How long can hatched chick stay in incubator?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by SpringtownEggLady, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. SpringtownEggLady

    SpringtownEggLady In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2011
    Springtown, Texas
    I always struggle with this one thing - I put my eggs in the incubator at the same time, and of course they begin hatching pretty close to the 21st day (sometimes slightly early, sometimes right on time and others who straggle a bit behind). I've been told not to open the incubator until all the eggs hatch. How long can you leave a hatched chick in the incubator waiting on the others? Should I open it long enough to snatch the hatched chicks out at some point?[​IMG]
    BamburghFarms likes this.
  2. You can snatch them out I always throw a wet hot paper towel in there as I am snatching so I don't kill the humidity. But a chick can go 3 days without food or water because of the yolk they absorb. As for the hatching on different days they were layed on different days so they will hatch on different days [​IMG] good luck [​IMG]

    ETA spelling
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2011
    Shannonw1228 likes this.
  3. Faerytalefarm

    Faerytalefarm Songster

    Sep 23, 2011
    I pulled my 20 chicks out as soon as they dried. I have three more in there drying and 7 left to hatch. No one else had pipped yet though!
    Fr3shfarmer likes this.
  4. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    Central PA
    I will leave mine in until they are dry and a little more stable. I have heard about people who keep the incubator at a certain humidity and don't open it for ANYTHING during lockdown. I'm not that careful with mine. It stays around 65-70% humidity, but if I feel like I need to open it, I do. One time I saw a chick pipping and opened the incubator to video tape the hatching (so cool!), and that chick and all the other hatched out just fine. I also keep a wet paper towel in the incubator to help with humidity. I sometimes think we don't give eggs & chicks enough credit. I think they can handle a lot more than we remember sometimes. Like the spike in temperature that my incubator had with my last hatch... it was up to 114!!! All the eggs that had started developing were fine. Thank goodness! I know it's better to err on the side of caution, though, so I try to be somewhat careful but I don't stress over it. Best of luck!
    Coffeebean1947 and keithskis like this.
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Everyone does it different. I open my hatchers and grab the hatched chicks and their shells out quickly as soon as they hatch. I don't leave the chicks in the hatchers to dry out. I have brooder boxes I let them dry out in. My hatchers don't loose much humidity and the temp stay pretty good too and they recovers quite quickly. My brooder boxes are set to 99 degrees. After the chicks have dried out in the brooder boxes they go into a brooder cabinet. It works for me.
  6. SpringtownEggLady

    SpringtownEggLady In the Brooder

    Apr 17, 2011
    Springtown, Texas
    thanks everybody for your help:) I have moved four to a brooder and am watching two more hatching now:ya
    I have six more eggs in the incubator with no signs of hatching yet - wish me luck:fl
    kellers58 likes this.
  7. happyhens120

    happyhens120 Songster

    Aug 8, 2011
    Central PA
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Songster

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    As you can see from the varying answers, there are quite a few different ways to do it. If you find what works for you, stick with it! Some people's incubators are forgiving enough that they can open them up to remove new chicks while other ones are still pipping and hatching. Some people have tried it and found that it tends to cause their chicks to shrink-wrap.

    Personally, I like to try to stick to the guidelines. Once my first chick has hatched, I'll leave it in the bator for what I consider a reasonable amount of time so as to give the others a good chance of hatching out in optimum conditions. After 36 hours I'll have a look in and see how everybody's getting on. If the bator's getting crowded and the still-to-hatch eggs are mostly unpipped, I'll sneak in and remove the boisterous fluffies. If I do that, I'll leave newly hatched ones and weaker looking ones to dry off and get their strength up free of being trampled all over by the stronger ones. I've never had a problem with chicks becoming shink-wrapped after I've opened the bator, so I'm happy doing it. Even so, after 36 hours, if I have a lot of chicks still pipping and zipping, I'll leave the bator shut for another 12 hours or so. I've never had a problem yet, but that doesn't mean it won't ever happen to me.

    You can leave chicks for 72 hours without food and water, so if you do have shink-wrapping problems, leave the bator shut as long as possible...
    Badphish likes this.
  9. Strader

    Strader Songster

    Apr 7, 2011
    Great answers Gypsy07. My experience is very similar to yours. Very good answers and info. I have not had shrink wrap issues with my cabinet when opening to take a few 24 hour old chicks out to make room., but like you say go off from your own experience and what works in you particular incubator, some are forgiving and some not.[​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  10. chickeez

    chickeez In the Brooder

    Jul 23, 2014
    Hi, I had a question or two regarding the chicks. After they have dried out in brooder box at 99 degrees, how long do you have to keep them in a place with warmth...and how warm does it have to be ...are you suppose to have lights on 24-7 in these incubators

    My situation is a little unique, but so far chick is looking good. I found her almost dead on floor in coop, cracked all over and could just see her. (my hens are having chicks right now and doing quite well, so was not planning on being a part of what happened next, so was a little unprepared) However, I brought her inside, made a makeshift incubator with temps. fluctuation between 85 and 100...humidity, who knows, but I misted a lot with warm water and kept wet paper towel balls all over, I was constantly opening to monitor and spritz...I helped her out of the membrane around the beak as it had dried out a lot. then put her in a cup, so she could finish absorbing her egg yolk..up to this point she was barely making a sound, the odd very weak peep. but she came around..pushed her self out of the cup, for the most part, ..but then convulsed and shook for half an hour while I panicked and looked up info. on net...finally I just picked her up and put her to my chest and held her carfully, trailing yolk sac and all..she stopped shaking and fell asleep, put her back in incubator with fluctuating temps....and well, she got better and stronger and is now a little yellow fluff ball, walking on her own etc. she is in her incubator with temps between 80 and 95, doing and out of heat lamp spot light. we take her out to run around about every 2 hours, she loves it and is already pecking at food. She is 2 days old. It is quite amazing..and now I can sleep! thought I would share, answers or insight to above questions would be so appreciated, thanks :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: