First timer! How old is too old for the eggs?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by seachainanmadra, May 21, 2016.

  1. seachainanmadra

    seachainanmadra Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 24, 2014
    Hello! I have hatched a few clutches under broody hens, but my first incubator was delivered at my door as I was typing the title for this thread, so I'm new to the incubator game. I have been collecting eggs for a week and a half and have ended up with nearly 4 dozen eggs, although my incubator only holds 27. Since this is my first time, I'm thinking to put the oldest eggs in first so that if there's a problem early on, I can toss those eggs and have another batch ready to go. Or would it be better to use the freshest eggs first, and just collect more in case of a temp spike or other problem with the new incubator?

    I will, of course, start the incubator and let it run for a day or so before I put the eggs in. Also, I'm still waiting on my spare thermometer/hygrometers to be delivered later today.
  2. Rod-T

    Rod-T Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2015
    Deer park, Washington
    How you been storing the eggs? Cool room? Basement?

    I use a wine cooler set at 55 degrees..turning them once a day. I set weekly using freshest eggs first till that incubator is full..and left overs are used for eating. Then I collect eggs for the next incubator for next week.
    If you only have so much room use freshest eggs. .hatch rate can go down after a week I think..
    People have had good luck on older eggs.. but since you only have so much room id go with the best of the best
  3. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2016
    Tucson, AZ
    Incubate your newest eggs. If you set the oldest now, your newest will be 3 weeks + and probably not hatch well when it comes time to set them.

    If you're getting 4 dozen a week, you could nuke a set in the incubator every four days and still be able to fill it every time with a few left over for breakfast.

    For us: unwashed, clean eggs, stored at 75-80 degrees, are almost 100% viable. Two weeks gets iffy, and three weeks typically get turned into breakfast unless I'm looking to fill holes in the incubator.


    Or, grade them out:
    Nice, clean, well formed, non-porous, large, eggs get put into the trays first. Keep looking until they're full, the rest get saved for later or eaten.

    Your mileage may vary, this works for us.
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    I agree. Use your newest first and eat the others. Most hatchers will not set eggs that are over a week old. The most touted recommendation is 10 days and under and most agree that after 2 weeks, the hatch rate drops significantly.

    During storage cooler temps and high humidity is best for eggs as it keeps the air cells from growing large. (I have found as long as I keep my temps during storage under 70F I'm good.)

    What incubator did you get?
  5. seachainanmadra

    seachainanmadra Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 24, 2014
    Thanks, everyone! I got the Incuview, as it seemed to have excellent reviews, was a price I was willing to pay, and I just couldn't resist the full visibility. I wish the capacity was a little higher-capacity is only 27 in an incubator that could easily fit 42 at least, but that's okay. I've got three extra thermometers and two hygrometers, besides the built-in ones, but the incubator seems to be spot on for both readings and has been holding temp steadily for 24 hours now. I did go ahead and set eggs yesterday afternoon. I know I should have let it sit a bit longer, but I really wanted to have my eggs hatch over the weekend when I'll be home and I was comfortable that the bator was holding temp, so I chanced it. So far, so good.

    I'm incubating Swedish Flower Hens, which are notoriously difficult to hatch artificially. Most breeders recommend using the dry hatch method, so I'm trying that out. I wrote the weight of each egg on the shell before putting in into the bator, so that I can track weight loss, and am running it around 35% humidity currently. I'll add a bit of water if it gets down to 20-25%, but not sure that the room humidity will let it drop that low. I'm planning to bump it up to 55-65% for lockdown. I did set my freshest eggs first-thank you for that info! They were stored at room temperature (65-70 degrees). I had planned to toss in a couple of mixed breed eggs to use as a control, but the incubator took a little longer than expected to arrive and my girls really picked up their laying, so I set all purebreds. Probably not ideal to choose such a difficult breed for my first hatch in an incubator, but at if I can manage to pull this off, I figure it can only get easier from there.

    I've got six eggs set to hatch under a hen in a couple days. This hen is an excellent broody and all the eggs look good, so I'm hoping for a 100% hatch from her. Had a rough hatch under a first time broody about a month ago. She wasn't good about pushing the eggs back under her when she moved around, and they kept getting cold. Of ten eggs, 3 were clear, one was an early quitter, one hatched a day early, and then the hen abandoned the nest with the first chick. Popped the remaining 5 eggs under another hen and three more hatched healthy, one pipped and died, and another was assumed dead but began peeping during eggtopsy. He hatched without eyes but is getting along well and will be a pet. It'll be interesting to compare my hatch rates between the bator and the hens. The bad broody is fired from sitting on any more real eggs, but I may slip some chicks under her in the future, as she's a great mother once the chicks are born.

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