eggs on the way

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by sherrihargrove, Nov 7, 2014.

  1. sherrihargrove

    sherrihargrove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just bought 7+ Americauna hatching eggs. So excited to get them and hopefuly a 99% hatch rate i will be happy. any advise so I will get good results on this adventure?
     
  2. the1913trio

    the1913trio Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband and I have incubated and hatched several rounds of both chicken and duck eggs in the past year and WOW has it been quite the steep learning curve!

    ****First I would highly recommend getting a great book called "Hatching & Brooding Your Own Chicks" by Gail Damerow. There are lots of details in it as well as in "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" by the same author that will explain the incubation process as I found all kinds of different information online (some of which was good and some which was bad).
    *****When it comes time for the hatch and knowing more detailed information on when and if to intervene there is an absolutely AMAZING article with pics on this website I really, really recommend too that helped us tremendously.....type in "The Step by Step Guide to Assisted Hatching by Sally Sunshine Poultry to this webites search. (I would have copied and pasted the link, but am unable to do so yet in the forums since I am a newer member).

    1.) Incubator & thermometer quality makes a difference: A good deal of the results we have had have depended upon having a good incubator and thermometer with hygrometer. We started with a simple Styrofoam incubator called a Hovabator and we put in a fan kit from incubator warehouse online to increase our hatch rate (forced air incubators produce a higher hatch rate than still air incubators). We also purchased incubator warehouse's combo thermometer and hygrometer. We were so pleased with it we bought another one because it read temps accurately and read variances in temp very quickly which was a huge "egg saver". You also need to watch the humidity carefully, and your goal humidity varies depending on where you live and how porous the egg shells are (see the hatching books for more info on avg ranges for humidity). If the egg doesn't have enough humidity then the air cell in the egg will get too large which can kill or shrink wrap the baby so it cannot hatch. If the egg has too much humidity and the air cell is too small the babies can either suffocate to death, or be born swollen and with health issues from the excess fluid. So monitor your air cells well and adjust the humidity up or down in incubator accordingly!! DO NOT go off of the incubator's thermometer temp alone, it has never been right in our experience. Gauge the temp by having a couple of different thermometers to be sure it is accurate as the babies will die quickly at too high of temps especially. Test out the temp throughout the incubator! We found that the temp would be different in different parts of the bator especially in the cheaper Styrofoam incubator...enough to kill eggs in certain dead spots even with the forced air fan kit (but it was worse with still air before adding fan kit).

    We then got a Brinsea eco 20 incubator and it held temps much more consistently and the temps were also more even throughout the incubator. We had pretty good hatches from the Styrofoam incubator, but had excellent hatches from the Brinsea and it was easier to clean afterwards and took up much less space in our house and was quieter when running. With both incubators we didn't pay for an egg turner because I am primarily a stay at home mom so I had the time at home to turn the eggs several times a day. If you don't have time for this or won't remember get the egg turner as not turning the eggs a minimum of 3-5 times a day will seriously biff up your hatch rate. Make sure the room where the bator is doesn't change in temp more than plus or minus 5 degrees to keep bator at a good temp. Also keep bator away from direct sun through windows and drafts to avoid messing up bator temp too much.

    2.) Expect about a 50% hatch rate on shipped eggs and a 80-90% hatch rate on non-shipped eggs: If you are getting eggs shipped know that often many eggs get broken or jiggled or damaged seriously during shipment. The eggs also get subjected often to temperature and pressure change extremes and we have had instances where nearly all eggs make it and hatch when shipped, and others where most of the eggs were damaged, and of the non-damaged eggs only half hatched. Some eggs are never fertile to begin with and those will get discarded too after about 5-7 days via candling. Like pregnancy with mammals, there are points in incubation where an egg will die due to issues that occurred during development that would have made for a deformed or non-functioning animal. Instead of a miscarriage you have a dead baby in the egg and the egg needs to be tossed out. Be sure to candle the eggs to check on this sort of thing, and the books will tell you how often and what to do. When it comes time for the hatch expect a death as well either just before pipping internally, or with a chick that fails to hatch. Whenever we have done help outs during hatching minus when a chick became shrink wrapped we have regretted it. The chicks typically were severely deformed and had to culled, or had extreme temperamental issues and failure to thrive (ergo they died as well as the deformed chicks). Be prepared to have to cull an ill or deformed chick in pain...we would have about 1 in every 10 chicks hatched that this would occur especially with the shipped eggs. We also typically would lose 1 to 3 chicks in every 7-12 eggs at some point during incubation and they would be found dead during candling. Remove the dead eggs as they give off harmful fumes to the healthy eggs and can explode. Only set eggs in the bator that are clean, keep your bator clean, and wash your hands before and after touching the eggs to candle or turn them to avoid infecting the eggs or catching coodies from the eggs and giving them to yourself/family.

    3.)Be prepared to maybe have a hatch that is high in males! Statistically speaking most of the time with chicks the hatch rate is 45% female and 55% male. When you have smaller numbers of eggs this statistic can be even more off so you will have nearly all females (if lucky), or nearly all males. We had one hatch where we had 4 eggs hatch...and 3 were roosters. That was frustrating since we were newbies with chickens it took us 4-6 weeks raising the 4 babies till we realized 3 were for sure roosters so we had to start all over again to get some more girls (we can't have roosters in the city). We learned that due to many eggs potentially dying during incubation and not knowing if we may get more boys than we bargained for we had to hatch way more eggs than we would have supposed to get our girls.

    4.)I move the babies out of the incubator quickly and have had better results this way: Now the books say to leave the babies in the bator for at least 4 hrs after they hatch to dry so they don't freeze to death and to keep the humidity up for the other eggs so they don't get shrink wrapped, but we have had lower rates of infection, less yucked out bators, and happier babies by not listening to this guideline. We start by putting down paper towels or something soft and absorbent on the floor of the bator just before the hatch so the babies that hatch in the bator are more comfy. Most babies that hatch in the floor of the bator on the wire or hard plastic freak out and run about crying incessantly looking for a cozy place that is soft to nuzzle and get stinky placenta yuck-goo all over the other eggs and bator which equals awful stench and lots of work cleaning the bator after the hatch is complete which can take a couple of days from first egg hatched to last egg hatched. The paper towels make the babies happier and reduce the yuck factor in the bator since you can remove them.

    But! If we are around and awake when the baby is just about to pop out we pull them quickly out (and make sure we keep the humidity up so the others don't shrink wrap) and let the baby pop out. We then put them on a heating pad with warm, dry towels/washclothes already pre-heated and keep them covered under and on top in a warm cocoon. They love this because it is like a mommy bird, their belly buttons heal quickly and stay infection free, and they fluff out quicker. Once fluffed out they go to the heat lamp brooder. NOW I CAUTION YOU IF YOU CHOOSE TO DO THIS unconventional idea because we didn't do it until we had more experience with how warm the babies needed to stay when still wet, and you cannot keep opening the bator lid a bunch of times in a row because you will drop the humidity too much and shrink wrap the other babies still hatching...so it is a fine line to walk. But once you have gone a few rounds you quickly learn about how long and often you can sneak the bator lid half open to grab a baby, and about what temp is needed on the heating pad to keep them at a proper body temp to dry safely. But trust me when you have a bunch of screaming baby birds that have been going at it for hours and the hatch lasts a day or two...you kinda start to contemplate what you can do to stop some of the squacking and crying if you have a small house like we do, so we improvised this idea to make everyone involved happier.
    ***So along those lines put the bator in a place where you can check on it and turn the eggs easily, but where you can still get some sleep when the peeping and whining and carrying on begins as the hatch starts to progress!

    ***Read, read, read up on the books to know everything in detail, and know that it is rewarding to hatch your own chicks, but also a lot of work too, and that there are a lot of details involved in order to get a good hatch. GOOD LUCK with your hatch!!!
     
    3 people like this.
  3. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    I totally agree, especially with the thermometer and not expecting a high rate on shipped eggs. Most experts and just about everyone I've seen that have gotten shipped eggs comment on the rate being so much lower than local eggs. My sister's guy bought a dozen of eggs (don't recall the breed) for $40 and ended up with 1 hatcher....that's an expensive chick. They raise chickens so they know what they are doing- most of the time...lol. You can never read too much. Because people have so many different ways they swear by (and you have to find what works for you) I like to look at many sources and usually go with the technique(s) that are the most recommended. I would add however to use more than one thermometer, especially if you are unsure of it's accuracy. I bought a brand new thermometer for my first hatch attempt to have it only produce one survivor. The thermometer was 6 degrees off. Second hatch had three thermometers, was confident of the temp and out of 16 eggs at lock down had 13 hatchers. I have been following the leave in incubator recommendations and have already decided that if and when I ever hatch again, this will not be the norm (at least for the 4-6 or more hours). I've come to the conclusion that (probably due to the high humidity) the chicks don't fluff up as nice and have "sticky" spots until they have been under the brooder light for a bit.
    After my last hatch, having had 7/8 babies pop out quite consistently and then leaving them in to dry I've decided the bator isn't the safest place for that many chicks climbing all over each other and any thermometers/hygrometers in there. I had one little fellow as they were bouncing around each other somehow fall/get pushed something against the thermometer and chip his beak.
    there are some awesome reference pages right here on BYC, especially Hatching 101 and the candling page. Hatching 101 covers just about everything from temps/humidity to assisting hatches.
    I hope you do have a good rate! Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. sherrihargrove

    sherrihargrove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thank you, this is my first hatch and am still working the bugs out. my incubator is having trouble with temp i have it up to 91 but humidity is fine i covered 2 external hole today to try to get temp up. I have hatching eggs coming this week. wish me luck, at least I didn't pay too much if they don't make it.
     
  5. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Just remember when it's hatch time you are going to need those vents open for air. I have heard people use sterilized rocks in their water wells because they hold the heat and give it back off in the incubator. (Something along those lines....lol) Just something I read. Do you have a forced or still air bator?
     
  6. sherrihargrove

    sherrihargrove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 17, 2014
    vent holes are open and temp is solid, and you are right they are highly addictive.
     

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