Dry Incubation

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rockpuppy, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. rockpuppy

    rockpuppy Hatching

    Jun 15, 2009
    Hi, Dry incubation was reccommended to me by a member on our local chicken forum. I GOOGLED the topic and read the article that was on BYC by Bill Worrell. I did get a second incubator to move the eggs over to in which to hatch. My question is this: If you have eggs in the incubator with the egg turner that are due to hatch within a week of the first eggs you put in, how do you NOT open the "hatching incubator" to place the new eggs in as they hit the 18 day mark?

    These are the first chicks I''m hatching using the method. None of the eggs that I got from a member of our local forum were dated so I asuumed that all of thte eggs would hatch within a 24-48 period. I have all of the eggs in the hatching incubator, but some of the chicks are due to go into the brooder tomorrow while some of the eggs haven't even begun to pip yet.

    How do I move the older chicks into the brooder without disruptung the humidity level at this crucial stage? I'm also afraid of bacteria building up on the older eggs shells of the chicks that hatched out yesterday compared to those that are just now starting to pip. I also have one weak chick that hatched this morning so is about 12 hours behind the first two chicks to hatch. I'm afraid the more robust chicks will step on and hurt or kill.the weaker chick.

    I'm trying so hard to follow the "Don't under any circumstances OPEN the incubator" during this four day period. What should I do if some of the eggs in the hatching incubator are just beginning to hatch when it's time to move the three day old chicks into the brooder? Do I let all the chicks stay in the incubator until everyone hatches leaving the possibility that bacteria will be building up on the old egg shells creating an unhealthy environment? Or do I break down, open the incubator remove the chicks and old shells asap and close the incubator as quickly as possible.

    I' new to using the incubator. I did it last year for one hatch and made every mistake a beginner can make. I'm trying to do it correctly and follow the rules. Out of the 25 eggs in the incubator, on day 21 I only had two chicks hatch, the weak chick this morning and another egg just start to pip. There's no sign of action in any of the other eggs, however, when I candled them the last time half of the eggs looked good. Some are dark eggs so ir was hard to tell because I couldn't see an obvious air sac.

    It's obvious to me at this point that not all of the eggs will hatch close enough together for me to keep the top closed closed rule ubless I leave ALL of the chicks and eggs and shells in the incubator until everyone hatches out. What should I do? Remove or not remove: That is the question!

    Thanks, Patricia

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    :frow Welcome to the forum! :frow Glad you joined us! :frow

    Personally, I’d space the start of the eggs far enough apart that I would not have that problem. But that does not help you now.

    I’d just do what I felt I had to do and assume the risk. Remember that the guidelines are not absolute laws of nature coming with guarantees. Following the guidelines exactly does not guarantee success. Violating the guidelines does not guarantee total failure. The guidelines are there to help improve your odds of having success, not guarantee anything.

    Many of us, including me, sometimes violate the guidelines and generally do OK. I’m sure I violate others because I don’t know all of them. The guidelines are about odds. The more seriously you violate them the greater chance of a problem, obviously, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. And sometimes, there are no problems at all.

    I’ve opened the incubator during lockdown before a few different times. I’ve occasionally shrink-wrapped a chick, but not always. The risk is that the egg has externally pipped and the membrane will dry out enough to shrink tightly around the chick so it cannot hatch. If the egg has not externally pipped, there is virtually no risk. Even if the egg has externally pipped, there is no guarantee it will become shrink-wrapped. There are a lot of different factors involved. How long is the incubator open, the humidity in the room, is there a breeze that will dry it out faster, the type of incubator (forced air or still air), how fast the incubator recovers humidity, many different factors.

    If you have to open it, there are maybe some things you can do to minimize the risk. Some people take it into the bathroom, close the door, and turn the shower on real hot to steam up the room. Some people mist the eggs. Some add warm water so the humidity recovers faster. If you do this, don’t use water a lot hotter than incubator temperature. Most incubators are pretty well insulated and don’t shed heat real well. A little above won’t hurt, but you don’t want a big temperature spike.

    Your situation is not the best, but it is not necessarily the end of the world. Just do the best you can and you have done the best you can.

    Don’t obsess about the late hatching chick getting hurt. Chicks hatching that far apart or even further apart is really normal. You are dealing with living animals so you can never say with 100% certainly what will happen, but mine do that all the time and it has never been a problem.

    None of the eggs that I got from a member of our local forum were dated so I asuumed that all of thte eggs would hatch within a 24-48 period.

    The date they were laid makes no real difference as to when they will hatch. The date they start incubation is what counts. There are a lot of different factors that can influence exactly how long they take to hatch such as average incubation temperature, heredity, humidity, how they are stored before incubation, even relative size. It is not at all unusual for eggs set at the same time to hatch several hours or even more than a day apart.

    Good luck, and again :frow
  3. rockpuppy

    rockpuppy Hatching

    Jun 15, 2009
    Hi, Thank you do much you have really relieved my fears. I've had enough concerned with this hatch from the strat. After I bought teh eggs and had them in the incubator ofr 2 weeks, I was told that hte farm they came from had illness issues. I was told it might be best to cull the eggs and take the loss, but I couldn't do it without giving them a chance.

    So far I have had 6 chicks hatch since the day before yesterday. All but two have been vigorus and strong. In fact one was such a surprise and hatched so quickly that I hadnn't even seen it pip! Meanwhile the chick next to it has been trying to hatch for 24 hours. I've been told not to help it and I can see that it is still alive, but it's not making ANY progress. Two other chicks have hatched since this one first began to pip yesterday.

    I took the strong chicks out and put them into another incubator then keptthe one weak one in the hatching incubator with the eggs along with the one who is still trying to hatch out. The humidity is good so I'm not worried about the membrane being what's holding it back. In the meantime the little one who also was a slow hatcher and very weak when it was born is now standing up and walking around. I've decied to move him in with theothers tomorrow.

    If the one chick is still in teh shell tomorrow should I "help" it hatch? I've laways heard that the chicks need to go thryough the process to help get their muscles and lungs working. Thakns again for your advice. I'm looking ofrward to what you have to say about this sad little guy.

    Thanks Again :)>):

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