Hatching problems

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by siroiszoo, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. siroiszoo

    siroiszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Waller, TX
    Just curious.... This spring my australorps had problems hatching chicks. I thought they were crushing them by not pulling their weight off of them as they hatched. Out of 6 hens and somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 eggs, only 3 chicks made it. So I just assumed they were bad mothers and bought 2 LG incubators (one was ordered but I had to rush out and buy another one locally when the borrowed Hovabator went haywire and started cooking eggs.) I has also borrowed an LG still air with no egg turner. Couldn't save the Hovabator chicks but still had the LG chicks going.

    I got 25 out of 30 eggs to the lock down stage (I saw movement in every one of the eggs that went to lockdown when candled on the 18th day). On day 18 (which turns out to be day 17 bc I misread my calendar), 12 went back into the LG still air bator while 13 went into the LG bator with fan. By far, the chicks that hatched out of the still air were stronger & healthier but I still had to help two out of their shells. The eggs in the LG bator with fan started hatching a day sooner but only two made it out on their own. I had to help 4 or 5 out of their shells. I had higher humidity in the one with the fan - at least 75% or higher - but assumed the fan was drying out the membrane and virtually locking them into the shell. That was until I noticed the two in the still air bator having the same problem. Day 18 was on Friday. It's Monday and probably 5 more chicks have hatched.

    The final score: Still Air LG Incubator: On day 18, I placed 12 eggs in for lockdown. According to the thermometer, humidity stayed at 45% (I think that particular thermometer was reading humidty lower than it actually was) and the temp stayed at 99.5 - 100 degrees. Hatching began on Sunday and went through today, Monday. 4 hatched or pipped themselves out of their shells with no help. The last two I had to help out of the shell. One has a large enough hole started that I can see the beak and see movement. I will watch to see if it needs help by this evening. If the membrane starts drying out and getting stuck to the baby, I'll assist. 5 show no signs of movement or pipping.

    LG with fan: On day 18, I placed 13 eggs in for lockdown. That thermometer read 65% humidity until Friday when it shot up to 87+% (the viewing windows even had condensation on them). The temperature stayed at a steady 100 degrees. Chicks began pipping/hatching (whatever the proper term for it is) on Friday night and continued through Sunday evening. Only two made it out by theirself. Two died after their shells were pretty much 'unzipped' as far as they needed to be - I believe these were actually the first to start hatching. I had to help 5 more out of their shells - the final two being hatched this morning (Monday). 4 eggs are showing no signs of hatching. (I think I got all the numbers correct).

    Now I don't know what to think. This is the first time I've used an incubator to hatch. I've always let the hens do the hatching for as long as I've had chickens.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to why so many of the chicks are unable to hatch whether it be under the hen or in the incubator? Genetics? Feed? Water too hard (we did just repair the well last year during the drought)? I have no idea.

    It's obviously not a case of hens being bad mothers. They eat a mixture of half layer pellet or crumbles and half scratch. It's always been their diet for as long as I've owned chickens. Same brand, even. I don't know if it's the breed or what. I did spend the past two years switching over to Australorps whereas I used to keep sex links, cochins, and other egg layers that the feed stores sell. Just really clueless about what's going on.
  2. 3Dchicken

    3Dchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2012
    I don't know if this is a very helpful answer or not, but I've read online that some breeds of chickens are not as good of mothers as some... Maybe that's it, but out of 100 eggs and only 3 hatched- that's crazy. I don't have any experience, but it's a guess. [​IMG]

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