Hi- I have chicks dead in shells- what happened??

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by phantomml, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. phantomml

    phantomml Out Of The Brooder

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    My chicken eggs were doing great till the end of incubation, I candled and found about 10% with nothing, and the others dark at day 15, and then on day 20- 5 hatched. Another two were still alive with pipping but died trying to hatch, another made it out and died shortly after but its wing and beak were deformed, so I assume nature took that one, and on day 23, I cracked one open and there was a baby chick fully developed but dead, I am afraid the other 2 dozen eggs will be the same way. the heat fluctuates between 99-101, and I have humidity set at about 60%. Yesterday there was a really bad heat wave and the humidity dropped to about 30% and I added water asap that was brought up to 100 degrees. What should I do? I have an old teakwood sears and Roubuck incubator with no auto turners, and turn them 3-4 times a day. I constanly check temp and humidity, it has ventilation fan above the water trays and that is were the heating element is too. When I use my little styrophoam one, it usually hatches better percentages, if I have 20 in there about 60% hatch, this one does not have a good percentage yet- but maybe I am doing something wrong??
     
  2. Lil'ChickFarm

    Lil'ChickFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2011
    I just lost all my Silkies at the end from a humidity drop. They were all shrink wrapped. :*(
     
  3. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glasgow, Scotland
    If your humidity is set at 60% all the way through incubation, then I'd guess maybe that was your problem. 60% is kind of high unless you've actually got a specific reason for needing it to be so high (e.g. like trial and error having shown you that high humidity works best for you). But that's just a guess and it's hard to tell from the information you've given. I mean, it's hard to tell from the information that ANYONE gives, unless there's a glaringly obvious problem. With them hatching on day 20 your temps might have been slightly high, but that's probably not what caused your poor hatch. You say your temps fluctuated between 99 and 101, so you should probably adjust your thermostat so tit fluctuates between 98 and 100 instead. 101F is the recommended temp for a still air bator but for a fan assisted one it's 99.5F.

    Is your styro bator a still air one? If so, the problem might just be that in moving from a still air to a fan assisted bator you need to learn all over again what works best. Still air bators need less water to maintain a high humidity, cause there's no fan blowing the air about and evaporating the water. And how about the chicks that hatched, were they big and soggy or were they quite dry and having trouble getting out of their shells? Was there a lot of excess moisture in the eggs you cracked open, or none at all? Thinking about that would help you decide whether the humidity was a problem, and whether it was too high or too low.

    Hope some of that might help you decide what could have gone wrong...
     
  4. phantomml

    phantomml Out Of The Brooder

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    May 4, 2011
    New Waterford
    they werent dry and stuck, but they were't wet either, the other styrophoam has a fan too, but the auto turners, so I thought maybe they didn't develop right or something without the turners. I think I may try a different incubator and leave this one as a hatcher, that way the humidity can be constant!! thanks for the help!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  5. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm. Sounds like your humidity was about right then. I wonder if the problem could maybe have been due to bacterial contamination from being turned by hand a few times each day? A while ago I did a staggered hatch, and I had eggs at three different stages all in the same bator. I had to turn off my auto-turner when the first eggs were in 'lockdown' and the ones that weren't as far along had to be hand turned. I had a great hatch rate for the first batch but the second and third batches didn't do nearly as well. The things that were different were the fluctuations in humidity, the hand turning, and that the incubator was full of shell debris and chick fluff for the second and third lot of eggs.

    I had a lot of fully developed chicks that just didn't hatch or even pip internally. When I cracked them open they didn't seem soggy, so I thought it must have been the unclean conditions in the incubator that were to blame. Obviously I don't know if that's right, but it seemed the most logical explanation. Maybe you could try giving your bator a really good scrub out with bleach before your next incubation, then make sure you wash your hands before you turn the eggs.

    Or maybe the difference is that an auto turner turns eggs every hour, and you were only turning a few times a day. Maybe you need to turn them more!

    Or like you say, just use it as a hatcher.
     

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