Help!!! They're not able to pip!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rookiehen, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. rookiehen

    rookiehen Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2013
    We had half a dozen bantam eggs in the incubator. 3 hatched and 1 survived. Then we had 7 that were due to hatch 4 days ago. Again, 3 hatched and 1 survived. This time I decided to investigate. What I found was that the little guys had pipped through their membranes, but they couldn't pip through the shells. Each and every one! I have 72 eggs in my incubator due to hatch tomorrow. Some of them are my own and some I ordered. I don't wanna lose them for the same reason, but I don't wanna help too early! I have also noticed that the shells of our "eating eggs" are extremely hard to crack, as were the ones I dissected today.

    What am I doing wrong??? I feed them Laying pellets, corn chop, and laying crumbles mixed together in equal parts twice a day. they also get raw fruits and veggies here and there as a treat. I used to give them oyster shell, but I haven't in a while. They sort of free range too. Continuous fresh water. Are they getting fed too much? Too much Calcium?

    How can I help these that are hatching? Better yet, when do I? I'm tired of dead chicks! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    Too much calcium is not a bad thing for the hens, though I suppose that it could certainly be your problem. During collection of eggs/breeding season, you could feed your hens another type of feed that is lower in calcium (grower feed, game bird feed, etc.). However, a shortage of calcium is bad for laying hens, so that isn't exactly a great idea.

    It could be that the chicks just aren't strong enough to survive. Weak chicks can be caused by, among other things: inbred lines, poor nutrition in the breeding flock, improper incubation conditions, or bacteria in the egg. Your flock sounds as if it is getting enough good-quality feed, and I doubt that poor nutrition is the problem. You could try feeding them a game bird feed, which has higher protein, and seeing if that makes a difference.

    As for being inbred, where did you get your chickens, and how long have you been breeding them? Have you ever crossed father to daughter, mother to son, etc.? If not, then I don't think think that being inbred is your flock's problem.

    In regards to the incubator conditions, what are they? Is the incubator that your are using still-air (no mechanical ventilation) or forced-air (has a fan to circulate air inside the incubator)? In a forced-air incubator, the temperature should be kept at a constant 99.5 degrees F. In a still-air incubator, the temperature should be kept at 100-102 degrees F. The humidity in both types of incubators during the first 18 days of incubation should be 45-50%. During the last three days (lockdown) of incubation, the humidity should be 60-70%. Eggs should be turned at least three times a day.

    Bacteria in the eggs could cause weak chicks, too. How dirty are the eggs that you set? And how (if you do) do you disinfect the incubator between hatches? Washing eggs is not recommended, as that removes the protective coating of an egg, the bloom, causing bacterial contamination. Incubators should be disinfected with a mild solution of bleach or another disinfectant after each hatch.

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