Humidity spiked...are my chicks dead?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ESofVA, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. ESofVA

    ESofVA Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2012
    Keller, VA
    I had 11 bantam Cochins hatch by yesterday...two days of hatching. I usually let them stay in the incubator for 24 hrs. Yesterday the humidity was fine around noon but by 5:00 with 11 chicks then, when the chicks were wet again after being dry. The humidity was way high with small droplets on water collected on the viewung window. I immediatly took the hatched chicks out and opened the vents to get the humidity back down. My hatched chicks are fine...I put them under a lamp. I opened the eggs that were past due today and 3 of the 5 unhatched eggs contained dead chicks.

    I am wondering if the chicks in those eggs could have drowned in their shells due to the high humidity??? What about the 14 remaining eggs due in a week, are they dead???
    The shell colors are rather dark and I have difficulty seeing through them for candling. But even if I could I would still chicks in there but not know whether they are dead or alive.

    Please help!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I often have a 20% or more humidity spike during hatch when those eggs open up and let all that moisture out but I haven’t had droplets forming. Mine’s a forced air and I always leave the plug out. Was maybe yours a still air and/or were your plugs in?

    Had those chicks that were dead pipped? Were the droplets on the eggs or just the viewing window? With the chicks that had hatched and dried out wet again, I’d guess you had moisture condensing all in the incubator. If they had external pipped, I doubt the high humidity had anything to do with it, but if they had not pipped I could see moisture condensing on the porous eggs and not allowing any air exchange. That’s another reason to have the plugs out, the chicks in the eggs as well as after thy hatch need fresh air to breathe. There are several other reasons chicks could die without pipping after they are fully formed. I’m just trying to tie it to your humidity spike. You opened those eggs and saw what they were like. I’ll give you this link to maybe help you decide what happened.

    Illinois Incubation troubleshooting

    Those other eggs are why it’s really nice to have a separate incubator to use as a hatcher if you are going to do staggered hatches. That’s too stressful for me. In some ways that humidity spike is not a big deal. An egg needs to lose a certain amount of moisture during the incubation process for it to hatch. There is a reasonably wide band of just how much moisture you need to lose so you don’t have to be real precise. It’s an average humidity over the incubation period that determines how much moisture is lost, not an instantaneous humidity.

    But if you have moisture condensing on the egg or just real high humidity for two or three days, you can mess that up. Just because there is a band that works doesn’t mean that going a couple of days without losing any humidity is OK. The later eggs could easily have 10% to 15% more moisture in them than the ones that just hatched depending on how long they were at the elevated humidity.

    Another thing is that the developing chicks really don’t need any air exchange the first week to week and a half of developing, but the older they get the more they need fresh air getting through the porous shell to breathe. If you had moisture condensing on those eggs, that moisture could have blocked air exchange.

    I honestly don’t know if you have harmed those later eggs or not with that high humidity. I strongly recommend that you assume you did not harm them and carry on hatching. I find that those chicks are often a lot tougher than many people imagine.

    I understand the difficulty in candling some eggs. I can’t see a thing inside some of my green eggs when I candle. In that case you have to just keep going and give them time.

    Good luck with the rest of your hatch. I am glad you got 11 healthy chicks so far.

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