How long do I leave hatched eggs in the incubator?????

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jamarti7, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. jamarti7

    jamarti7 Hatching

    Jan 28, 2016
    I'm guessing this has been asked and answered before, but I just wanted to get a concise answer for my exact question. I recall reading before at some point to leave the incubator sealed until day 23. that is a full and relatively exact 48 period after the 21st day. Tonight will be a full 21 days. (That is, if we went until day 23, we have approx. 60 hours to go before opening) However, one hatched out completely in the night last night (day 20), one hatched a few hours ago (they're just hanging out in the incubator now...), and, that I can see, 9 others are working their way out. My biggest concern is for the one that hatched in the night. How long can he actually hang out in there before needing food? I'm very hesitant to open the incubator at all. I opened it a few times last time for various reasons (including pulling the early hatchers out to put in the brooder) and I feel as though that may be the reason that 3 didn't make it. Those three were late hatchers and most of the eggs that didn't hatch had fully developed chicks in them, so I really don't know what to attribute it to except opening the incubator too much in the final days (day 21+).
    Please let me know how long I can keep the little guy in there before moving him to the brooder and without risking his health and vitality.
    Thanks for your time and help!
  2. CascadiaRiver

    CascadiaRiver Songster

    Dec 12, 2014
    Pacific Northwest
    I've never left one in the incubator long because I like to dry them off and put them somewhere more safe, but I've heard no longer than 18-24 hours.
  3. kuchchicks

    kuchchicks Songster

    Apr 8, 2015
    The yolk sac will give chicks about 3 days before they need food and water. With that said if your humidity is high enough then quickly opening your bator to remove chicks will not cause death to unhatched chicks. I keep my humidity at 75% during lock down. AND I remove chicks shortly after hatching. I do not like the hatched chicks rolling unhatched eggs around. I have had a few that were zipping, got rolled, and then never finished hatching. I cannot say for sure that them getting rolled is what caused them not to hatch, but I feel like eggs that stay in their original position seem to hatch the best. Now I am not saying to completely remove your lid, and leave it off for a few minutes to remove chicks... but I do crack my bator, quickly reach in and remove chicks. My humidity does drop a bit when I open the bator up, but recovers in less than a minute because I keep it high. It really comes down to what you are comfortable with. But you do have about 3 days before chicks really start to need food and water. Good luck.
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    I completely agree with kuchchicks. When to remove your chicks is a purely personal decision. Some people leave them in until the complete hatch is finished, some wait until they are completely dry and others move shortly after hatching.

    The first consideration you should look at is your humidity. If you have your humidity up and your incubator recovers humidity quickly after closing, you should have no worries.

    Personally as soon as my hatcher becomes active and starts moving around, I pull them and put them under the brooder light. That way they have access to food and water as soon as they want it. Yes, in theory, the yolk will sustain a chick for three days, but realistically we don't even know when the chick absorbed the yolk (supposedly day 19 is when they start to absorb it, not an hour before hatching,) and chicks absorb their yolk at different points. On top of that often chicks can be or become dehydrated during hatch. Often my chicks are drinking withn hours of being put in the brooder. Eating varies. Some will start eating w/in the first 24 hours, others take longer before they are really interested. But this way, they hae it available for when they are ready. I also find, because I use a much higher hatching humidity like kuchchicks, that my chicks tend to dry and fluff better under the brooder light than in the bator.

    If you have good humidity and you are comfortable taking your chicks out before the end of hatch, there is no reason not to.

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