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Hatching shipped eggs at high elevation.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by soldonold, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. soldonold

    soldonold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2012
    Burlington, Kansas
    I am so bummed -- I put 4 eggs in lockdown 3 days ago (the only ones that made it out of 24 shipped Ameraucana eggs[​IMG]) and so far nothing is going on and today is D-day. Last attempt, I got one little chick out of 12 shipped eggs (but we have become very close [​IMG] ) The first batch had terrible air cells, but these last ones had great air cells. All but a couple started to develop, and then they just started quitting. Five blood rings, and several that looked like day 12 maybe. They had all their feathers and little toe nails. So sad. I live near Colorado Springs, and the elevation at our house is over 7000 ft above sea level. Has anyone had any luck at all hatching shipped eggs at high elevations? My own hatch out fine. Plan B is look for some baby chicks and go from there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  2. teep

    teep Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2013
    Western Slope, Colorado
    Hi soldonold! I am in CO as well, the western slope, and I was hoping that you have found some suppliers of hatching eggs at our high elevation?? It is really discouraging....there are a couple of breeds that I really want to work on, but can't find hatching eggs from good breeders. A 5-10% hatch rate seems to be about the going rate when ordering them from lower altitudes [​IMG]. Give me good news!!!
     
  3. ashem0

    ashem0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    G'day - just curious to know how you are getting on hatching eggs at your alt?

    I live i the Blue Mtns of Australia - my alt is 1014m. And I have just today put 6 Marans in the bator (my first time hatching). Fingers crossed. I will be very happy if I get a 50% hatch rate. They travelled from South of us and have had a big climb up the mountain (posted!). But my altitude is certainly nothing like yours - 7000ft!! Phew! Makes me puff just thinking about it!

    Cheers!
     
  4. soldonold

    soldonold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2012
    Burlington, Kansas
    Hi! I was surprised to finally get a response to this thread! I'd forgotten about it. The last time I tried hatching lower altitude eggs, I went all out. I put two air lines from two little aquarium pumps under the plastic water tray in the bottom of my Hovabator and then put a bunch of sterilized marbles over that to keep the temperature stable. I was thinking that maybe increased air flow would help. It did help in that I had a lot that made it further, but still none made it to hatch. It was really worse since they were so close to hatching. But still no chicks. I was trying to hatch Ameraucanas, so I finally broke down and ordered some live chicks from a breeder on BYC. I wasn't able to find any hatching eggs locally for true Ameraucanas.

    I have since read that the pores in the egg shell in eggs from low altitudes are small and just don't let enough oxygen into the chick. From chickens raised at higher elevation, somehow the eggs are laid with larger pores in the shell, which I think is just miraculous!! How can the chicken's body adapt to do that?? So anyway, my chicks are now 8 weeks old, so it will be a long time before I'll be hatching any eggs. And never again on shipped eggs. It was so frustrating and heartbreaking (not to mention expensive)!

    Hope you have better luck.
     
  5. soldonold

    soldonold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2012
    Burlington, Kansas
    I have no problem hatching chicks from my chicken's eggs. But almost zero hatch rate from the lower altitude ones. I wouldn't think your 1000+ meters would impact you as badly. Hopefully, you will get near the normal hatch of shipped eggs that are packed well and don't experience a bad trip, which could be around 50 percent.

    You are right about the puffing!! When we first moved here in 1986, I would run up the stairs to answer the phone, and have no breath left to say anything when I picked it up !! [​IMG] After a while, you do get used to it.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  6. ashem0

    ashem0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I candled my Marans last night (the posted ones) and all seem to have 'the eye and spider veins spreading strongly'. So-far-so good. Ironically I added some local eggs - they don't appear to be doing well at all. Time will tell I guess! Cheers!
     
  7. soldonold

    soldonold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2012
    Burlington, Kansas
    That sounds really encouraging!! Best of luck. You must have a bright candler to be able to see through Maran eggs!!
     
  8. ashem0

    ashem0 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Funny you should say that - because I couldn't see a thing through my led light, but a traditional globe gave pretty good illumination on the Marans.
     
  9. WVMHP

    WVMHP Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2013
    Hi everyone; I realize this is an older thread but hoping for guidance on the topic. I'm at 9,100ft in Colorado. Anyone else at this altitude ever tried hatching shipped eggs? I've really been wanting to try several rare breeds: Hedemora, Icelandics, and Euskal Oiloa, but have never seen any birds or eggs advertised locally. Chicks are very hard to find and expensive so, I decided to try ordering some hatching eggs online. This is the first year I've tried incubating eggs and thought I must be doing something terribly wrong. Several of my shipments of hatching eggs have ended with a zero hatch. Best I've done is about 10%. I do now have four Icelandics and two Swedish Flower Hen chicks...although with my luck so far, they're all six likely to be cockerels. ;-) MOST of the shipped eggs I've received have arrived with broken air cells. I'm guessing it's a combination of the rough handling combined with a significant drop in ambient air pressure. Does anyone know if the air cells are actually rupturing because of the pressure differential? I've learned to instruct the shippers to NOT use the air-pillow packing material because they expand to such an extent they will actually crush the contents of the box--or the box will arrive round and bursting at the seams like a Jack-in-the-box! Will an egg with a broken air cell ever hatch successfully? Many of them do develop, but I haven't had any of them pip. It's so sad!

    Also, I've read a lot of folks talking about putting the eggs into "lock-down." I took a class on incubating eggs and read my incubator operating manual but never saw any reference to lock-down. What does this mean exactly, and why do you do it? The incubator manual instructs the operator to remove the red plug in the lid for operations above 6000ft. Having a dime-sized hole in the lid seems to counter any visions I have of lock-down.
     
  10. soldonold

    soldonold Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 3, 2012
    Burlington, Kansas
    Wow! You are really high up! I live north of Colorado Springs at around 7300 ft. and I thought that was up there! Where are you?
    I can share my experience with shipped eggs with you. I did a lot of reading about it, and I think the air cells get ruptured when the post office puts them on an airplane in the unpressurized cargo area. I never throw them out because of the air cell. They can hatch out (if they make it that far). I just candle them and try to put the part of the air cell that dips the lowest facing up so the chick can pip into it. I think the main reason for failure is the structure of the egg shell. If it comes from low elevation, it doesn't need to be porous for the chick to get enough oxygen. But when those eggs come to our elevation, they aren't porous enough for the chick to get enough oxygen and it dies late in the incubation process.

    Last year, I hatched one chick out of probably forty shipped eggs at different times. It was terribly discouraging. This year, I did a little better. I hatched 9 chicks out of 27 eggs. I got an incubator that is way more stable and I used a mercury thermometer with a wet bulb to monitor humidity and I think that helped. Also, if the chick pipped and didn't make any progress after 12 hours or so, I carefully made the pip hole a little bigger so that it could breath and put it back in the incubator. And on the ones that were slow to pip, I actually used a big needle and put a "safety" hole into the top of the egg shell into the air cell for extra oxygen. Only a couple of the chicks made it out on their own, and I helped them quite a bit very slowly over time.

    As far as lockdown goes, that is just what folks on here call the last three days before hatch when you stop turning the eggs and raise the humidity. They call it lockdown because you aren't supposed to mess with them under normal circumstances.

    When I hatch eggs from my own chickens, I never have to help them out of the shell, but with shipped eggs and being at high altitude, it seems like it puts the chicks at a big disadvantage. They seem to be weaker but if you can get them hatched alive, they "normalize" in a day or so. At least mine did. But this time, all the chicks that went into lockdown alive actuallly survived (with me helping them out.)

    Good luck with your future hatches. I finally have all the different breeds I was interested in, so I won't be hatching any more shipped eggs in the forseeable future. It is really stressful!
     

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