthy chickens lay healthy eggs therefore you have better chicks from the get go. Eggs with orangey yolks are better than pale yellow ones. Just my 2 cents.

    Happy Hatching [​IMG]

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