First time incubating.... what went wrong?

lindz8504

Songster
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
2,125
247
198
Blue Ridge Mtns in NC
I just had my first ever incubator hatch.... I set 33 eggs. 3 were clears from the first candle, but I left them until the next just in case. At lock-down we saw development and movement in all the eggs, with a couple that were dark and we weren't sure, so we left them in. 10 chicks hatched- one died because yolk hadn't been absorbed, so 9 healthy chicks. 2 pipped, but never zipped. The rest did nothing.
Egg-topsied this morning because the incubator was starting to smell funky. Out of 19 eggs left, 1 quit pretty early-you could see development, but not a formed chick. 1- quit early, but had a nearly formed chick, but it was small. The rest had fully formed chicks, several were malpositioned, 2-3 had pipped internally, but MOST had a LOT of fluid. So I am thinking that humidity was too high sometime during lock-down. What do you all think? I didn't take pictures because it was only me doing it, and I couldn't do both. Not sure what I am going to do next round.... I have 2 dozen Salmon Faverolles eggs coming around the 21st.... I don't want to screw up that hatch, because the eggs aren't exactly cheap! So...for those of you that incubate regularly.... What did I do wrong?


I put eggs in the turner fat end up. Did NOT add any water, and humidity stayed between 16-25%, temp stayed 99* (therm. just did whole degrees...) I candled at day 7, 14, 18. I "twisted" the eggs in the turner once every day or two so they were turned more than one way. At lockdown I dropped temp down to 97* and bumped humidity up to 60%.... It did get up to 74% at one point when all the chicks started hatching.... I'm thinking that may have been the problem....

Can some of you expert hatchers give me some advice!?!


ETA: These were eggs from my own flock.
 
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Egghead_Jr

Crowing
10 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,503
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NEK, VT
It could simply be the vitality of the chicks, genetic. The only thing really different I do from yours is don't drop the temp at hatch time.

I will open incubator if humidity gets past 65% to quickly get out the moisture. I've found they have a hard time moving to zip if humidity is really high, the membrane gets like glue. But with your humidities I don't see how they could drown so should of at least pipped the shell.

Leaning toward low vitality of chicks and genetics, small gene pool. If shipped eggs then that happens to me all the time. Large numbers of fully developed and no pip. Worst luck with shipped eggs but gotta try some times.
 

lindz8504

Songster
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
2,125
247
198
Blue Ridge Mtns in NC
It could simply be the vitality of the chicks, genetic. The only thing really different I do from yours is don't drop the temp at hatch time.

I will open incubator if humidity gets past 65% to quickly get out the moisture. I've found they have a hard time moving to zip if humidity is really high, the membrane gets like glue. But with your humidities I don't see how they could drown so should of at least pipped the shell.

Leaning toward low vitality of chicks and genetics, small gene pool. If shipped eggs then that happens to me all the time. Large numbers of fully developed and no pip. Worst luck with shipped eggs but gotta try some times.

These were mutts out of my own flock..... I didn't want to screw up with a bunch of expensive shipped eggs, so I did a test incubation/hatch.

Now I'm nervous to be getting my shipped Salmon Faverolles on the 21st... The breeder has been having excellent numbers and just hatched 21 out of 24....
 

Roxannemc

Songster
7 Years
Mar 30, 2012
3,677
131
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SE Missouri
lind... were they shipped ? is the first question.
Often you get a poor hatch from shipped even if they start to form they don't finish or else never start. or die at the end even They can die at any stageShipping is hard on them.
You can get 11 of 12 but more likely about 1/3 hatch ..sometimes just 3 but if you get 2 or 3 i feel like i can raise my own flock from that if get a cockrel and one pullet
.
.Yes very wet inside could cause drowning does sound like what happened to many here.
74 is pretty high about 60- 65 someplace is pretty common at hatch but you have to go by your house and state ...all makes a difference .WAs the vent open? Always vent open the last week and at hatch .If you add too much water in the well then sneak a piece of tin foil in there to cover part of the bottom of the bator It will block some of the humidity. Has worked for me.
Those that died half way i dont think they would drowned that early but drowning is at the end when they inner pip and try and breath air in the air cell that it has water in it. Does sound like your inner pipped that was it for sure
.
That's the thing with your first hatches tweeking your hatches to get the best. Each one you learn something to do or not to do.
Some ppl luck out and do it right hatch one but most of us don't. 9 isn't bad..... zero would have been worse!!!My first 2 ever were zero!!

Shipped
I had 18 silkie eggs sent from Washington state to Mo. 7 went to lockdown 4 hatched but im happy as I have enough to get a little flock stated of these nice chickens Fingers crossed for a roo and hen!!HAHA
The other 3 died sometime at the end after lockdown in my friends cabinet bator. She hatches tons of chcks all year roumd so they had every chance at good incubation.Just wasn't to be,
So....Just try again!!! .

OH........ and i wouldnt drop the temp either at hatch......keep it 99.I have never noticed mine go up at hatch enough to hurt the hatch.and ithink they hatch easier at 99 I feel like lower temp stalls the hatch ..my opinion. Humidity will go up at times. sometimes not always .yes in that case just open the lid for a minute get some out.
highfive.gif
 
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ozexpat

CocoBeach Farm
7 Years
Nov 18, 2012
12,850
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391
between SoCal and The Philippines
My Coop
My Coop
What type of incubator?
Does it have a fan?
How and how often were eggs turned
What was thne bator temp?
How did you mesure
What was humidity?
How did you measure?
Does the incubator have ventilation plugs?
If yes, when were they removed?
 

perchie.girl

RIP 1953-2021
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 29, 2010
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I just had my first ever incubator hatch.... I set 33 eggs. 3 were clears from the first candle, but I left them until the next just in case. At lock-down we saw development and movement in all the eggs, with a couple that were dark and we weren't sure, so we left them in. 10 chicks hatched- one died because yolk hadn't been absorbed, so 9 healthy chicks. 2 pipped, but never zipped. The rest did nothing.
Egg-topsied this morning because the incubator was starting to smell funky. Out of 19 eggs left, 1 quit pretty early-you could see development, but not a formed chick. 1- quit early, but had a nearly formed chick, but it was small. The rest had fully formed chicks, several were malpositioned, 2-3 had pipped internally, but MOST had a LOT of fluid. So I am thinking that humidity was too high sometime during lock-down. What do you all think? I didn't take pictures because it was only me doing it, and I couldn't do both. Not sure what I am going to do next round.... I have 2 dozen Salmon Faverolles eggs coming around the 21st.... I don't want to screw up that hatch, because the eggs aren't exactly cheap! So...for those of you that incubate regularly.... What did I do wrong?


I put eggs in the turner fat end up. Did NOT add any water, and humidity stayed between 16-25%, temp stayed 99* (therm. just did whole degrees...) I candled at day 7, 14, 18. I "twisted" the eggs in the turner once every day or two so they were turned more than one way. At lockdown I dropped temp down to 97* and bumped humidity up to 60%.... It did get up to 74% at one point when all the chicks started hatching.... I'm thinking that may have been the problem....

Can some of you expert hatchers give me some advice!?!
I am not an expert hatcher But lots of people talk to Sally Sunshine Who wrote the bottom article.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101

There are soo many factors I have read online here and other places. My one and only hatch had so many things going wrong with it from the get go.... All Pullet eggs, No idea of how old they were, First time hatcher (me) brand new incubator 1588. Two types of eggs went in the incubator.... Chicken and guinea... chickens take 21 +- days to hatch and Guineas take 26+- days to hatch.

I stopped the turner for all during lock down for the chickens and just kept the guineas in there.... I did NOT open the incubator but about three times during the whole process. ITs very very dry here. I had six chicken eggs and five Guinea eggs. I had three Guineas hatch. I am the recipient of beginners luck on stuff.... I consider that hatch to be incredibly successful.

deb
 

lindz8504

Songster
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
2,125
247
198
Blue Ridge Mtns in NC
What type of incubator? Hovabator Genesis
Does it have a fan? Yes
How and how often were eggs turned It has an auto turner, plus I rotated the eggs so they weren't rotating on just one plane about every 2 days.
What was thne bator temp? I had to set the bator to 100.2F, to get my other thermometer at 99F
How did you mesure Thermometer/hygrometer I picked up from Wal-mart.
What was humidity? 16-25% during first 18 days.... I attempted to hit 60-65% at lockdown but it did drop to 55% and spiked to 74%
How did you measure? Thermometer/hygrometer from Wal-mart.... The one on the incubator was different 4-6% at lower humidity, and once humidity got above 40% it was off by as much at 25%
Does the incubator have ventilation plugs? It was a borrowed incubator, and there were no plugs included.
If yes, when were they removed?

Oz,
Thanks for coming by!!!!


Everyone else.....
These were eggs from my own flock. I wanted to do a test hatch before getting some shipped Sal. Fav. eggs. They are due to arrive around the 22nd.

I have read and re-read Sally Sunshine's hatching thread and tried to follow as close to possible!

We did have a power outage around day 8 for 3 hours, and the temp dropped down to 84* I think. I didn't open up the incubator during that, and when I candled at lock-down we did see movement in the majority of the eggs...

There wasn't water in any of the aircells, but the membranes seemed to be more fluid filled than I've seen, although some weren't. That is what is so confusing! And most of them didn't internally pip at all.
 

ozexpat

CocoBeach Farm
7 Years
Nov 18, 2012
12,850
1,803
391
between SoCal and The Philippines
My Coop
My Coop
Oz,
Thanks for coming by!!!!


Everyone else.....
These were eggs from my own flock. I wanted to do a test hatch before getting some shipped Sal. Fav. eggs. They are due to arrive around the 22nd.

I have read and re-read Sally Sunshine's hatching thread and tried to follow as close to possible!

We did have a power outage around day 8 for 3 hours, and the temp dropped down to 84* I think. I didn't open up the incubator during that, and when I candled at lock-down we did see movement in the majority of the eggs...

There wasn't water in any of the aircells, but the membranes seemed to be more fluid filled than I've seen, although some weren't. That is what is so confusing! And most of them didn't internally pip at all.
Its really hard to pinpoint problems.

you have to work through them one at a time to eliminate variables.

it can be painful but rewarding once you get it sorted.

weighing eggs is the first step. It will help you adjust humidity and really get to know your bator. especially with the shipped eggs you are receiving.

stinkers mean bacteria in the bator. make sure you wash your hands well before handling eggs. Also wipe it down with a bleach water solution and let it air dry for a day.
 

lindz8504

Songster
6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
2,125
247
198
Blue Ridge Mtns in NC
Quote:
Hmm... This next hatch is probably going to be my last because it is a borrowed incubator and I have to return it. If I decide to do any more I may just break down and buy a Brinsea or similar.
I did make sure to wash my hands ect.... I'll look into getting a small scale, instead of candling and watching air cells... or in addition? Its definitely easier to use a broody! LOL
 

Bens-Hens

Songster
6 Years
Jan 29, 2013
2,552
304
238
Perth, Western Australia
Hi Lindz.

I agree, with water in the air cell it points to humidity, but your instruments say otherwise.

As Oz say's, the best way to double check is to weight the eggs each candle. I bought a set of kitchen scales that are accurate to a gram. Weight the eggs before setting, marked with pencil the air cell (easy to draw around it when you candle in the dark) and then you can track the liquid loss very accurately.

I used a thermometer.hygrometer with a remote cable from the incubator warehouse. Has proven very reliable. I also weigh and track air cells.

Personally, I hatch at the same temp and on the sides with no cups etc, if you mark the air cell you can see how the egg settles, and if the pip is in the right place.

In case you are not aware of the weighing process, you are aiming for 13% (+/- 1%) weight loss over the first 18 days. I made a nerdy little chart so I could keep an eye on how close my instruments were at every candle. If the average weight loss each candle is not right then the humidity needs to be adjusted to suit. I use my instruments as a 'at a glance guide' but trust the scales the most.

Also as Oz says, a good clean with bleach solution will make sure everything is clean before those lovely Sal Fav eggs go in.

Everything else look like you did right but there was something in there that did not go your way.
 

MANNA-PRO

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