Dy 25 - only 4/16 chicks - what did I do wrong?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Aug 6, 2010
Suffolk UK
Hi all,
I've incubated some eggs with my class and tomorrow will be day 25. We set 16 eggs - 10 buff orpingtons and 6 pekins - and have only 4 orp chicks.

We candled the egss day 11 and saw 8 orpington embryos and 2 pekins. I candled a few again day 16 and saw what I thought was 4 pekins and signs of life in the few orpingtons that I looked at. They were dark in most of the egg, apart from an air cell at the end.

We had 1 pip on day 21 and then a chick on the morning of day 22. Two more pips day 22 and 1 more pip on day 23.

I think I might have done something wrong to prevent the other eggs from hatching. One of the chicks really struggled to come out of the egg so 14 hours after it 'zipped' we helped him out. Because the lid came off the humidity was up and down. Does this mean the others now wont hatch?

Is there anything I can do at this stage to see if the others are still alive?

Thank you thank you


9 Years
Dec 2, 2010
Is it pekin duks or chickens you are hatching? If it's ducks then it will take 28 days for them to hatch.

As for the others it sounds like the temperature might have been a bit too low. Low temperatures typically cause chicks to take longer to develop.

There is a test you can do on the remaining eggs. It's called the float test. Basically fill a glass with warm water and place an egg in it. it should float around the surface due to the air cell development. After the initial bobbing about caused by you putting it in the water observe to see if the egg is moving about by itself. This indicates that there is a live chick inside moving about.

Having removed the lid and causing the humidity in the incubator to drop the other eggs might have had their inner linings dry out, effectively wrapping the chicks in a tight layer which causes them to get exhausted when they attempt to hatch thus they die. However they may just be weak chicks.

After doing the float test if you have any live chicks in eggs i'd advise putting them back and raising the humidity to prevent them from drying out further.

I hope the rest of your hatch goes ok. Atleast you've got a few for your class. :)

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