Fully developed dead chicks = shipping?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by yotetrapper, May 5, 2009.

  1. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    I'm thinking out loud here. Out of shipped eggs, I usually am running 80-90% development rate (except on too rouigh handled boxes) at day 18. By day 21, the actual hatch rate drops to 50% or less. For example, right now I put in 8 eggs that were alive at day 18, and it's looking like only 2 are gonna hatch. One pipped in the wrong end, and the others never pipped at all. My last hatch, I put in 24 or so eggs at day 18 that were alive, and ended up with 14. I was assuming it had to do with humidty or something like that BUT.....

    skip to my own eggs from my hens. First hatch of my own eggs.... 8 buff orps, 3 EEs. 5 blrw went into hatcher at day 18. 7 buff orps, 3 ees, and 4 blrw hatched. So... 14 out of 16 hatched. My second hatch, I put 9 of my buff orps in on day 1, and 7 of them hatched. So this is throwing me off. My fully formed dead chick issue doesnt seem to apply with my own chicks.

    Sooooooo.....what could shipping have to do with chicks growing full term, and not hatching? Any ideas?
  2. rizq

    rizq Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    I have had the same problem with shipped eggs, except I do not get that high of a development rate. I have had a very low rate of development with only about 10% of developed chicks actually hatching. I have been blaming my bator (and ordered a new one, lol) but maybe that is not my problem after all.

    Curious to see what others say about this issue.
  3. KellyHM

    KellyHM Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    I have the same problem with shipped eggs...pretty good development but low hatch rates...not sure what the deal is.
  4. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    I'm keeping records and trying to kind of sort that out. Temps and dates when shipped, and humidity used at hatching. Since I'm wondering if they lose too much water in shipping.

    I'm also going to work on other sets of variables.

    Letting one group sit a second day before incubating normally.

    And turning one group much more than twice a day.

    I'm figuring on a couple of tests where I place them in cartons at first but lie them down later, and a group always on it's side.

    Any number of things can affect that last moment of hatch or not hatch.

    Humidity/water content of the egg itself first.

    Strength of chick and some claim that more frequent turning can affect that.

    Hand turning on side over auto turning on end - does that matter?

    There are so many tiny probable variables I have a very large notebook so I can actually keep it in my head.

    Shipped eggs are HARD handled, will suffer pressure and humidity and temp changes. At a minimum. Figuring out how best to compensate is a project with lots of options.

    Turning more seems to improve hatches overall at this point. I've had better results overall with difficult eggs from doing so.

    Humidity ... I'm liking dry hatching for my own eggs, but still never quite happy with shipped under the same conditions. I think there is something there.

    I think it is a matter of several small things and tinkering. I've even gone so far as candling each of the last days to sort out what happens - no they weren't expensive eggs just test eggs shipped. That messes up humidity data btw.

    But you learn a few things about what they are doing, whether they actually get into the air cell, if they actually even shift into position (if they can't they were probably very much too dry or too weak/too tight).

    Keeping notes is your best bet. Weather when shipped, temps, time, humidity.

    Could the answer be shipping them with a humidity pad of some sort? Wet wool or wet wool felt or something to keep it more even? That might be worth checking out and relatively cheap.

    It's more a long term investigation rather than a single or simple thing. Perhaps we need to start a compilation thread. Set up criteria, compare results. Might help us all.

    Because losing them that last couple days just sucks.
  5. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    Unless an obvious humidity problem happens I hatch at least 75% of the eggs that make it to day 18. If your getting a lot that die right around hatch I would look at what your doing. Generally I consider anything that dies after the first week my own fault because I have not found that much difference between shipped or my own after that point. Usually the damaged embryos die in the first week and I only have 1 or 2 losses before day 18 and then majority to nearly all manage to hatch if I don't mess up.

    If you can't find any other problem try carton hatching (or leave them in the turner with it off if you have one) for a batch of shipped eggs and see if it makes a difference. I found it can really help with eggs that had damaged air cells. Setting the eggs in cartons on day 18 and keeping them upright helps the chick position right to hatch so they are more likely to pip up into the air cell. I always get tons of weird pips with shipped eggs unless I carton hatch. It is more likely that pips on the wrong end will die when in a carton but it's much less likely that they will try to pip on the wrong end.
  6. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

    Mar 16, 2009
    onchiota NY
    Quote:I think I will try this method-wasn't going to but your post sort of convinced me to try! maybe I'll go half in a carton half not to see???
  7. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    I thought I was doing something wrong. But I dont know what? I've tried dry incubation with worse results than 50% humidty. So I run 50% the first 18 days and 65%-70% the last 3. These are not still air incubators, but genesis's with a constant temp. The thing that gets me is why do MY eggs hatch, but not shipped ones...if it is indeed something I am doing wrong?

    I will try again the carton method. I used it some last year, but for some reason this year went back to laying them on their sides. I guess this next hatch, I will try in a carton again, and see what difference that makes. I'm just getting disgusted with dead baby chicks. I open many, and the vast majority of those that dont hatch never untuck their head from under their wing.
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    It may not be so much something your doing something wrong with all hatches as your methods not being the best for shipped eggs which nearly always have suffered some damage to the air cell and possibly other things from shipping. If anything I run higher humidity on shipped eggs. I have very bad results with dry incubation even on my own eggs. If I go less than 40% air cells get too big and hatch rates drop. I just incubated shipped seramas at 50-55% (normally I run 45-50%) and hatched at 70% to have 5 chicks from 8 eggs with 2 quitting before day 18. The one that died still managed to zip but must have been something wrong with it because after that it remained inactive still partially in the egg and died a couple hours later. Shipped eggs have enough problems with odd shaped air cells extending across large portions of the egg. I would not risk making them even bigger with low humidity. It may just be little things like that which wouldn't noticeably impact your own eggs but does cause lower hatch rates in shipped eggs.
    Last edited: May 5, 2009

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