Hatching advice (is temp still too high?)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by amosygal, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2011
    In my first hatch, I started with 42 eggs. The thermometer read 99F. On day 7 I removed 2 eggs that were clear. On day 11 we had a power shortage for few hours, so I took the incubator to my parents house. after about 12 hours in my parents' house I noticed that the temperature was too high (103F probability because of the different location or altitude) so I lowered it. When I took the incubator back home the temperature was too low (95F), so I raised it again. I thought my chicks died, but surprisingly one hatched on the 19th day, 31 on the 20th day and 6 early on the 21th day. Only one egg didn't hatch (chick died) - over 90% success!
    For my second hatch I stated again with 42 eggs, but I raised the temperature a little (100F, not too smart...), I had to remove 12 bad eggs during the incubation period, and only 22 hatched, most of them on the 19th day.
    For my third hatch (current - again 42 eggs) I lowered the temperature (97F), again I had to remove 12 eggs during the process, one has hatched on day 19, 3 on day 20, now on day 21 5 have already hatched.
    I compared my thermometer with a different thermometer and it does seem to show approx 2 degrees lower.
    Why was my first hatch so successful what do you think?
    Another important point is that I keep the hatched chicks near the incubator and they first made a lot of dust in the air since I used dusty soil as bedding. could that cause the low hatch success?
    I did of course clean the incubator after every hatch.
    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think it's just been a matter of luck. Each of your hatches has actually been very good. Your first one was amazing, so call it beginner's luck. Your second one, the chicks hatched two days early, so your temps were obviously too high, but you knew that already. Your third one sounds like it's going pretty well so far. I think you're doing okay.

    When you say you had to remove bad eggs, what do you mean? Were they just fertile eggs that had stopped developing, or actual rotten eggs that stank up your bator? If you had a lot that were fertile but all died at the same stage of development, that would tell you that something probably happened at that stage to make them quit. The most likely thing would be a too-high temperature. If they were all rotten eggs then that could tell you something about the cleanliness and health of the birds that laid them, the cleanliness of the people who handled them, and the storage techniques used before they were incubated, as well as (if it's relevant) the cleanliness of the person hand turning them each day.

    If the ones you remove are totally clear, you don't count them when totting up your final hatch rate. If they were never fertile, there's no way they could develop, so no point counting them when you're finished. Like, if you had 20 eggs and 12 of them were clear, but the other eight all hatch, then that would be a 100% hatch rate, cause out of 8 fertile eggs, you got them all to hatch.

    Are you using eggs from your own birds, eggs from friends, locally bought eggs or shipped eggs?
    I doubt it's going to be shipped eggs cause of your high hatch rates, but you never know...

    If it's eggs from your own or friends' birds, you have a chance to collect them more carefully and store them in more ideal conditions before setting them. That could improve your hatch rate. Also, you really need to get an accurate thermometer. Without one, you're not going to know exactly what temperature your eggs are at.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  3. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your response.
    The eggs are indeed from my own chickens in my backyard.
    Some Of the eggs I removed weren't fertile but most of them showed very little development in comparison to the others (when I candled them), and when opening, most contained a very small dead chick. I only had one egg that started to stink on day 21.
    Could it be that the dust bothers the hatching?
    Thanks again.
     
  4. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't think so. At least, not until after they've actually pipped their shells anyway. I mean, no dust is going to get inside an egg as long as the shell is intact.

    The very small dead chicks are known as early quitters, and if they are all the same size, it does suggest that something happened to them at that stage of their development. It could be caused by something like a vitamin or mineral deficiency in the embryo as well as high or low temperatures, so if you're planning to hatch a lot of eggs, it might be worth supplementing your parent birds with a poultry multivitamin, or moving them on to specialist breeders food instead of layers.

    It's worth checking over your hygiene practices as well. I'm not suggesting you or your birds are dirty in any way, it's just sensible to look at everything that could improve your hatches. If you're collecting eggs for hatching, it's a good idea to change the material in your nesting boxes more often than normal. Also to scrub your hands before you pick up any eggs and to try to touch them as little as possible after that. If you're going to be storing eggs for more than a couple of days you should think about your storage conditions too.

    But first of all - get yourself an accurate thermometer. Get your heat, humidity, hygiene and health of your birds spot on. If you don't see an improvement in hatch rates then maybe you could start thinking about the other things like dust from chicks that might be causing problems. But make sure you sort out the basics first.
     
  5. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks. I think you are right and that there is a problem with the way I store my eggs. I leave them in room temperature which is about 80F here these days. In my first hatch (which went well) the room temperature was more like 70F (it was in the spring). I read they should be stored between 55 and 65 but what other choice do I have (the refrigerator is obviously too cold)?
     
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perhaps you could get yourself an old fridge and tinker with the thermostat so that it was running at 60F instead of normal fridge temperature?

    Have a look at this Incubating Guide from the University of Texas A&M: gallus.tamu.edu/library/extpublications/b6092.pdf

    It's got some really interesting info about how to store eggs.

    You'll have to copy and paste the address into your browser - it's a link to download a PDF document
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  7. amosygal

    amosygal Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2011
    Thanks for the advice, I got a small fridge and changed the chicks bedding. I'll let you know the results of the next hatch. Thanks.
     

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