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Hand turning eggs...am I doing it wrong?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Swissmiss989, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. Swissmiss989

    Swissmiss989 Songster

    Jun 5, 2011
    I do not have a turner but I been doing it by hand. I know its suppose to be 2 or 3 times a day but how often? I been doing it after 4 hours should I spred it out more? What does turning do for them? Also my incubater fluctuates between 99.4 and 100.3 is that ok? Should I keep it higher then lower?

  2. Bantam Username

    Bantam Username Songster

    Aug 3, 2011
    Wiltshire, UK
    I turn my eggs 3 times a day, an odd number is better than an even number so that they are not stuck on the same side every night. I turn mine at 9.00 am, 3.00 pm, and 9.00 pm.
  3. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Songster

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Turning the eggs makes the yolk and the embryo move about inside the egg. I think part of the point of this is to give the embryo access to nutrition from different parts of the egg, and also to make sure it stays loose and floating and doesn't adhere to the shell wall. Three times a day is widely agreed to be the minimum acceptable amount, but more is better. If I'm hand turning eggs, I give them a roll whenever I walk past the incubator. If you're turning three times a day then doing it as evenly spaced out as possible is best, but if you're turning more often, I don't think it matters as much that you do it at set times or set intervals. The main idea of doing it at (say) 8am, 3pm and 9pm is mostly to set up a routine in your head so that you're less likely to forget to do it. But if you can't turn them at 3pm, it doesn't really matter if you do it an hour late or an hour early. Or both. Just doing it at all is the most important thing really...
  4. pete55

    pete55 Songster

    Feb 19, 2011
    Suffolk, UK

    Gypsy07 is quite right about turning helping to give the embryo access to different nutrients in the yolk and albumen and it will help prevent membranes adhering to the outer membrane.

    There are though some other important elements to incubation and the first in contact incubators and still air incubators. In both types there is a temperature differential and turning helps to produce an even core temperature.

    Another important benefit of turning is in that the first 2 weeks of development the embryo grows the chorio-allantoic membrane. This 'sac' develops from the naval area and rapidly grows as a vascular balloon which encases the chick, the yolk and amniotic sac. This 'balloon' is covered with an intricate and generous supply of blood vessels leading directly back to the chick. Over the first two weeks the Chorio-Allantoic membrane grows to completely line the inner surface of the entire egg-shell. As the membrane and its blood vessels lie adjacent to the shell it places the blood vessels in near contact with the pores of the egg-shell. Therefore gas and moisture exchange can occur ridding the embryo of carbon dioxide and excess water molecules and also absorbing oxygen for the growing chicks needs. This vital membrane meets the growing embryo’s internal respiration needs until it is mature enough to use its own lungs for pulmonary (lung) respiration. Research has shown that inadequate turning of the egg in the first two thirds of incubation can lead to stunting in the development of the chorio-allantoic membrane. This would reduce the membrane's ability to provide adequate gas and water molecule exchange to meet the growing chick’s needs and lead to a late death at approx’ the third week of incubation.

    Pete [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  5. chickenlover2251

    chickenlover2251 In the Brooder

    Aug 17, 2011
    I turn my eggs at 7 ish, 3, and 9. I also turn the egg to the right one time and then left the next time so the chalaza doesn't get wound up too tight.
  6. nizar

    nizar Chirping

    Sep 10, 2011
    3 times better than 2 , your bator temp is pretty good, keep going and good luck.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The odd number of times is to try to prevent the eggs being mostly in one position. You need to look at your schedule to see what works best for you. Overnight is one possible long time but if you are gone to work during the day, you may need to work it out so that is different from nighttime. It is hard to say what works best for everyone. But more is generally better than less.

    I'm not going into the detail Pete did, mainly because I cannot, but inadequate turning can cause even more problems, including malformed chicks. It's not that these problems develop each and every time without fail, but that improper turning can cause some to have problems. Those chicks can be pretty tough and in spite of us doing a lot of things wrong, sometimes they make it anyway. But your odds of success are much better if you can do more things "right".

    About the temperatures. The thing that mostly matters is average incubating temperatures. As long as it does not get high enough or low enough to affect the core temperatures of the eggs, they should hatch OK. If the average incubating temperatures are low, they will probably hatch a little late, maybe a couple of days. If it is too warm, they will probably hatch early. With that temperature range, you will probably be OK. It might help stabilize the temperature if you can add a thermal mass. What I would suggest is adding a zip loc type bag full of water. Once it reaches the right temperature, it will help stabilize the temperature swings. It should not be a fatal flaw if it varies that much, but it would obviously be better if you could narrow that range down. It's another one of those things where your odds are better if you can get it closer to right.

    Good luck!

  8. Swissmiss989

    Swissmiss989 Songster

    Jun 5, 2011
    Thanks everyone for all the help! Ill keep the airlock zip lock in mind! Im going to try it the day I candel the eggs since ill have to move things around! This has helped me alot [​IMG]
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I forgot to mention. If you use the water bag trick, it needs to be pretty close to incubation temperatures when it goes in. If it is too hot it can cause a temperature spike. Those incubators don't shed excess heat very fast. Being a few degrees too cool is not as big a problem, especially if you have a forced air incubator, but it still should be pretty close. The air will heat up faster than the water so the air temperature and thus the eggs should warm up OK but the incubator has to work harder to bring that water temperature up.

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