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How Important is Turning After the First Week?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by The Monkey Mama, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Songster

    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    I have a "situation" - I have a Hovabator Still Air that I've been using as my incubator and a Little Giant Still Air that I've been using as my hatcher. BUT, the LG has been so horrible - not able to stabilize the temp - that it has ruined my last 3 hatches. [it will go from 107 or 110 down to 96 if I *breathe* on it - I can't keep it regulated any better than it bouncing from 98 to 102 and back again]

    I have a staggered hatch right now in my Hovabator and I have 12 Black Australorps pipping today - they are singing and sound like they are doing great. I have left them in the Hovabator because I was afraid the LG would kill them if I moved them for hatching.

    I want to leave the Hovabator closed for the next 24-36 hours to try to preserve the humidity and get a good hatch, but I have two other batches of eggs in there - some OEG bantams at 14 days incubation and some other mixed eggs that are at 10 days incubation.

    I've been turning these 3 x a day by hand, but I'm wondering - would it kill them if I didn't turn them for the next 24-36 hours while I'm waiting for the Black Australorps to hatch? How big of a deal is that? I don't want to kill them and I also don't want to mess up my BA hatch.... [with the Little Giant I've had a lot of fully formed, healthy chicks die in their shells and never make it out].

    What do you guys think? What would you do?

  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    From what I understand, it's to keep them from 'sticking' to one side of the egg while developing. I'm going to experiment with some mutt eggs this year to answer that very question... lol. I hand turn also, and have heard said that the first 7-10 days are most crucial and after that may not be, so we shall see. I wouldn;t think a day or two would matter any. I have forgotten to turn my eggs before and I don;t think it mattered any.
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I know you said you hate your LG, but temp fluctuations of 98-102 is normal in still air. I had this with several hatches and they all did fine. I have had worse luck since adding a fan to mine.

    That being said, I don't think it will hurt them to not turn, but you could turn them once a day instead of 3 X' during the hatch. As long as the eggs are not externally pipped they shouldn't dry out. I would wonder if it would hurt them more to start turning them again after not turning for 3 days.
  4. turtle1173

    turtle1173 Songster

    Apr 26, 2008
    SE Missouri
    I can only speak for my own little experiment. My last hatch of Welsummer eggs, a week into it or so, I decided to put a couple of my mutt eggs in to see if they would develop.

    I did this understanding that the Welsummer's were priority #1 and I would not do anything to mess up their chances. So, for the Welsummer hatch (which only resulted in 2), I didn't turn the mutt eggs. Both of these mutt eggs hatched with no problems.

    Note however, this is way too small of a "sample size" to draw much off of. Plus, the mutt eggs would have been over 10 days in the bator (being turned) before the Welsummer hatch. So, it may be relevant but it may not be. However, it turned out OK for that time.

  5. CindyS

    CindyS Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    Geneseo, Illinois
    I have read that turning after 14 days is optional. I think that the bacteria from the other chicks hatching would be more of a problem for the later eggs. I guess you have to decide which is more important for a good hatch the astrolorps or the oegb and mutts. you could always put those eggs in the lg for a few days.
  6. millebantam

    millebantam Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Little Rhody
    If you add a couple of soda or other plastic bottles full of water in there, the extra thermal mass should increase the temp stability by a mile. Even a clean brick or two will work well if you have the room for it. Also, if your bator is a wafer type and the bator is over a year old, a new wafer will close the temperature fluctuations to more manageable numbers. It just seems that the still air types are designed to work better when full of eggs, or other heat holding items. I use an LG as a hatcher with great results. Just a suggestion.
  7. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Not turning after 10 days WILL reduce your hatch rate, but some will still hatch.
  8. turtle1173

    turtle1173 Songster

    Apr 26, 2008
    SE Missouri
    Millebantam, you make a really good point about the heat holding items (esp. the brick idea).

    I do believe that is more crucial with the still air. Heat escapes air rapidly but if you contain heat IN something else, it will hold most of its heat even when the air cools down somewhat. This helps to heat the air back up when you close the bator and keeps the temp fluctuation at a minimum.

    All I do in mine is take a quart sized freezer bag. Fill it half with warm water, squeeze as much air out as I can, and seal it. I keep that in my old hova bator. Before I got my egg turner and was turning 3x a day, my temp drop was maybe 1-2 degrees but returned to normal very quickly.

    Anyway, that may be just what you need to help your LG.

  9. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I think you need a few more incubators.
  10. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Songster

    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    Thanks for the advice, especially the part about putting something in there to help hold the heat and keep it steady. I'm going to start doing that with all my hatches.

    I came up with a solution that I think has worked pretty good to the turn vs don't turn delimma. [I decided not to risk not turning the OEG bantam eggs, because those are the most important and expensive eggs I have in there and I *really* want a good hatch from those].

    I took a small shallow bowl, filled it with scalding hot water, put a wash cloth in it, and set it in the incubator after I opened it to turn the eggs. It steamed a little bit and bumped the humidity right back up and also seemed to help boost the temp back up more quickly.

    It seems to have worked because 5 of 9 eggs hatched over night and 3 of the ones left are pipping and trying to hatch now.

    Thanks for the advice!


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