First Hatch Reflections


8 Years
Sep 15, 2011
Alright.... I think we are done! I would say a tremendous success overall. Tons of learning... oh, I mean TONS. And looks like a dozen babies to show for it.

I have to figure humidity out for sure. I do think I was a tad on the high side and the smaller eggs suffered. I will summarize the eggtopsy, too.

I have successfully hatched 1 silkie, 5 barnevelders, and 6 BBS bantam ameracuanas. Lost were 2 silkies, 1 golden neck booted, 1 EE (I think), 1 silver spangled hamburg, 1 lt brahma.

Most got out on their own. Two shrink wrapped, but I helped and they are doing great (one of the lessons of don't open the incubator too much).

So far on the eggtopsy the lt brahma quite mid way. The silver spangled hamburge was malpositioned... beak opposite end from aircell. Golden neck booted full of fluid.

I do think I had slightly high humidity during incubation and that was more of a problem for the smaller eggs. One of the smaller BBS was very, very wet when it hatched... in fact, kind of bubbling in its juices. It is out now and quite vigorous, although pretty plastered. The silkie that hatched was also very plastered as well and has taken a day and a half to start fluffing (although she is dry). The barnevelders did great, though they are bigger birds. All of these eggs were shipped, though it does look like some breeds certainly can take the wear and tear better than others.

I kept the humidity really high for the last part of hatching because I was going in some to take fluffed birds out and the shrink wrapped bird I had was one of the early birds. I thought for sure something was wrong with its leg all day yesterday. Woke this morning and she looks very normal and is chirping around still like a champ. She still has membrane plastered to her head, which if hasn't fallen off in a few days, I will wet it and see if I can get it off.

So... things for next time.

1) Stay out of the incubator more. Even through incubation. I candled a lot since I was learning. I'm not terribly sad I did this as I was learning, but now I know more and feel ok to leave it alone more. I think I will candle before incubation and at day 10 and 18. I was very worried about exploding eggs, but I guess that doesn't happen that often.

2) I'm going to keep humidity a little lower during incubation, especially with small eggs. I had kept it at 20-30% for week one this time, but the eggs had lost too much weight. I then kept it around 50% and they had not lost quite enough weight by Day 17. Actually, come to think of it... the larger eggs had lost closer to the target weight than the smaller eggs, which had not lost enough weight. Might have to take account of that in choosing which eggs to set and when and manage humidity accordingly.

3) I didn't weigh all of the eggs last time... thinking that I wouldn't probably be checking them all. I think I will weigh all until I get more of a feel of what I'm looking for.

4) I learned how to candle, how to check air cells, what to look for with the aircells prior to lockdown. I learned the process of hatching from internal pip to finally breaking through. I learned what dried membranes look like. I learned more of what to expect prior to hatching (when they rock, chirp, etc).

5) I'm reinforcing that with mother nature vs. human intervention, LESS is MORE unless human intervention screws it up and requires more human intervention. I'm a midwife. I knew this already, I'm just learning another angle.

I will post pictures sometime today, but kids just got home and sounds like a meltdown upstairs, so I better go see what's going on...

Thanks to everyone who answered my 1000s of questions.

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