Hatching at high altitude

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Haney3, Jun 5, 2009.

  1. Haney3

    Haney3 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 25, 2008
    Golden, Colorado
    I'm sorry, I posted in the wrong site. I posted before in buy and sell. My question was has anyone had trouble hatching eggs in higher altitudes. I've heard that the shells from lower altitude are different than from higher. I'm in the foothills of Colorado I believe at 7800 ft. I'm new at this also.
  2. tielsflyhigh

    tielsflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 22, 2009
    I am in colorado springs [​IMG] - well- my eggs are due to hatch this weekend so I will be able to tell you more than ...
    A friend of mine hatches eggs though all the time and hatch results are good.
    There are studies that seem to indicate that eggs from chickens raised in lower altitude have more problems hatching in high altitude than from chickens raised in high altitude ...
    I am expected more problems from shipped eggs - but so far all are developing normally. From 24 shipped eggs I only had 2 clear ones and 4 quitters in the earlier stages ... We'll see how many hatch.

    I know that I don't have any problems with my parrot species eggs though- even though the air is so dry around here
  3. Rootball

    Rootball Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2009
    Western Colorado
    Im around 7800 in colorado as well. Im not really an experienced hatcher, but Ill keep my eyes on the thread and share info as I have a few batches in presently.
  4. alpinefarm

    alpinefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2008
    Western Colorado

    I did 3 hatch attempts in Lakewood last winter from eggs that originated at sea level. It was frustrating to say the least and I only have 4 chicks to show for the effort with close to 3 dozen eggs.

    I began researching the problems with altitude in hatching partway thru the second batch. I learned that eggs from hens living at sea level have less porous shells, an adaptation because the air is richer and it isn't necessary to pull in so much oxygen or humidity. The eggs from hens living at high altitude have much larger pores, in order to help the embryo get more oxygen.

    So, bringing eggs from low altitude to high altitude to hatch is the least desired scenario, because the eggs can't breathe. Professional hatcheries often provide oxygen piped into the incubator...but that, of course, is dangerous for small incubators with an electricity/heat source inside the box that would be likely to ignite!

    What I tried to do during hatching, then, was to keep air circulating. I kept the air holes open (and even added a few more), used a lot of extra water surface for evaporating in order to keep the humidity up and I bought a little fan at Radio Shack and wired it inside the incubator to push the air around.

    I would highly advise not introducing these additions during your hatch, however, because they will de-stabilize the temperature and humidity significantly and can be difficult to adapt to for awhile, several hours or days.

    Even with my extra work and diligence, I still had difficulty toward the end of the hatch with fully developed chicks dying before pipping.

    However, I have to say that these were marans eggs and the pigmentation layer they have makes them very thick and difficult for the chicks to pip out of anyway...so they had an extra count against them from the very beginning.

    I am no expert with hatching by any means and I was not using the best incubator. So, please don't adjust anything until you've thought it thru carefully.

    Best wishes with your efforts--and keep us posted!
  5. tielsflyhigh

    tielsflyhigh Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 22, 2009
    this is very interesting - well- I will let you know how my chick hatch goes- I have close to 20 bantam eggs (silkies, BR, Cochins and Favs but mostly silkies) in 2 different incubators - all were shipped from a lower altitude AND I have 8 Mutt standart eggs in one of the Bators from chickens that live only 8 miles from me in high altitude that were not shipped and fresh as can be ( my control group I guess).
    I am using a brinsea oct 20 eco for half the batch ( the Mutts and some of the banties) and a LG with fan for the rest.
    I am so curious how this will go- I can't STAND the waiting any more [​IMG]

    The only way to achieve close to 70% humidity ( I make it to about 66-68% ) is to raise the room humidity with a humidifier though and I still can't get any higher...

    I will keep you posted ...

    Nice experiment - I whish I had a control group of local bantam eggs but oh well- at least it will show if there was a bator issue or not...
  6. ShysCreations

    ShysCreations Chillin' With My Peeps

    What a great idea to have a local group of eggs as a control! I tried a still air Little Giant 9200 with and without fan to incubate summer of 2008. (an automatic turner & 2 thermostats were always used) It was terrible holding humidity and the temp was unreliable with the awful adjustment stick. Nothing hatched. Thinking it was shipped egg problems, some shipped eggs did hatch under broodies. So trying to narrow down causes, I changed the incub to a GQF Hovabator GENESIS 1588 with the same turner. I bought digital hydrometer/thermometers from Petsmart. Major improvement---filling all the reservoirs plus 2 sponges Genesis keeps humidity 55% for the majority of incubating time then with a total of 4 sponges it holds humidity to 60-65% for pipping. Genesis has self regulating heat. Kept in the basement its temps ranged between 98-100.
    I've recently incubated my own eggs which greatly increases chances of hatching. Our mailman the other day said its a 16 ft drop from the truck to mail facility so that shakes the eggs up.
  7. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    So how'd things turn out with this experiment and hatching eggs in Colorado?

    I'm in NM, elevation around 4300, and just got eggs from PA, elevation 518. I set them under my broody hen this morning, and am wondering what kind of success you had with the eggs in this thread. Thanks!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. Chesterchook

    Chesterchook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry to resurrect such an old post, just looking to see if any of these people posting here or anyone else had had any luck?
  9. chlskt

    chlskt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2012
    Arvada, Co.
    I would love to get some more insight on this as well! I've tried a batch of quail eggs and 4 batches of serama's and I have one quail to show for it! [​IMG] I want to hatch eggs sooo bad, but it's just not working...
  10. 4hagent

    4hagent New Egg

    Jan 7, 2013
    I am working on creating an experiment around this right now through CSU. I am a 4-H Agent in Jefferson County and hatch chicks in local classrooms to teach youth about the life cycle.
    I haven't had any problems hatching in the city but have had a terrible time hatching in the Mountains. I do get my eggs from local 4-H members who live in the city (I have never tried to order eggs from a lower elevation). The last test I hatched eggs in Conifer, with eggs that were laid in Conifer, all of them hatched but they all were splay legged so something went wrong. We tried to hatch eggs from Wheat Ridge at the Conifer school as well but not a single egg hatched. When cracked open all of the chicks were fully grown.
    I use a R-Com 20 incubator to help control the temperature and humidity since schools often change temperature as they leave for the evening or weekend. The incubator is pretty expensive but if you are going to do much hatching it is certainly well worth the money!
    I will be doing the experiments in April and May and will let you know what I find out. Hopefully this will help you have success in the future!
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by