HELP! Fist 5 chicks hatched and died within hours


In the Brooder
Sep 4, 2015
Gilpin County, Colorado
I have several more rocking and on the verge of hatching. What can be going wrong here?!?

Temp is at 95.5 with good humidity and I haven't opened the bator except to remove the dead ones. I misted the remaining eggs and shut the bator quick.

This is my first hatch and I must be missing something.
Are they shipped eggs or did you gather them yourself?

Did you candle at all during incubation? Are there possibly rotten ones still in the Bator?

Temp may need to be a bit higher, more at 99 or so...

Possible bacterial problem if there are infertle eggs rotten in there...

I had 16 hatch out of 30 shipped eggs, and lost one, and shipped eggs usually carry more risk and possible loss.

I sure do hope the rest make it ok, though... Has it been consistent hatch over the last 12 hours? They zip and hatch really fast when they're in a Bator, should all hatch within 24 hours.
Sorry for your losses :hugs Your temp is low - it should be at 99.5 if you're running a forced air incubator. That might be contributing. Are the chicks themselves looking okay once they hatch? No bleeding or anything? I might have suggested infected yolk sac but five out of five would be a little crazy for that to be the case.
Sorry....99.5 deg. I'm stressed here.

These are eggs from my own birds that I bought at 3 weeks old. So I collected them myself.

All look fine. No bleeding or deformities that I can tell. This is my first try here.

I have 3 more that came out since my first post. I'm watching them like a hawk.

The first 5 hatched when I was at work and dead when I came home. My wife saw them hatch and they were wobbling around when she went to bed.

Only thing I can think of is this: at lockdown I had to put a lot of water and a few sponges in to get up to proper humidity. Its really dry here. The water is just below the screen they hatch onto. Maybe they are drowning by dipping their beaks in and can't get them out? I put a small cloth in there and put all 3 new chicks on it in case thats it.

It's an IncuView if that matters. Pretty small mesh on the screen.
Since you were trying to boost humidity, you didn't cover the air holes, did you? That's another thing I could think of - perhaps they weren't getting enough oxygen? If you're worried it's something to do with the incubator that's causing the deaths, you can take them out right away once they hatch and put them in the brooder, as long as you have the temperature right under the heat bulb. I'd use paper towels as the substrate for them if you do this. Just make sure to get the humidity back up in the incubator after you open it.

Is it possible there was a temp spike in the incubator when you went to work that caused the deaths? That would be another option.
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I don't think they're 'dtowning' in the water, per se, but exactly what is the humidity? 80% should be plenty high, any higher than that and they could be getting too much, essentially 'drowning' them through moist air.

I would pull them out into a brooder as soon as they are dried off too... They will be fine as long as its warmed up and ready to go, and the humidity will cease to be an issue, since its only essential for hatch.
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Maybe it is too high humidity. The hygrometer is at the low end of "hatching period" meter, but maybe it's bad and the humidity is actually too high. All 5 of the dead chicks looked soaking wet after hours. Didn't think of that. Again, first timer here.

I moved the other 3 live chicks to the brooder at 100 deg. and they are already drying out after about 15 mins and chirping away.

Guess I need to get a secondary hygrometer. Dum***. I should have done that to begin with.
I always drop the temp down to about 97.5 to 98.5 on hatch day. But if they died within that short of time I would point to fluctuating temperature during incubation or bad genetics. Mortality is high for the first 4 days in my experience, but if they are up and running within 2 hours from hatching your chances of losing them in pretty low.

What was the hatch rate of the parents of these?
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I have no idea of the hatch rate of the parents. I bought the parents of these eggs when they were 3 weeks old. They grew fast, big, strong and laid tons of big eggs, so I figure they are good birds.

The only fluctuation in incubation temp that I know of is this:
The instructions for this incubator (IncuView) say to adjust the on/off setting of the heater if the room the bator is in is below a certain temp. I followed the instructions. After about 2 days I saw that the average temp was about 1 deg too high on average and went back to the factory setting that kept it right at 99.5.

And thanks for all the help you guys! I literally started from scratch right here on this forum. What an awesome place!
Start by checking both your thermometer and hygrometer for accuracy. Best to never rely on a single unit and especially not the ones included with small incubators. Until you verify your temp and humidty are accurate its hard to pin point any cause.

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