5 Years
Aug 20, 2014
North Florida
I'm freaking out. Last night they started hatching 4 days early. I couldn't fall asleep until 2a from fear and excitement. It was an unusual day, I had to be up at 4a... I just got home. Here's whats happening with pictures.

Five have now started hatching, 4 about to break thru the shell, and one that has. It's not moving at all. Most of the eggs were showing movement yesterday, now less are... I need to know what's happening. Please ask any questions, I can provide answers, pictures, video.

For reference, yesterday I posted this asking about air: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/923327/hatching-oxygen
Then later that night, I noticed early hatching and posted this: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/923409/ducks-hatching-this-early

Neither thread received much attention. I just got home and discovered what I assume is an emergency. I turned on the shower, steamed the bathroom, and changed the setup in case there is an oxygen issue. Right now I'm trying to get the light & eggs at the right temperature. HELP PLEASE

IF you go to the Geese forum and type in geese hatching in the search, one of the things that come up is a Hatching Guide by a contiributor named Pete. If you follow those guideline looks like you will have a successful hatch. -- sorry I can't enter the link -- I'm not that computer savvy LOL -- maybe someone else can. Keep them warm and humid and good luck
I would put the lid back on the bator. You run the risk of drying them out. All you can do is bump your humidity to at least 60% but I wouldn't go over 70%. Sit on your hands and see what happens. They may be a few days early due to the high temp problems you said you were having. If you rush them then you could run into unabsorbed yolks.
Thanks Nyssa03, it was a very very useful guide. Wish I had read it before.

  • txcarl1258 I keep reading about humidity levels, and there's a major discrepancy. Metzer farm for example says 86 1st 25 days, 94 after that. Interesting I think all of the differences of opinions.
  • Kleonaptra also very useful. Thanks.
  • Here's an update, I stopped checking here for a bit, went all over the internet. I do believe I was freaking out a bit, and there was a real emergency, but it happened during development and there wasn't much I could do at this point. To make sure I could sleep, I ended up artificially pipping 17 of them. While candling, I realized 5 were not making it. Those 5 had various problems imo, infection, too little an air sac, development issues. Some still had movement, but they were not okay. I've kept them away from the others and by heat in case of a miracle, but I don't expect one.

I'm not sure if artificially pipping was 'the right thing to do' but I am glad I did it. It allowed me to see that some were stuck in the membrane, and one I believe was going to have the same problem as the one that died and started this thread. I believe they were too large and/or had fluid and drowned. I thought I saved it, but after 2 days, the same thing happened. I opened both of the shell a bit and no sign of life. Gave them approx 18hrs to do something, and nothing.

So shortly after this post, the count was officially down to 17 in my book, I believe it was already before that day and I didn't know. Since then, there was 1 more lose as mentioned above, so 16.

They 'started' hatching Sunday night, the first hatch actually happened late last night/early this morning. Still early I guess, but not as early. The waiting is extremely difficult. The artificial pipping was the only help I did Monday night, besides try to remove membrane on one of the many that are stuck, one drop of blood came out and I stopped.

Three have fully hatched and 3 more are very close... Of the remaining 10, about half have made little/some progress and I think they'll be just fine, the other half I believe are stuck but safe. Keep in mind, they were in the egg turner, and I was cooling & candling them daily, until the moment I noticed the early pip. I just changed the setup so they will have much higher humidity (the 10). They have a wet towel and the lid closed. Hopefully, they'll be enough so I don't have to help. For the most part, the ones I thought were stuck, are still the ones I think are. A few have taken care of themselves. So looks like they're early, but only a little.

I'm going to start a new thread to post pictures and have happy news one. I figure the medical, emergency, and sad stuff can stay here.

Sorry for all the freak out and thanks for the help
Wow 86% that's high! There are a lot of opinions based on humidity. I dry hatch mine with a relative humidity of 30% and bump it to 65 to 70 during lockdown.
I keep reading about humidity levels, and there's a major discrepancy. Metzer farm for example says 86 1st 25 days, 94 after that. Interesting I think all of the differences of opinions.

In nature a broody bird CAN NOT CONTROL HUMIDITY beyond very minor changes because they are sort of insulating the eggs...

When it's 95° and raining or foggy outside trust me there is no way the broody bird is going to drop that near 100% humidity any lower, and the same is true in reverse if there is a dry 20% hot spell there is no way the broody bird is going to raise the humidity that much...

What you see in hatching guidelines are averaged guidelines that work as a general rule for incubating they are not hard fast rules, nor do they need to be followed exactly for success, quite the contrary actually...

So the moral is don't dread on humidity levels, temporary highs and lows make no difference in the end, the airsack development and size is a much better indicator of proper humidity then any gauge...

With that said when I have troublesome hatches I regularly bump the humidity way high, even into the 90%s, I would much rather have some condensation then shrink wrapping at hatching... As long as the eggs are not dripping wet or sitting in a puddle you will be just fine with high humidity at hatch, but do lower it after hatch so the chicks can dry out faster...
I'm dripping wet now.. the last 6 were incredibly stuck. I steamed up the shower, used warm water on my hands. Took me at least 40 mins to get them out.. no way they were getting out on their own. Incredible.
Its ok to freak out, we all do. This is how we learn after all. My first time I got 2 hatch out of 5 eggs, 1 lived 1 died. The one who died may have lived, I'll never know, because I rushed it. I think you are doing extremely well.

Im collecting eggs to incubate right now...This is my 7th year trying to get my own ducklings bred on farm...My previous incubations were eggs rescued from destroyed nests that found their way to me. Last year I cheated and bought some ducklings. Im sure I'll be posting soon with all my freaked out questions!

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