First hatch complete with detailed analysis - warning long post

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by sawfish99, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. sawfish99

    sawfish99 In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2010
    North Stonington
    I have just completed my first hatch of eggs in an incubator. I am using a Little Giant incubator with automatic turner. The temperature was maintained at 99.5F and the humidity was 30-40% for the first 17 days and then raised to 55-60%. Due to a calculation error and eagerness, the eggs were removed from the turner and placed on lock down on day 17 instead of day 18.
    The incubator holds 41 eggs which consisted of eggs from 2 sources. Group A included 24 eggs (Black Copper Maran and BC Maran cross) purchased for $1 per egg. Group B included 17 eggs of a barnyard mix purchased for $5 total. All eggs were loaded into the incubator within 24 hours of local purchase. I marked the Group B eggs to distinguish throughout the process.
    On Day 8, I candled all eggs. For the candling, I used the work light on a bench grinder with a piece of plywood taped over the bulb’s hood with a small hole in the plywood. Based on the results, I removed 5 eggs from Group A. I candled again on Day 12 and marked 3 eggs in Group A that were suspect as not developing correctly. On Day 17 the eggs were placed in locked down (24 hrs early) and the humidity raised to 55-60%. At the time, 2 more eggs were removed from Group A and I believed 5 were likely not going to hatch. Therefore, only 12 of the original 24 eggs in Group A were expected to hatch. All 17 of the Group B eggs appeared to be developing correctly.
    The first pip did not occur until Day 22; the hatch occurred over the course of days 22-24 with the following results: 12 eggs hatched, 1 piped and opened an area about the size of a dime, but then died (upon necropsy, this was not a case of shrink wrapping), 2 of the hatches died within 12 hours. 1 of the above hatches was actually an assisted hatch – after 24 hours of little to no progress, I removed the shell for 1 chick – there was some evidence of shrink wrapping. That chick will likely die tonight since it has not yet been able to stand in the 12 hours since hatching. 1 other chick has a leg that does not work correctly and may either die or be culled if conditions do not improve.
    Final tally: Group A 2 of 24 eggs hatched (I believe 1 of the chicks that died after hatching was from Group A). Group B 11 of 17 hatched. I conducted a float test on the eggs that did not hatch (but were still placed in lockdown). 2 of the 15 Group A eggs floated (with 10-15% of the egg above water) while 13 sank. 6 of 6 Group B eggs floated (with 10-15% of the egg above water).
    Based on the results, I concluded the following:
    The incorrect lockdown start day likely resulted in some development faults.
    Since the hatch did not commence until Day 22 , I will raise the temperature to 100.5F on the next batch.
    Group A had a low fertility rate as indicated by 7 of 24 eggs not developing.
    I am not sure if the results of the float test actually provide me any useful information.

    The incubator has been cleaned and tomorrow evening I will start 41 new eggs. This time, all 41 eggs will be from my own flock and will include pure Barred Rocks with the rest barnyard mix from my Barred Rock Rooster/RI Red hens, NH Red hens, Buff hens, Golden Buff hens.
    I plan to set the temperature 1 degree higher to 100.5F.
    I will rotate the eggs 180 degrees twice a day.
    Overall, I am disappointed in the first hatch, but I did learn a lot, my wife got much more interested in the project, and the kids learned about all aspects of the process.

  2. dretd

    dretd Songster

    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    Quote:Question for you--were these shipped eggs or picked up? I ask because if they were shipped from different sellers they were handled differently by USPS and that could account for the different hatch rates between the different groups.
    I was reading up on BYC and some experienced folks have noted that Marans can be difficult to hatch because of the darker egg (harder or thicker shell doesn't lose as much water or something) and some have suggested doing a dry hatch for them to increase the hatch rate. Maybe do a search for hatching Marans and see what you find.
    Did you do an eggtopsy or just float test them. It might be helpful to crack 'um and see how far along they got and if there were early quitters vs non-fertile ones.

    Quote:My first hatch, technically was not a hatch--total failure so yours looks pretty good from my perspective!
    Good luck on your next hatch.
  3. sawfish99

    sawfish99 In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2010
    North Stonington
    All of the eggs were picked up. I really wanted to add some Marans to the flock, which is why I paid $1 per egg and drove over 50 miles each way to get them.

    I did not crack the eggs - just a float test.
  4. jcfuente51

    jcfuente51 Songster

    Mar 18, 2011
    im sorry about your bad experinceim on lockdown now and i m really nerves have 2 pips from early the day and i have not see progress at all and i dont see movement [​IMG] i so hope they are still alive and not die after the pip [​IMG]
  5. sawfish99

    sawfish99 In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2010
    North Stonington
    I did have 1 chick that went almost 24 hrs from pip to hatch and did just fine.

    The only one I helped out I am convinced would have died in the shell based on his condition. As it is, I expect the chick will die regardless. Give them time - many of mine went through a long rest after pip before hatching.

  6. JustAChickenLittle&More

    JustAChickenLittle&More Songster

    Nov 25, 2010
    hey JC dont worry about it, a pip is good. I always check on the chick after a few hours to see how he's doin', without opening the bator. After about 8 hours, I do open the bator and make it my business to "really" check him out if he is not progressing. Taking care of a shrink wrapped chick is not that difficult. All you do is wet your fingers and gentle roll the membrane back. Sometimes I just let them finish themselves after I've done that, but other times, I may help. It depends on a lot of factors. I did however realize that the hardier chicks like Buff Orp, RIR's, Leghorns, Lgt Sussex ect, seem to have better hatch rates than say; Sultans, Polish or silkies? Good luck. Please post some pics when your done. [​IMG]
  7. Baralak

    Baralak Songster

    Quote:You did not indicate if you have a still air incubator or a forced air incubator. The little giant can be both, as long as you either add a fan, or buy the fan kit with it.

    Still air incubators temp top of egg 101.5

    Forced air incubators temp 99.5
  8. sawfish99

    sawfish99 In the Brooder

    Oct 23, 2010
    North Stonington
    I am using a still air incubator. I thought 99.5 was the same for both, but I will try the higher temp when I load later today. Thanks for the tip.
  9. Baralak

    Baralak Songster

    Understand.. Yes.. in a still air the temps are in layers... 101.5 on top of the eggs would put center egg around 99.5 .. Still air's are also called thermal air.. very complicated. This graphic is from Confederate Money Farm. He's here on BYC. You can read his entire article here.


  10. Apriljc

    Apriljc Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    Is there a reason why you are turning them only twice a day? I was told at least three times a day and always an odd number so they dont spend their nights always on the same side....

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