Fully developed chicks dying during hatching


6 Years
May 2, 2013
I am on my second attempt at hatching some of my own eggs. The first try all but 1 out of 24 eggs died. I check them and I would say about 60% were fully developed inside the eggs. I kept the temperatures between 99° and 101° and the humidity between 50% and 60% for the first 18 days then increased it to 70% to 80% the last 3 days. During hatching I had about 4 that started to chip their way out then died. The only thing I could think of was that I didn't have enough ventilation. So I added some more vents and started again with 24 new eggs. This time I kept the specs the same and on day 20 I had 3 start to hatch. After about 5 hours I finally helped them out of their shells. 2 lived. On day 21 I had 2 more that only started to chip their way out then gave up. I finally helped them out as well. I opened the remaining eggs to find that most were totally developed. Counting the chicks that made it and the totally developed eggs. 17 out of 24 should have hatched. Can anyone offer any advice on what I could be doing wrong? And maybe why none of my chicks completely hatch on their own? Any help would appreciated.

Thanks Jim Bohley


8 Years
7 Years
Jan 24, 2012
Linden, Texas
Incubating and hatching forum would of been best place to put this. https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/5/incubating-hatching-eggs

I've only incubated once. I hatched 9 out 19 eggs.

Did you turn you eggs daily?
Research has shown that inadequate turning of the egg in the first two thirds of incubation can lead to stunting in the growth of the chorio-allantoic membrane. This would reduce the membrane's ability to provide adequate gas and water molecule exchange to meet the growing chicks needs and lead to a late death.

It is worth considering that many late deaths occur before internal pipping due to insufficient moisture loss. The chicks blood system is over-loaded with fluid and causes swelling of the bodies soft tissues as the heart fails due to its increased workload. The chicks is simply too congested and weakened to undergo the stresses of the hatching process.

If these eggs are later examined then often they appear shrink-wrapped; but even eggs that are opened with live chicks appear that way as the membrane follows the contours of the chick. As a good rule of thumb small sticky chicks have usually lost too much moisture whereas large bulky chicks that are wet have usually lost insufficient moisture.

If your chicks were large and bulky, my guess would be too much humidity. I would keep the humidity closer to 50%.

I'm a rookie, only 1 hatch. Your temperature was ok if your incubator has a fan. Without a fan, I think temp is around 102.5. Don't turn eggs during 1st 24 hours. Eggs small end down if using a turner. Humidity 45 to 50% then 60 to 70% during lock down.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/577310/a-guide-to-humidity-weighing-and-lockdown#post_7493364 I didn't weigh my eggs. Basically followed this guide.

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