How to avoid late quitters?

SlipsWife

Songster
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
808
92
138
Odessa, Texas
I know something went wrong, I'm just not sure what.

It was my first hatch with a FI 4200, fan and turner. Dry hatch, humidity at 30-40% without water, added a wet sponge at lockdown, removed turner, placed eggs in egg cartons with bottoms cut out, kept humidity around 70% after day 18. Temps were pretty steady at 99.5-100.5 with 2 different thermometers that I trust, the built in one was off but the humidity measurements were on spot with another one.

Shipped eggs and home collected. Eggs were all less than a week old, with home eggs only being a day or two. There were a few early quitters, around days 10-14. Two really early, one home, one shipped.

Two chicks, from shipped eggs, had absorbed their yolks, the rest of the eggs seemed to have quit right before that point. They didn't appear to be shrink wrapped.

Any ideas or suggestions on what we might need to do to avoid this? We have more eggs coming, probably today. They will set and rest and then we will be setting them. I'm going to clean the incubator and let it rest and air out.

I feel like we did everything 'by the book' and I don't understand what could have gone wrong. I added home eggs with the shipped eggs to use as controls since I've heard shipped eggs can have a lower hatch rate but obviously what ever went wrong effected both.
 

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
52
113
Bolivar, Ohio
I know something went wrong, I'm just not sure what.

It was my first hatch with a FI 4200, fan and turner. Dry hatch, humidity at 30-40% without water, added a wet sponge at lockdown, removed turner, placed eggs in egg cartons with bottoms cut out, kept humidity around 70% after day 18. Temps were pretty steady at 99.5-100.5 with 2 different thermometers that I trust, the built in one was off but the humidity measurements were on spot with another one.

Shipped eggs and home collected. Eggs were all less than a week old, with home eggs only being a day or two. There were a few early quitters, around days 10-14. Two really early, one home, one shipped.

Two chicks, from shipped eggs, had absorbed their yolks, the rest of the eggs seemed to have quit right before that point. They didn't appear to be shrink wrapped.

Any ideas or suggestions on what we might need to do to avoid this? We have more eggs coming, probably today. They will set and rest and then we will be setting them. I'm going to clean the incubator and let it rest and air out.

I feel like we did everything 'by the book' and I don't understand what could have gone wrong. I added home eggs with the shipped eggs to use as controls since I've heard shipped eggs can have a lower hatch rate but obviously what ever went wrong effected both.
My first hatch ever was last Tuesday. I had 3 hatch, 3 infertile, 2 very early quitters, and 18 just as you described. I was using the same incubator without the turner or fan. I have read everything I could get my hands on to prevent this from happening again. My conditions were almost exactly as you said yours were as far as humidity etc. I think the humidity needed to be lower during the first 18 days to prevent chicks from growing too large to turn in the egg. I am even newer at this than you, so this is an opinion formed from research, not experience.
 

SlipsWife

Songster
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
808
92
138
Odessa, Texas
My first hatch ever was last Tuesday. I had 3 hatch, 3 infertile, 2 very early quitters, and 18 just as you described. I was using the same incubator without the turner or fan. I have read everything I could get my hands on to prevent this from happening again. My conditions were almost exactly as you said yours were as far as humidity etc. I think the humidity needed to be lower during the first 18 days to prevent chicks from growing too large to turn in the egg. I am even newer at this than you, so this is an opinion formed from research, not experience.
Thank you. A couple of the chicks did seem large and I thought that might have been part of the issue but the rest weren't, so I'm pretty sure there's something I'm missing. I might try 2 totally new thermometers this time. The hydrometer that came with the unit that everyone said you can't go by read the same as the hydrometer that I added after I removed the turner. I didn't have it in while I had the turner in because I was dry incubating. The thermometer on it showed a degree or so cooler than the thermometer I'd been going off of and that I trusted because I had another thermometer in at the same time. If any of that makes sense... The turner seemed to be producing more heat. Maybe it was to cool? I thought that would just have delayed hatch though.

I hate not knowing...
 

Farmer Viola

Songster
6 Years
May 23, 2013
2,201
239
211
Earth
I'm sorry, I don't know exactly what went wrong...
I can try to think of some ideas though
here is one site I like to use for troubleshooting: http://msucares.com/poultry/reproductions/trouble.html

I have two farm innovators 4200s and the temperature is off by about 10 degrees on both of them. I believe that it reads at the top of the incubator, while you need it to give you a reading from egg level. the humidity is 5-10% off on either of them, but again I don't trust that thing at all. remember to take the temperature from the top of the eggs, not below or above them.

the first thing I would do is calibrate your thermometer(s) and hygrometer(s). I have 4 thermometers and 2 hygrometers, aside from the built in ones. I run my incubator for a few days using all the devices, making sure they agree. then I go down to just 1 therm/hygrom combo device.

some people use a water wiggler with a probe type thermometer inside. the water wiggler simulates the water in the egg, and it can be laid on top of the auto turner at the same height as an egg.

here are some links on calibration
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/434741/calibrating-thermometer-and-hygrometer
http://www.instructables.com/id/How...-/step4/Calibrate-your-thermometerhygrometer/
 

SlipsWife

Songster
6 Years
Mar 10, 2013
808
92
138
Odessa, Texas
I'm sorry, I don't know exactly what went wrong...
I can try to think of some ideas though
here is one site I like to use for troubleshooting: http://msucares.com/poultry/reproductions/trouble.html

I have two farm innovators 4200s and the temperature is off by about 10 degrees on both of them. I believe that it reads at the top of the incubator, while you need it to give you a reading from egg level. the humidity is 5-10% off on either of them, but again I don't trust that thing at all. remember to take the temperature from the top of the eggs, not below or above them.


the first thing I would do is calibrate your thermometer(s) and hygrometer(s). I have 4 thermometers and 2 hygrometers, aside from the built in ones. I run my incubator for a few days using all the devices, making sure they agree. then I go down to just 1 therm/hygrom combo device.

some people use a water wiggler with a probe type thermometer inside. the water wiggler simulates the water in the egg, and it can be laid on top of the auto turner at the same height as an egg.

here are some links on calibration
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/434741/calibrating-thermometer-and-hygrometer
http://www.instructables.com/id/How...-/step4/Calibrate-your-thermometerhygrometer/
Thank you, I will check out all of the links!

I know the thermometer is off on the unit but I can't remember by how much, I pretty much ignored it and just went off of the 2 digitals I had in the unit. I laid them on the egg turner during the first 18 days. Then, I used only one, laid on the wire, during the last few days. I added a hygrometer/thermometer combo when I removed the egg turner, onto the wire. It showed the same humidity as the one built into the unit but the temp was different, a couple of degrees lower, than the thermometer I'd been using during the entire hatch so I didn't trust it. I bought a probe thermometer and tried to make a homemade water wiggler in the beginning but it didn't work the way I wanted it to so I didn't use it. Now I'm wishing I would have tried it again at lockdown. I think maybe my temps were off, even though I thought they were ok.

Do you notice a higher reading next to your turner motor? It was about a degree warmer on that side of the incubator than the other side, so I kept our eggs in the middle and over to the right. I'm not sure what I would do if I were to try a full hatch. I guess calculate the difference between the built in thermometer and one that I trust and then just go off of that and try to rotate eggs during candling? Or just keep them where they are and see if it effects it. I also noticed the temp dropped a degree once I removed the turner but I thought I had it adjusted back to 99.5...I did notice in the beginning any adjustments I made seemed to be down, and towards the end it seemed to need to be moved up. Its in our room and the temperature is pretty stable and no drafts.

During test mode/warm up, I had a hard time getting and keeping a stable temp but once I put eggs in, it was fine.
 

Farmer Viola

Songster
6 Years
May 23, 2013
2,201
239
211
Earth
personally, I get the temperature just right and then I don't ever touch the knob the entire hatch. maybe it's superstitious, but I feel like the small fluctuations will be overcome after X amount of time with the lid closed, it should get back to the same temp that I originally set it at.

My egg turner does cause heat, too. it is actually recommended to lower temperature by "half a degree" (how the heck do they expect me to do that?!) at lockdown/day 18/hatch time, so I figure removing that extra heat source is good enough lowering and I don't touch the knob.

I have thought about shuffling the eggs around to account for hot and cold spots; I think next to the turner motor is the warmest. truthfully in a forced air, the fan should be rotating the warm air enough that all the eggs should be relatively close in temperature. I have a laser thermometer where I can point it at the egg itself and get a reading on the temp. some folks say the laser thermometer isn't reliable / is off by a few degrees, but the one I have seems to work well. it lets me compare the temperatures for eggs close and far from the turner. I had my best hatch (100%) when I didn't shuffle them around, I left them all in their position. so again maybe some superstition but that's what I do now.

I think if the incubator isn't full, the best position for the eggs is in the very center. the metal ring around the lid puts off heat around the outer perimeter, and the fan is in the center, so I figure the center should be the most moderate temperature

remember if you place the thermometer on the wire floor, the temp down there will be slightly lower than at the top of the eggs. this doesn't mean you should turn the knob.
 
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