Hatch spread over 5 days so far... why?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Momo, May 13, 2011.

  1. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Up until now, my hatches (Genesis 1588) have been pretty predictable. I have always used the egg carton method. The early birds hatch on day 20, the bulk of them pop out like popcorn on day 21 and the stragglers hatch on day 22. By day 23 any unhatched chicks have always been dead. But this latest hatch has been really weird. They were due on Tuesday. On Sunday I went to set them up for lockdown (a day late, I know, but I was out of town) and found that a baby had hatched in the turner! Okay, no big deal, none of the other eggs had pipped so I took them out of the turner and increased the humidity to 65%. This time I didn't use egg cartons, just placed them on their sides. A bunch of chicks hatched on Monday and a bunch more on Tuesday. On Wednesday I removed them so they could eat, and left the incubator running. There were no pips when I opened the incubator. Soon afterward, three more hatched, or tried to, and got glued to their shells. I helped them out bit by bit over the course of many hours, keeping them wrapped in damp paper towel, because the membranes were bleeding. These chicks looked "shrink wrapped" to me, with the white outer membrane wrinkled and wrapped against them. Today all three are vigorous and doing fine, although sort of "sticky" and not as fluffy as the others. Tonight I took the unhatched eggs out and cleaned and disinfected the incubator. Then I sat down to eggtopsy the unhatched eggs, and one of them had pipped! I gave it a bit of help because it had been sitting out in the cool dry air for a couple of hours, but the membrane was bloody so I put it back in the incubator, wrapped up, along with the rest of the eggs. Within half an hour it was free of the shell, with very little blood, which was a great surprise. So now I'm looking at the unhatched eggs and wondering what is going on in them. This hatch has been straggling along for 5 days now! Any ideas on what would cause this?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The 1588 is a forced air, so there goes one theory. In a still air, the temperature can easily be different in different areas of the incubator, so you can have quite a bit difference in the average incubation temperature for some eggs. Unless you did something weird, that should not be your case.

    Temperature is not the only thing that can cause early or late hatches, though it is the first one I think of. Humidity can have an effect, but again, in a forced air, that should not be an issue. They should all have seen the same humidity throughout.

    Egg size can make a difference. The smaller eggs tend to hatch earlier than larger eggs. Small pullet eggs tend to hatch earlier than regular sized eggs, and larger than normal eggs will often be later than regular eggs. Those tiny Serama eggs can be earlier than eggs from full sized fowl.

    Heredity plays a part, sometimes a big part. I've seen a recommendation from an extension service to commercial operations to not put late hatchers in with the breeding flock so they will get more uniform hatches.

    Age of the eggs can make a difference. Eggs that have been stored a while can hatch a little earlier than fresher eggs. I think they start with less moisture content, but not sure of the reason.

    Now possibly the big one. At what temperature did you store the eggs before setting them? If they are stored too warm, they can start developing before they go in the incubator. This does not mean that they have to be in the upper 90's to start developing. They can develop some in the lower 80's. I think this caused my last hatch to be spread out longer than normal, but this was not over five days, closer to 2-1/2 to 3 days.

    So my basic theory, not knowing any details of what you really did, that it is probably caused by storage before you started incubation. But you are aware of what you did and where you got the eggs. You may see something here that gives you a clue. Or there may be something else entirely at work here.

    Good luck! In spite of this, it sounds like a pretty successful hatch.
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Honestly I have no idea. I had a hatch do that once. Set coturnix eggs from my own birds and they took a full 5 days to hatch from start to finish. I was also using a 1588. You know it can't be cold/hot spots because the 1588 doesn't have problems with those. It could be due to the age of the egg but they would have to be pretty old to hatch that early and that wouldn't explain the late hatchers.

    I never have had another hatch draw out so long so I suspect you won't either. Just something that happens now and then. Make sure to candle the rest of the eggs before opening them, I'd actually leave them in the incubator a few more days. I (and several others) recommend waiting at least 3 days after the last chick hatches before removing the rest of the eggs [​IMG]
  4. Momo

    Momo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Thank you for your thoughtful replies! You've given me lots to think about ... I didn't store the eggs as cool as I might have, so that could explain the early hatchers, at least in part. And I think I've figured out what went wrong overall - you know the 1588 has a fan, right? Well I found that the wiring is a bit loose and the fan was slowing down. I think that the air wasn't circulating as well as it should have been. We'll see how the next hatches turn out!
  5. gumbii

    gumbii Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2010
    bell gardens, ca
    i'm going thru the same thing right now... my friend is hatching shamo and OEGB eggs... already today (day 19) a OEGB hatched already... on my last hatch, it was a 4 day span of hatching... weird...
  6. MsRiderUp

    MsRiderUp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2011
    Canton, Georgia
    I'm going through the same thing as well and haven't been sure why, although this has been my first 'successful' hatch (used a bator that was probably broken before; made our own for this). Our first to hatch was a leghorn, followed by shipped Ameraucanas, and the other leghorn. Our Barnevelders were interspersed. The Bielefelders and Welsummers haven't hatched yet, and we're completing day 3. The largest are the Bielefelders, then second largest are the Welsummers ( <also shipped with the Ameraucanas). The Breeder said that usually the Ameraucanas hatched a day earlier than the Welsummers. I'm going to give it another day or two. Me, I had ordered more shipped eggs, thinking my incubator would be freed up by tomorrow at least! Fortunately they are sitting in the wine cooler resting, getting ready to be added to the incubator. I may make this work by the skin of my teeth. Will add another note to let you know how the Wellies and Bieles go . . . Might help us determine whether size matters. :)

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