Eggs pipping slowly? Is this breed specific or just my luck?


9 Years
Aug 21, 2010
Scio, OR
OK, I have read about humidity being up higher, down lower, for actual hatching/pipping. Is it supposed to be higher or lower? what percentage?

Secondly, we have several eggs pipping BUT they are ever sooooo slow, just tiny bits of shell coming off. Our current humidity is about 50% (from memory, the bators are at the tack house)

Are there certain breeds that pip more quickly, others more slowly? Ours are Marans and it seems the few hatch successes we've had was pretty slow. We did have one Leghorn cross that pipped, zipped and VOILA! was out pertty quickly. I do know the membrane in the Leghorn egg seems to *cleaner* and easily torn whereas the Maran membrane is tougher? Or is that just my 'tarded thinking?

Hey,I don't know much about hatching but have read others say that Marans shells are harder type shells and it makes them harder to hatch.Wish I remembered more.Good luck though.
Your humidity, from what I recall, should be more like 60-70%. Perhaps that is the problem, combined with a thicker shell? If worse comes to worse, you can intervene by opening up just the top of the egg very slowly, making the pip larger, and check and see that they can breathe and then can see how far along they are -- whether they have absorbed their yolk and whether there are any active blood vessels left on the membrane.

Edit: In doing some reading around I see some people suggesting only 55% for hatching... In this case I really do not know and hope someone else comes along soon to help!
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Thanks Rebel and Adrian! We have been able to maintain about 53% humidity (checked last night before I went to bed) and have a total of 3 chicks now. Their 21st day was yesterday so hopefully more will get going!

Rebel, I find the Maran shells (healthy ones) a bit harder to crack when I'm cooking AND the membrane is tougher than say, my Leghorn eggs. Plus I notice when the chick is pipping a Maran shell, it just does not unzip like a Leghorn's does. Poor little chick has to really work at it!
40 to 50% is great for most of the incubation period - but you want it in the 70's for the hatch. The reason is if its too dry the membrane inside the shell becomes very sticky & the chick cant get out. The lack the mobility to unzip.

Also - the pipping can take FOREVER! Once the pip - that signals the membrane to start to pull in the blood supply that is bringing in the air. This can take 24 hrs or more.

I had one in my last (first) hatch that was a wellsummer. I could just barely see the tiniest dot where it had pipped. That one hatched over night & was running around in the morning when I got up.
Thanks Midget! I will go increase the humidity. We do have a lot of natural humidity in the ambient air outside the bators, just cuz its western (wet-ern) OR!
Because they cost so much, a lot of people, (myself included) can't sometimes help but intervene sometimes, and that starts a breeding cycle of low hatch rates and problems with getting out of the shell. Not just you, not just me, but I think keepers of the breed overall, usualy have small flocks, and every chick is precious and dear to their program, so they get helped a lot more than other breeds overall. That just selects for chicks that don't hatch as vigorously, or not at all. If you do a search, you will read umpteen posts about chicks that pip and don't hatch, or die at 19 days in the shell, or zip and die, or pip, zip, get out and were "soggy" or really fat and overloaded with yolk and fluids and never get up and walk right and just don't make it. I love the breed and I keep raising them, but now, after about three years, I'm starting to do a lot less. It is easier to do less, because I keep my incubator at someone else's house, so I just go and collect chicks that hatch, dispose of those that didn't. If they were here, I'd probably be helping a lot more. I do admit, when I do go to get my chicks, if one is stuck, I'll help it out, but not with a q-tip and warm water and taking an hour. They get peeled out of there as best as they can, patted dry with a paper towel and put to dry out with the rest of the chicks during the ride home.
It is slow. This is day 5 of our hatch. One on day 19, two on day 20, two on day 21, four on day 22, and this morning one was drying and two more unzipping. Yes humidity should be higher 65% - 70% on the last three days of incubation and through the final hatch. Risking sticky chick if humidity is too low. Marans are a slow hatch, the shells are thick but give them time. My current hatch contains 10 Marans. Two that hatched on day 22 started pipping on day 20. Ameraucanas have been the latest to hatch, only one so far, this morning, day 23. Use intervention only as last resort, specially if there is visible distress.
Thank you everyone! I don't assist so the ones that make it, are pretty vigorous. I did have the humidity up but given the excessive moisture in our environment, we had some that drown on the last hatch, fully formed. the past couple of days, its been less soggy out so I see the humdity is a bit lower.

Also, when we take the vents out for oxygen for the little pips, that drops the humidity, any suggestions as to getting more moisture in there without opening the bator? I thought we could syringe water in through the vent holes, to the water slots below.....but that's tricky.

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