Help with first hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by BlakeMama, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. BlakeMama

    BlakeMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 5, 2014
    Sorry, I think I originally posted this in the wrong place, so I'll try again.
    Hello all! We are new to chickens in general and have 5 hens that we bought as chicks spring '14 (Barred Rocks and New Hampshires) along with 2 roosters. We have been getting about 4 eggs a day, which is great. Our chickens have a coop with a run, but we usually leave the run open and let them free range because they just seem to like it so much. About 2 weeks ago, one of the hens disappeared, and we assumed a coyote got her. About a week ago, we found her- she has been setting a nest that is very well hidden in a very weird spot! We were encouraged to put the eggs in an incubator because it was getting so cold in our area, so we got one. Here are my questions:
    1. Is there a good way to tell how far along an egg is? When we first found the nest, there were about 15. By the time we put them in the incubator, there were 26 and it seems the other chickens have been laying their eggs there too! I have no idea what will hatch when!
    2. Most of the eggs are very dark brown and I have had difficulty candling them. I can see the line where 3/4 of the egg is dark and 1/4 is transparent, but that's about it. What should I be looking for? Is there a trick for seeing in very dark eggs?
    3. At least some of the eggs are at least 2 weeks old, if not older. Should I be able to see something moving, hear something, anything? I'm afraid it got too cold before we found them. Any information is appreciated! We have no idea what we're doing! Thank you in advance!
    Blake
     
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    The above link is the learning centre in the hatching and raising chicks section there are candling pics of the progression of eggs through incubation. You should be able to compare your eggs too them.
    With other hens adding more eggs the eggs will be at different stages this is called staggered hatching and can present problems as in some eggs will need to be turned but the ones that have reached day18 will not need to be turned so the chick can get into the correct position for hatching.
    Also when the eggs get to day 18 they require higher humidity to have a better chance hatching.
    It's a catch 22 situation because the eggs that are not near day 18 require lower humidity to enable the air sac to grow large enough for them to be able to pip into. Too high humidity can cause them to drown on pipping.
    The fuller the egg and larger the air sac the nearer day 18 you are. When the chick has internally pipped ( broken through the inner membrane into the airsac) you may be able to hear peeping coming from the egg as the chick learns to breathe air for the first time. When the oxygen becomes too low the chick will make pip in the shell it may then rest for upto 24 hours before zipping the shell and pushing its way out.
    Hatching eggs 101 is a great article on hatching eggs.
    Wishing you the very best of luck :frow
     
  3. BlakeMama

    BlakeMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 5, 2014
    Thank you so much for the information! I currently have the eggs on an automatic turner; is it worse to turn older eggs or to not turn younger eggs?? Oh, dear!
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Here is my reply to your other post (you might want to have an administrator lock the duplicate)

    I would take them out of the egg turner. There is a chance of a hatched chick getting caught in the turner and getting injured. Then there is the matter of "lock down". Now, some will say DON'T OPEN THE INCUBATOR EVER during lockdown (after Day 18 of incubation, generally to raise temps and humidity in the incubator to keep membranes moist during hatching). It seems to me that you don't have much of a choice. If you can tell which eggs are the least developed and mark them, I think I'd do that and keep turning those until the furthest-along eggs start to pip. That's when I'd leave the incubator closed until those have hatched. If I remember right, I think the further along the eggs are the less crucial turning is. It will be interesting to see how many of them hatch for you. [​IMG]

    E
     
  5. BlakeMama

    BlakeMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 5, 2014
    Ok, we took out the turner, marked the eggs (N for now, L for later [​IMG] ) and put them back in the bator. I am guessing that the oldest eggs are between17and 20 days, no pipping yet. The egg shells are so dark, but I am reasonably confident they are all viable. Eeeek, I'm so impatient and such a worrier! My poor human child really has it rough. [​IMG] Thank you for all your help!
     
  6. BlakeMama

    BlakeMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 5, 2014
    EEEEEK!!! One of the eggs moved!!! It started rocking and a-rolling all on it's own which is probably not in any way surprising to y'all, but it started a huge two person happy dance at our house![​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations :celebrate

    Hope you have a great hatch, getting closer if you can see movement they will be moving into position for hatch. If you listen carefully you may hear peeping coming from the egg.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  8. goodb

    goodb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Day 19+ [​IMG]
     
  9. BlakeMama

    BlakeMama Out Of The Brooder

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    We have our first chick! Another egg has pipped, and several others are rolling like crazy! The little guy seems pretty wiped out, but that's to be expected, right? He finally emerged about 5 hours ago and is still pretty far from being dry. I've read that he should stay in the bator for up to 48 hours till he's dry; is that correct? We are so excited! 7 year old named him. ... Eggbert.:D[​IMG]
     
  10. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    Congratulations :woot

    They are fine to stay in the incubator. I don't remove any untill hatch is complete or the bator looks full after 24 hours or so. It will it encourage the others as they chirp at each other. Sometimes it can take a while for them to dry out but I'm sure it will. Good luck with the rest.
     

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