first time incubating

chickenlittle84

Chirping
May 13, 2015
156
1
51
This is my first time incubating and my eggs are on day 24 now. I candled last night and out of 10, 2 of them were really moving a lot, 7 were dark and full, hard to see and one looked like it had died. I saw hazy spots and a blood ring. I decided to open the "dead" egg to see what was going on. When I cracked open the air pocket there was a wiggling chick under the membrane. I quickly wrapped him in damp paper towel and put him back in the incubator. I've been moistening the membrane with a qtip and can clearly see the chick with his head between his feet. Will he eventually be able to hatch this way or do I need to assist? What about the other eggs? Is it normal for the whole batch to be this late? I'm using a homemade incubator with a fan and tray of water under the egg rack with sponges in it for humidity. Temps did fluctuate a bit but I've been quick about getting it back on track, checking every couple hours. Are my babies ever gonna hatch?
 

WVduckchick

🐓🦆 For the Birds! 🦆🐓
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Feb 9, 2015
48,219
126,411
1,692
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
First I have to ask if your day count is correct. The first 24 hours after setting the eggs is not day 1. Day 1 does not begin until 24 hours after setting. (I count the first 24 as day 0). Second, what temperature and humidity were you running? And are you sure you have accurate gages -- thermometer and hygrometer? Your temps were likely low if you still see good activity on day 24. The full ones that are hard to tell would be more normal than seeing a lot of activity.

The one you opened -- how much shell did you remove? Do you still see a lot of red veins?
 

chickenlittle84

Chirping
May 13, 2015
156
1
51
The open one has only the part above the membrane removed. Hole about the size of a looney cause that's how far I got when I noticed him moving. He's still alive, wiggling around a lot, a few tiny veins showing and one slightly bigger vein, a bit of blood on the membrane where it may have torn slightly. I set them on a Sunday so I thought that was day 21 but could be Monday I guess. Still overdue at 23 days though. I never monitored humidity but the membrane on the open egg looks good and healthy so I think my humidity was OK. I used a fish tank thermometer set on top of the eggs to keep track of the temperature. Might not have been accurate? I tried my best to keep them at 100 but it ranged from 98-102 occasionally. More often low then high
 

WVduckchick

🐓🦆 For the Birds! 🦆🐓
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Feb 9, 2015
48,219
126,411
1,692
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
If you set them on a Sunday, then yes, day 21 was Sunday, so you are on 24. That is a bit long, so I would guess humidity was too high or temp was too low. The tray of water plus the sponges were probably too humid. Did you use the water and sponges throughout the whole time? The initial 18 days should have much lower humidity than the last 3-4 days.
Anyway... the one that is already opened... glad its still alive for you. Is it chirping any? If there is still a lot of fluid in there, it may have a tough time. But I think the best you can do now is watch and wait, and keep the exposed membrane damp, but not wet. It needs to be able to get its beak into the open space for air. I assume you have it propped up so that it doesn't drown.

Now would be a good time to read this and decide how to proceed... https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching
 

Drewnkat

Songster
11 Years
Mar 27, 2008
176
41
191
Georgia
If the temps were more often low than high, that would account for them not being ready to hatch on time. Incubation periods are more of an average than a hard and fast 21 days. Just like with people, 9 months/40 weeks is an average, and a normal healthy baby can be born at any point between 37 weeks and 42 weeks (and occasionally even beyond, I have a friend who tends to go to 43-44 weeks, all healthy and normal pregnancies).

I would get another thermometer or two, and try to keep the temps 99 and above, and not over 101 for long periods if it can be avoided. A bonus to having more than one thermometer is you can check for "hot spots" in your incubator and re-arrange the eggs accordingly to compensate. Yes, even with a fan it's possible for your incubator to have some variations in temperature.

You seem to have gotten lucky with the humidity this time, but I would definitely make sure you have an accurate hygrometer for next time. Humidity may not be super critical during the first 18 days, but it does need to be carefully monitored during hatch.

I hope your cracked one makes it, if so I would name it "lucky!"
 

chickenlittle84

Chirping
May 13, 2015
156
1
51
If you set them on a Sunday, then yes, day 21 was Sunday, so you are on 24.  That is a bit long, so I would guess humidity was too high or temp was too low. The tray of water plus the sponges were probably too humid.  Did you use the water and sponges throughout the whole time?  The initial 18 days should have much lower humidity than the last 3-4 days. 
Anyway... the one that is already opened... glad its still alive for you.  Is it chirping any?   If there is still a lot of fluid in there, it may have a tough time.  But I think the best you can do now is watch and wait, and keep the exposed membrane damp, but not wet.  It needs to be able to get its beak into the open space for air.  I assume you have it propped up so that it doesn't drown. 

Now would be a good time to read this and decide how to proceed...  https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching
 

chickenlittle84

Chirping
May 13, 2015
156
1
51
If you set them on a Sunday, then yes, day 21 was Sunday, so you are on 24.  That is a bit long, so I would guess humidity was too high or temp was too low. The tray of water plus the sponges were probably too humid.  Did you use the water and sponges throughout the whole time?  The initial 18 days should have much lower humidity than the last 3-4 days. 
Anyway... the one that is already opened... glad its still alive for you.  Is it chirping any?   If there is still a lot of fluid in there, it may have a tough time.  But I think the best you can do now is watch and wait, and keep the exposed membrane damp, but not wet.  It needs to be able to get its beak into the open space for air.  I assume you have it propped up so that it doesn't drown. 

Now would be a good time to read this and decide how to proceed...  https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching

I have him propped with the exposed membrane facing up. I keep seeing something small bulge into the membrane like he's trying to break it. Looks more like his eye then a beak though. I wonder if I'm seeing it wrong, he might be trying to reposition. He moves alot if I talk or whistle so I know he hears me. Hes still completely enclosed though so i dont think hes chirping yet. So hard to tell with so many birds outside my window
 

chickenlittle84

Chirping
May 13, 2015
156
1
51
Not looking good. I only got up once through the night to check and moisten the exposed membrane. By the time I got up this morning the was a hole torn in it and a lot of blood and fluids oozing out. I removed a bit more of the shell until t found his beak because I thought for sure he would drown. He opened his beak a couple times and then just lied there breathing . Its been a few hours and he hasn't moved even if I gently touch him. Pretty sure he's dead or dying but I don't know how to help him so I just left him in the incubator wrapped in paper towel. Looks like he was mal positioned with his head outside wing and pointed away from the air cell. I read the links about positioning and it might be because I didn't stand them up, they've been incubating horizontal. I'm worried all the eggs are like that and won't be able to hatch even though most appear to be alive and are wobbling around. Not sure what to do now :(
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,268
346
SE Michigan
Any time there is a blood leak, there is a high probability of death. It may have been a combination of low temps (delayed hatch and low vigor) and high humidity (too large to turn, causing malposition, plus too much fluid).

If blood is visible around the chick and moisture as well, his chances of survival are low. Given the description he isn't a good candidate for assisted hatch. Continue to drape a warm damp paper towel over the shell and wait, that is all you can do.

I'd avoid breaking out any more, they may finish developing and hatch, but the chances are not great. For the next incubation, calibrate your instruments and ensure the incubator is up to temperature for at least 24 hours ahead of time, and don't make any adjustments until the eggs have been in the incubator for 24 hours (unless the temperature goes sky high...then lift the lid to release excess heat and see if the issue recurs).
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom