Help me Evaluate my Hatch Please - Advice Wanted!! {Warning: Graphic}

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by HidingInTheHenHouse, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    Here's a list of facts first:

    6 eggs started in a homemade forced air incubator.
    Temps kept at 99.3-99.7, humidity at 40-50% for first 18 days
    1 egg discarded for being clear at 10 days
    Remaining 5 developed normally, except one had a larger than normal air cell ( Egg 5)
    Day 19 - Humidity up to 60-70%, temps at 99.3-99.7
    Day 20 + 3 hours - Egg 1 - first pip, but at wrong end
    Day 20 + 10 hours to Day 21 + 2 hours - Eggs 2, 3, 4 pip, 2 & 3 at wrong end
    Day 21 + 12 hours - Egg 1 zips, tries to get out for over 3 hours, I help it out at that point by popping off the end he has been pushing at for so long
    Day 21 + 13-16 hours - Egg 4 (correctly pipped at large end), zips and hatches, no problems
    Day 22 + 2 hours - Egg 2 zips and hatches, no problems
    Day 22 + 6 hours - Egg 3 zips and hatches, no problems

    Day 22 + 10 hours - Egg 5 - still no pips, no movement, no peeps - Candled and broke into air cell, removed shell and examined dead chick.
    Head appeared to be at the air cell end. Yolk not absorbed at all. Blood vessels shrunken? Appears to be fully developed, but maybe Day 18, or 19 when died. Noticed odd lump on belly, right above left leg. Excised lump. Didn't look like any of the organs I am aware of (and I've butchered several chickens befor). Could feel hard lumps within it. It was about marble size and yellow. Opened it up. No smell of infection, but had a lot of yellowish material in it, kind of like feed that is not all digested yet.

    So, opinions everyone? Things I am wondering about:
    Why did 3 of 4 eggs pip at the small end?
    Was this hatch considered late? I see so many on here who have chicks hatch at day 19 or 20.
    Does anyone know what that thing was in the dead chick? Tumor; organ chicks not hatched have, but not adult chickens; infection pocket; something else?

    Thanks for everyone's feed back. I am aways looking to improve my hatches and learn new things from you guys on here.
  2. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Your temp is too low for forced air. Are you using a wiggler? How many thermometers
    do you have? Are you sure they are correct? Forced air of 100.5 degrees at egg level
    will usually give you a 99.5 egg temp. The temps though would not cause your problems.

    My next question, and most important, is where did the eggs come from? Are they
    shipped? Are they from pullets?

    Finally it sounds like the humidity was way too low on the final days. You obviously
    opened the bator which is the biggest NO NO. Many will say to leave them alone until
    day 24. Personally, I help out pips after 12 to 24 hours but I watch the humidity close.

    All in all it sounds like you had a reasonable hatch.
  3. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    I used a water wiggler to moniter temps, so the temps I listed were the water wiggler temps, not the air temp which ran higher.

    I only have one thermometer in the incubator. I am unsure if I could fit in to many more. I would like to try and figure out just how accurate my thermometer is, but I don't know how you go about doing that.

    Eggs were not shipped. They came from a friend who has a rooster, therefore fertile eggs. I don't know if they are pullet eggs or not. What determines that? Is there an age where hens are considered pullets, then suddenly not, or is it an egg size thing?

    What should the humidity be on the final days? Maybe my hydrometer is inaccurate.

    I had to open the incubator occasionally to add water and a new sponge, since the fan dried out the sponges faster than I thought it would. I am going to make some modifications so that I can add water without opening the bator before I do another hatch.

    However, the humidity always went back up very quickly. But I do think it was too low, because most of the chicks seemed a bit "dried" when they came out, though none got stuck except that first one.

    Thanks for your advice!
  4. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Again let me say that for your first hatch in a homemade bator you did great.

    The hatch times sound perfect. I thought you may have been talking about
    air temps but you have that covered too.

    I have a bunch of thermometers that cost me a lot and still read different temps.
    I just reference them against a good medical thermometer to know if they read
    high or low. Thermometers in general stink but it sounds like your was ok based
    on proper hatch times.

    I have found my young pullets lay eggs with thick membranes. It sounds like
    that may have been the problem with egg 1.

    Humidity at 70 is fine but every time you open the bator it takes time to build
    back up. I've destroyed hatches by opening my bators too often. I have 3
    Styrofoam forced airs and one Brinsea Octagon 40.

    The egg that was in the wrong end is something that just happens. I've started
    using the egg carton method and have had amazing results.

    The dead in shell chick could be a lot of things, including humidity. Who knows.

    Based on 6 eggs, 1 infertile, and 4 live chicks you have an 80% hatch rate. That is
    very good. You obviously did your homework.

    To get any more technical you need data from a few more hatches.
  5. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    I think your hum day 1-18 had something to do with it !!!! My very first hatch I kept the hum around what you did and didnt have very much luck !!!!!! After that I tryed dry (well almost dry) incubation and have had great hatches. Its not unlikely that chicks do fully form and not hatch so I cant tell you for sure what will fix the problem.

    Read this and give it a try next time
  6. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    The usual cause (from my experience) for an egg to pip on the wrong end is too high humidity. I do about 30% for days 1-18 and I keep it in the high 50's% on days 19-21 and the chicks naturally bring it up to the high 60's low 70's % when they hatch. Since I started doing this I had twice as many chicks hatch. I also do the dry incubation.
  7. HidingInTheHenHouse

    HidingInTheHenHouse Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    This isn't my first hatch, just the first one since I started learning more about them on here. I've done 2 other hatches in the same incubator, still-air though. The first one, had 13 eggs in, 7 left by the end, 6 hatched. The second one, I had 12 eggs in, 6 left by the end, 5 hatched. It seems like there is always one chick that is fully formed, but doesn't pip or hatch. These were all shipped eggs.

    I think I will try the no additional water for the first 18 days method, and then increase to 70 or greater for the last days.

    I don't know if the membranes were too thick or not. I don't have a good reference point. The hen is young, about 35 weeks, I think?

    By good medical thermometer, do you mean a mercury one? Do you stick it in the wiggler to see if your other one agrees, or how far off it is?

    I would like to be about to turn them without opening the incubator, and use the egg carton method, but by incubator is just so small, I will have to consider how to accomplish that.

    I also have a gap between the edge of the hardware cloth and the wall, and the chicks always fall into it, so I have to remove them immediately. I already have a plan to fix the gap so the chicks can stay in a and help increase the humidity for all the others.

    Thanks for all the great advice. I see lots of things I can improve.
  8. tazcat70

    tazcat70 I must be crazy!

    A quick and easy way to fix the gap is you can use shelf liner (the bumpy kind) and put that on top of the wire. As long as the gap is not huge, this should work.

    I always seem to have one die in the shell at the end too.

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