First time incubating eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Alaska29, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. Alaska29

    Alaska29 Out Of The Brooder

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    I decided to do my first attempt at incubating a few chicken eggs. I used a Reptibator, which is actually meant for reptile eggs, but I figured it would still work. I set two eggs on the 17th, two eggs on the 18th, and three on the 20th. So today the first eggs should have started pipping, But I havnt seen anything. Through the incubation period I had a hard time keeping the humidity up, and admittedly missed a few times turning the eggs. All the eggs were definitely fertile and are just from my mothers own personal stock. The eggs are all dark brown, so its hard to see much, but i decided to candle the eggs today to see if I could see any movement. It appears to me that all the eggs developed about half way and died, as only half of each egg is dark. Does anyone of an example of what I fully developed egg should look like just before hatching? Im going to give the eggs about another week "just in case" but I dont expect to get any chicks. Im thinking it was probably to low of humidity. I had the temp at a steady 101 and the humidity fluctuated alot. Its a still air incubator. Thanks for any help.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    My eggs are very dark and I can't candle either. Sometimes I see an air sac which should be quite large now. Humidity is very important the last couple days so the membrane doesn't stick to them preventing escape.
    101 may be a little high. If the thermometer is off by a degree or two in the wrong direction that could fry them.

    I would keep them in a few more days as long an none are stinking.
    I made the mistake of opening an egg I thought should have hatched a week earlier and there was a live chick in it.
     
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A temp of 101 is fine. I hatch my own eggs at 102. Anything between 99 and 102 is still very well within a hatching range.

    When you candle them, do you see a clear distinction of where the air sac stops and the liquid begins? Or does it seem like the "clear half" is all air sac? If the clear half is all air-sac, then yes your low humidity probably killed them.

    One way to safely tell, is to get a flashlight, and a dull pencil. Using the writing end of the pencil, poke a tiny hole in the very center of the large end of the egg - just enough for you to peek inside of (usually large enough for half of the pencil head to fit in). Then get the flashlight and shine it in beside this hole, while you peek inside with one eye up against the hole.

    You should see movement, or at least blood vessel "bumps". You can lightly tap the outside of the egg to stir the chick up for movement, if you want. If you see either one, your eggs are still alive, and you can try to find the problem and fix it (you can post what you see here to get help in diagnosing and fixing it). IF THEY ARE ALIVE, this tiny hole shouldn't hurt them at this point. They are far enough in the incubation period not to need the egg shell completely in-tact, and the hole should not be near them as they hatch out normally.

    But if you don't see any movement at all, and no blood vessels (there is usually at least one that is obvious) then they are dead. Although you might still want to open them up a little more and try to diagnose what went wrong.
     
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  4. Alaska29

    Alaska29 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 7, 2013
    The air sac is still distinct at the big end. I wish I could get a pic of the half dark half clear. None have hatched, so I'll give it another few days, and then I'll crack them open and post pics of what I find, and hopefully someone on here can tell me what I did wrong. I already have two new eggs set, and tomorrow I'm buying a different incubator meant for chickens with the auto egg turner. Hopefully that will help. I was only turning the eggs three times a day, so if I missed one turn, they ended up spending the night on the same side. I'm sure it was the combo of not enough turning and low humidity.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    You may never know what went wrong because it could be so many things and one would most likely need to open them at the time of failure for a better idea.
    Death at each stage of development there can be as many as 10 or more different reasons. Sometimes it is nutrition in the breeders that is the cause.
    The following link may steer you to a possible cause.

    http://www.natureform.com/kb/index.php?article=1011&o=save
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That’s a nice link, ChickenCanoe. I do take issue with one thing. They say you can suffocate them the first week. Studies have shown they really don’t need air exchange the first week or so. They actually do better with limited air exchange then. The chicks hatch stronger. But around 7 to 9 days, they start to need fresh air. The later you go into incubation, the more important fresh air is.

    Something you’ll notice in general. If they died in the first week or didn’t develop at all, it was probably something that happened before they went in the incubator. If they die the last week of incubation, it was something probably wrong with the incubation itself. I think it is important to open them and see when they died to give you a better idea of what you need to work on. But, yes, the cause is still not always real clear.

    Alaska, in a still air incubator, it is critical where you take the temperature. Hot air rises. Try it out. Check the temperature at the bottom and then at the top of the incubator so you can see the difference. You need to shoot for 101.5 degrees at the top of the eggs in a still air. You don’t have to be real real precise, there are some tolerances in this, just do the best you can.
     

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