Hatching in egg cartons v lying flat

Chicken12367

Songster
Oct 11, 2016
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UK
Hi, I've been doing some reading and came across some threads about hatching using eggs cartons. I use a brinsea ovation 28 and a typical hatch usually involves 1 or 2 chicks hatching and then playing football with the rest of the eggs that haven't hatched or are pipped. At first I used to quickly pop the lid open and turn the eggs back over but on one occasion doing this caused some of the chicks to get shrink-wrapped which meant I had to help them hatch which I really didn't want to do. Now when I hatch I usually leave them be and let nature take its course, this seems to work and my hatch rates are still good but I cant bear to see the pipped eggs being rolled around and bashed about by the hatched chicks. My question is do any of you use the egg carton method for hatching and how would I go about it. Is it better than hatching eggs horizontally. Pictures of examples would be amazing so that I could see what needs to be done because I'd like to try it for my next hatch.
Thanks!!
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
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Nov 23, 2010
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Personally, I wouldn't worry about the football (aka soccer) play. While hatching in cartons will prevent that, you can't predict where the first pip will occur. That can become a problem if in egg cartons.
Don't you think that eggs at point of hatch have been rolled around in nests from time to time for millions of years?
 
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Chicken12367

Songster
Oct 11, 2016
156
127
141
UK
Personally, I wouldn't worry about the football play. While hatching in cartons will prevent that, you can't predict where the first pip will occur. That can become a problem if in egg cartons.
Don't you think that eggs at point of hatch have been rolled around in nests from time to time for millions of years?
Good point about eggs being rolled around in nests, I've got a hatch going on today. 20 eggs went into lockdown and I've currently got 13 chicks hatched. They're all still in the incubator with 7 eggs remaining the majority of them have pipped so I'm worried to open the incubator and take the chicks out. The oldest chick is around 18 hours old, how long should I wait until I remove the hatched chicks?
Thanks
 

ChickenCanoe

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Nov 23, 2010
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Good point about eggs being rolled around in nests, I've got a hatch going on today. 20 eggs went into lockdown and I've currently got 13 chicks hatched. They're all still in the incubator with 7 eggs remaining the majority of them have pipped so I'm worried to open the incubator and take the chicks out. The oldest chick is around 18 hours old, how long should I wait until I remove the hatched chicks?
Thanks
Until you have much more experience with hatching in your incubator, my advice is to not open it at all. Some incubators are more forgiving about retaining humidity (like one I designed) but most will immediately go to ambient humidity upon opening. If the humidity in your house or where you incubate isn't quite high, that will ensure shrink wrapped chicks.
While it isn't ideal, it is possible to leave chicks in an incubator for two days.
 
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Ridgerunner

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Feb 2, 2009
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I have not used the egg carton method and do not have any photos. What I've seen on here is that people often cut back the carton so you just have the minimal skeleton to support the eggs. Hopefully someone that does use that method will reply.

Before the chick hatches it absorbs the yolk. That enables it to live without food or drink while later eggs hatch and is why chicks can be shipped in the mail. The chick should be able to live for over 72 hours on that yolk. Many people that order chicks in the mail have them delayed a day and they are still OK. I once saw a broody hen hatch her first chick on a Monday and did not bring them off the nest until Friday. I was getting a bit concerned but counted the hours instead of days and it wasn't that bad. Late Monday, early Friday. There is nothing wrong with them eating or drinking earlier, I prefer that if it is practical. But I usually do not remove hem until the hatch is over.

I'd be careful about putting anything in the incubator that will affect air flow or humidity. Different incubators operate differently. The hatching chicks need fresh air to breathe. How do your vents work? Different incubators use different methods to manage humidity, will adding something interfere with that?

I don't have any strong opinion either way, laying flat or upright. Each method may have some advantages but also disadvantages. At the end of the day I doubt if it makes much if any difference over the long term though depending on how it goes it might in an individual hatch.
 

mcdze

Chirping
Sep 9, 2020
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i personally think its best to use something to keep the eggs from rolling, i think its much less stressful for the chicks hatching when theyre stable, these guys were alot calmer than the ones playing soccer in the auto-bator ... just dry grass in a box .. as far as angle i dont think it matters as long as its not inverted ..
 

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ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
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Nov 23, 2010
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You can use any kind of substrate that will prevent rolling of eggs. The emerging chicks need good footing anyway to prevent slipped tendons so that's killing two birds with one stone - so to speak.
 

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