Help troubleshooting incubation/hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by pickachick, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. pickachick

    pickachick Hatching

    Dec 31, 2012
    Upstate SC
    I'm not exactly a brand new member, but this is my first post. I've spent a while lurking through the forums and reading a lot of information here, and I'm hoping some of the more experienced members can help me with some trouble we've had with our new incubation/hatching setup.

    We recently acquired what I would consider to be a top notch setup, but so far I am really frustrated and disappointed in every outcome we've had. We purchased a used GQF Sportsman 1502 and a Dickey's hatcher for a near steal on Craigslist, and we thought we had it made. Gone were our days of styrofoam incubators and fretting about temperature and humidity. Right? Wrong.

    Our main problem thus far is prolonged hatching, which has led to weak chicks, chicks stuck in a partially zipped shell, and a lot of unhatched eggs. I cannot for the life of me troubleshoot this, and it's driving us nuts!

    Days 1-17 (for chicken eggs) are spent in the 1502, at the incubator's recommended temperature of 100*, at relative humidity stays between 45-55%. On day 18 , the eggs are transferred from the 1502 into the Dickey's hatcher for lockdown, at 99* and relative humidity of 65-70% or so. On day 21, some of the eggs start to pip, we always have a relatively small percentage of on-time hatches, and then time seems to drain on. Lots of the chicks spend the next 24 hours or so struggling to get free from the shells, and a disturbing amount of pipped shells just never see any further activity.

    Temperatures and humidity are pretty constant. (Isn't that supposed to be the appeal of cabinet incubators?) I've never seen the thermometer/hygrometers fluctuate to indicate a problem with humidity or temperature.

    Please, oh wise ones of BackYard Chickens, pick apart my process here and tell me what I'm doing wrong, for the love of Pete! What is causing my prolonged (and therefore disappointingly disastrous!) hatches??

    Thank you in advance for your time and knowledge!
  2. red golden

    red golden Chirping

    Nov 22, 2012
    roxboro nc
    What does your candling look like. Have you ever weighed your eggs. Have you checked your thermometer / hydrometer for accuracy.
  3. pickachick

    pickachick Hatching

    Dec 31, 2012
    Upstate SC
    Candling looks great, right on schedule all the way through day 18. I have not tried weighing the eggs, because it just seemed like such a daunting task. I will add that to my list of new things with my next setting, although the growth of the air cells seem to be on target. I have tried no fewer than six thermometer/hygrometers, and they all seem to be in line with each other, in addition to the 1502's on-board controls.
  4. Overoberyl

    Overoberyl Songster

    Aug 29, 2012
    I incubate everything at 20%. Prior to that, I was doing everything at 45-50% and had terrible hatch rates with many of the problems you are experiencing. I would bet money that your humidity is too high. Lockdown humidity I still increase to 60% but for the first 18 days I don't even add water unless gets much below 20%.
  5. chickydee64

    chickydee64 Songster

    Jan 8, 2013
    There are instructions for calibrating your hydrometer.
    Just use search.........I do not trust any other method. the previous person stated. My problems like that was to much humidity the first 18 days.
    I do 25/30.and do not freak if it drops to 20.
    Have had great hatches with healthy.not sticky chicks.
    I am using an LG not know about Sportsaman.........( except I would love one LOL)

    Good luck and hang in'll get it right
  6. 20736

    20736 Songster

    Jun 6, 2012
    Why not try something different?
    Change one step at a time. I would start with leaving them in the 1502 to hatch, I think it has a hatching level/tray.
    I am not a fan of moving eggs; don't change horses in midstream.
    Anyway, that's my thought.

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