HELP I need advice on hatching incubated chicks

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by koris, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. koris

    koris Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2014
    Colorado
    So I am new to incubating chicken eggs. Last spring I had a banny chicken do the job for me, but a month after she went missing. (we live in the country with lost of predators). That being said, I LOVE CHICKENS, I am know as the crazy chicken lady! I currently have 23 chickens, 2 being roosters. I bought an incubator and put 16 eggs in. I was worried about storing them so I had to put them in 3 days apart from 1st day to 3rd day. Day one was #'s 1-4, day two 5-9, day three 10-16. I have had temp fluctuation during incubation due to living in a single-wide and the only source of heat is our wood stove. The fluctuation haven't been to bad and nothing lower than 97 and higher than 104. For the most part the still air little giant incubator stays 100-102 degrees. I have only had 2 deaths amonst the 16 eggs, (both early deaths). Well, lock-down for day one is friday, day two is saturday and day three is sunday! I am trying to make a hatch box for them with a plastic cooler ( still working out the kinks). I am so worried about hatch day. If i can't get the hatch box to work should i just do a lock down saturday for the chicks and hope for the best???? I am afraid of them dying because of me!! I also think I am going to hatch with a lower humidity ( I live in a dry climate). The humidity now stays between 45-50 degrees. I think i will only raise it to 60-65.....
    ANY ADVICE WILL BE APPRECIATED! HAS ANYONE MADE THERE OWN COOLER HATCH BOX? SHOULD I JUST DO LOCK DOWN ALL THE SAME DAY? SHOULD I DO LOCK DOWN AND KEEP ROLLING THE LAST 2 SETS UNTIL THEIR LOCK DOWN?????? I AM SO STRESSED AND WORRIED!!!
     
  2. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'd concentrate on getting the humidity up instead of making a separate hatcher at this stage. Not enough time to test it adequately. As important as high humidity is, correct temperatures are even more so, if your hatcher jumps to 105 because you didn't test it long enough, that will kill chicks regardless of the humidity.

    For raising humidity, try sponges or paper towels in various places. Get a plastic spray bottle and if you must open the incubator to get the older chicks out before the younger ones are all the way out, fill that will really hot water and spritz the paper towels while you have it open. And minimize the open time of course.

    "Lockdown" is not absolute. I hatched a lot of chicks for years pulling them out several times a day and still got a lot of late hatches. Could I have done better? probably. But a quick open and close does not doom the rest of the chicks.
     
  3. koris

    koris Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2014
    Colorado
    So you think the humidity is to low right now? OR you mean raising it higher than 60-65% at the end? Do you think I would be okay doing lock-down on Saturday? It would be day 19 for set 1, day 18 for set 2, and 17 for set 3. All I know is I am going to work on the hatching box for the next set of eggs, that way I can put eggs in weekly to hatch. I have never reached 105 in the incubator, thankfully! I am going to try and keep the temp around 98-100 for hatch day. Do you think that will work?

    I have been searching the web for the last 2 weeks and there is just so much info out there about hatching this way, or hatching that way. I know I will expect some of the eggs to not hatch or possibly die after hatch. But being the first time and having 14 out of 16 still alive makes me feel hopeful!

    Thanks for your input!
     
  4. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you have a still air the temp of 98-100 is too low... Temp should not go below 100 and not higher than 102, my first hatch I kept it at 101-102 and hatched 20 of 23 eggs.... my second hatch...very bad, moved the incubator into our front room ( we heat only with a wood stove) and the temp fluxuated (sp) from between 98-102 ... I had only one hatch successfully. all the other eggs were fully formed and most had absorbed the yolk but there was to much fluid in the shell and I believe they all drowned, and at lockdown all 16 were alive ..... Keep that temp between 101-102 and keep humidity at 45-50 until lockdown then hit 60-65
     
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    1 person likes this.
  6. koris

    koris Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2014
    Colorado
    Okay. I am doing pretty good at keeping it between 100-102. Is that the same temp for hatching too? (it is a still air) I am just so nervous for lock down and hatch day! I am driving my husband crazy. I just know that 14 out of 16 are still alive and would hate it to be my fault they die during hatch....

    I think I am just going to go for it and keep the temp you said and 60 to 65% humidity. and do lock down on Saturday, which is day 19, 18 and 17 for the 3 sets of eggs.
    I am also NOT going to set eggs like this again. I will store for 3 or 4 days and than place them in the incubator..... and do weekly hatches.
    I think I am so nervous because it is my first hatch and I already love the little ones and they aren't even here!
    Also is it okay to cover the incubator at night with a towel to help hold the heat? That is when it fluxuates the most, because we aren't up keeping the wood stove going.
    STRESSED OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    60-65 humidity is for lockdown... Otherwise its 45-50 and yes, the temp is the same for hatching... Not sure about the towel unless you are there to make sure it doesn't go too high, that would be my only concern..
     
  8. koris

    koris Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 5, 2014
    Colorado
    Thank you so much! So do you think I can go ahead and just do the lock down on Saturday even though the eggs are 3 days apart. Really at this moment that is my biggest concern, getting all them to survive and hatch since they were set different days.
     
  9. koris

    koris Out Of The Brooder

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    1
    26
    Feb 5, 2014
    Colorado
    So do you think I can do the lock down on Saturday, even though the eggs are 3 days apart from one another? Really that is my main concern right now is getting set 2 and 3 of the eggs to make it to their own hatch day....

    I know I have made mistakes, but feel I am doing okay for my first incubation. I am just crossing my fingers XXXXX
     
  10. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oregon
    I was told to not do lock down until I had my first pip.... It didn't make any difference, my first pip was two days late (on the 23rd day) and its the only one that survived, two more hatched after that but died 24 hours after hatching... I really believe its because I didn't have my temp where it should have been during incubation, like you my incubator temps would drop at night but be stable throughout the day.

    I'm just not experienced enough about staggered hatches to tell you with confidence when to start lockdown.
     

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