First Time Hatcher Questions and Issues


In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 28, 2013
Hello. I am on day 20 of my first chick/duck hatching attempt. Let me start by explaining what I have done and then maybe I can get some feedback on what I have done wrong or what was just bad luck. I have a little giant 9200 (the $50 from TSC). I have it in a closet in the house so the temp stays rather steady. I put about 12 chick eggs and 3 duck eggs. The temp on this machine is very hard to keep steady but I watched it very well. Once or twice it spiked up over 110 but for only small amounts of time. I did dry incubation until lockdown on day 18. I then added some water in a couple baby food jars with paper towels rolled up sticking out of the jar. I read this was a good method. I have just been opening the edge to turn the duck eggs since they take longer to hatch. Within 12 hrs of lockdown I had my first hatch. It is in great condition still (it's been about 30 hrs since hatched). The next one hatched about 6 hrs later. This one appears to have one bad leg and maybe both.
The third was "born" a couple hours later. *I am sure my wife and I screwed up here and we feel terrible about it* There was a small hole in the shell for hours and it was chirping but not breaking through. My wife thought we should help it. She chipped away some of the egg so we could see it and maybe it could free itself... I KNOW... THIS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA AND I REALLY DID LEARN MY LESSON.
After many hours of watching the little bird kick its one leg with its head and body stuck to the shell we decided to try and free it. Sadly, it was stuck and could not be freed. I read several forums and watched a couple videos about things to try but it really looked like the chick was just not fully formed and ready to hatch. I euthanized it.
So, now I have the 1 chick with the bad leg(s) still in the incubator and moved the healthy one to the brooded. There are still several eggs in the incubator. Chick eggs and duck eggs.

So, that's where I am at. I would just REALLY like some feedback. I am very upset with myself at the moment because of the chick that I had to kill. I want to do that as little as possible. I'm not sure what to do about the chick with the bad leg(s)? Any advice from some experienced people would be great! THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!
sorry you had to kill it, sometimes they look pretty gross when they first hatch especially if you "help" but sometimes they still make it. If they ever hatch with the weird navel thing I keep it dry, once they hatch they don't need to be moist anymore. if the shell is attached by cords I do not cut the cord. I put the chick in a sock to keep the chick from kicking the cord and shell. they do need to be warmer if they hatch funny, I get little heat pads and make beds for them.
thanks so much for the reply. this chick was basically in a half shell and would try to break itself lose from the other part of the shell but it was stuck to it. i'm pretty sure our first mistake was messing with it at all. i think we were just in panic mode this being my first time hatching. we should have just let it alone when it started to pip and let "nature" take it's course. *as much as it can in an incubator* we were just very curious and anxious. also, this incubator is very hard to control. i am thinking that changes in temperature and humidity might have been an issue with the hatching. do you think that this could have happened because I need to open the incubator to turn the duck eggs? Perhaps that little change in temp/humidity is enough to cause hatching problems? I am thinking about getting another incubator for lockdown only.

the chick eggs still have another 2 or 3 days of lockdown for possible hatching and then it stays locked down for the duck eggs. i really hope that i get a duckling. the chick eggs are all brown and very hard to candle. the duck eggs are white. i candled them a few days ago... it looks like 1 is good for sure 1 might be and the other i think is empty.

i greatly appreciate any other advice for future attempts.
You need to have humidity at all times I keep mine at 50 for the first 18 day then I use a wet wash cloth to bump up the humidity to 70 to 75 I made my own home made incubator.. I had 10 out of 12 eggs hatch all were healthy babies one of them had the egg shell stuck he kicked it off all I could see is his little guts I ran and put a bandaid on it.. a couple of hours later I removed it and hid belly was closed.. he/she is doing so good...
i got another incubator yesterday. another 9200. i figured it should make things a lot easier to control going into lockdown. not to mention i can hatch more eggs! :) i think i am going to take my first 9200 back and exchange it. my new one is totally different. i guess they changed models in 2012 and the first one i got was the 2010 version. it's within return/exchange policy. i think the new one is better design and the temp stays more steady.

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