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I am an idiot, can it be fixed?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MikeOhlh, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. MikeOhlh

    MikeOhlh In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2012
    Shiner, Texas
    My Coop
    Yes, some time ago I researched incubating, and suddenly found a cabinet incubator for a good price, and rushed to get it, and set it up with a water tray, and thermometer, and humidity monitor. I had saved some chicken eggs (mutts) for a few days, and had 23 of them, and 8 Bourbon Red Turkey eggs added over a few days. I put dates on the eggs added after the first day, and the bator was cruising along at the temp I recalled and the humidity I recalled, and all the eggs were in the right position (or so I recalled).

    Can you tell where this is going...?

    I was busy working, and building a hatching room in a shed out by the pigs shed, and trying to get in a garden, and the weather was rotten and cold. But the bator kept cruising along at a perfect 99.9 degrees and 50% humidity... That is right... yea, that has to be right. That and the eggs are all nestled in hay in the trays and the auto rotater is going and they are all in there small side up... Then tonight I read Sally Sunshine's Guide...

    All since the 15th of February. 9 days, upside down, and waterlogged (? maybe)...

    Should I rotate the eggs to the proper position? I do plan to candle them tomorrow, and lower the humidity, as well as open the vents a little more. (they are open, but just a little)

    This is an older cabinet model, but has many parts from GQF, and resembles theirs. Temp and Humidity are very steady (just all set wrong apparently?)

    Any tips on how to save the most I can from my idiocy? This is my first experience hatching, and I don't necessarily HAVE to have these hatch, but If there is a good chance for them I would like to give it a crack... (sorry)

    And yes, some of the eggs have rotated sideways since I put them in... The monitor is behind the light's glare.

  2. Puddin Fluff

    Puddin Fluff Crowing

    Mar 30, 2012
    River Valley, AR
    I would candle and see what you have. Just rember mama hen doesn't check to see which end is up. Good luck.
  3. Bryam

    Bryam Songster

    Aug 19, 2008
    Um, there may be hope!!
  4. You will likely be ok if you to reorient your eggs to the proper position NOW. Mama hens don't sit on their eggs with the big end up, at least not by much. The "egg" shape of the eggs and the bowl shape of the nest holds the egg in a slightly big end up position. Reorient your eggs with the big end towards the front of your incubator and with the little end pointing at the back. Nestle them into the stuff you have in your incubator so that they will stay in this big end slightly up position, don't try to stand them on end like a fence post. Or you could put them into clean used egg carton bottoms with the big end up to keep them from rolling around the incubator like billiard balls every time the egg turner cycles on. Chicks are wet at hatching and I am afraid that the leaves or whatever you have your eggs laying on will stick to and contaminate the new chicks. At the very least it could lead to some of the chicks getting navel infections.

    What you really need is a hydrometer with both a dry bulb thermometer & a wet bulb thermometer also known as a psychrometer, to check the accuracy of your incubator's thermometer/hydrometer and to serve as a back up for your monitor. I don't trust monitors and hydrometers, give me a simple to operate, reliable, inexpensive, and dependably scientific instrument like a psychrometer. I know that a twin bulb psychrometer or hydrometer is old school but nothing works so well when checking RELITAVE humidity and a psychrometer will backup or help prove the accuracy of both your hydrometer, and your thermometer. However do use distilled water in the vessel that your wet bulb sock is sitting in. Tap water results in mineral deposits and that results in poor performance.

    Here is some reading material.

    Here is some more:

    The above scientific link says that there is NO difference between chicks that are dry incubated and chicks that are wet incubated (over 55% humidity) except that more of the DRY incubated chicks died in the shell. I don't think that this extra dry hatched mortality takes into account chicks that are shrink wrapped and suffocate at hatching just the ones that died before day 18. Your humidity is fine where it is. At day 18 you will need to INCREASE the humidity to 75% or 80%.

    The vent holes help control humidity but they also help vent the carbon dioxide your chicks and eggs give off inside the incubator. Since CO2 is heaver than air it falls so you should have plenty of oxygen for the number of eggs you have setting by simply opening the bottom vents.

    Here is a handy app that tells you how much relative humidity is in the air by using the most accurate method, a wet bulb / dry bulb psychrometer. Save it too your PC's tool bar or write the web address down. Just type the wet bulb and the dry bulb temperatures into it at the proper place and click


    I must assume that the air circulation fan in your GQF clone incubator is working properly, but you really seriously need to loose the pine straw or leaves in your turning tray in favor of a 100% real plastic egg holding tray. For now a few clean egg cartons will work. It will soon be very important where in the egg your chicks heads' are and also where their heads' are in relation to your peeps' bodies. Chicks that are out of position don't hatch, they die. It is even critical that a chicks' head is on the right hand side of its body and that its head is tucked under its right wing. At lock down take the eggs come out of the egg holders and lay them on their sides in the bottom tray of the incubator. There shouldn't be a turning mechanism in the bottom of the incubator, only a hatcher tray. If there isn't a hatching tray turn off the turner motor.

    Remember that Mother Nature intended for her hens to sit on their eggs right on the bare arse ground and with nothing between the eggs, the dew and the rain but the hen and Mother Nature's Earth. I have experienced excellent hatches of "yard" chickens from hens who have stolen their nest away and who never had a human hovering over her and wringing their hands at the prospect of a good outcome. Chickens are tougher than we think, it is usually only when we humans get involved that problems pop up.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. MikeOhlh

    MikeOhlh In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2012
    Shiner, Texas
    My Coop
    Lots of great info, thank you for the detailed reply. I am a tad bit more hopeful than before. I had used some dry hay to nestle the eggs in the trays, since they were so large for the eggs, thinking I was making it like a nest. I do have plenty of cartons I can use to set them in. So, I plan to candle, assess the viability, air sac (and mark). Then re-position them in the clean cartons, and open the bottom vents more. I will try to do this all quick as I can to get them back in the bator.

    The temp / hygo meter I have is the Extech 445715 Big Digit Hygro-Thermometer. I hear the argument for old school instrumentation, and I checked into it before, but got confused a little, and opted for the easy - ready made option... sigh. I need to re-read your reply and the links you added to try to set that all up. I might not get that done in time to help this batch, but I will try.

    I will post updates, in hopes of a good outcome, with what I did (right and wrong).

    Thanks for all the help!
  6. What I really really recommend is to use both the digital and the "Look at the evidence with your own eyes type of instrument." 99,5 degrees is not 99.5 degrees just because some digital read out says that it is. Let us know how your hatch went and buy yourself and extra wafer and control unit if your going to do a lot of hatching, those thermostat wafers have a bad habit of burning out at the most inopportune time.. With the bator that you have now you could do custom hatching for chicken newbees allover Shiner. But you better learn how to properly sterilize it first.
  7. MikeOhlh

    MikeOhlh In the Brooder

    Dec 13, 2012
    Shiner, Texas
    My Coop
    Thanks, I will do better... (really, just too many irons in the fire this winter, getting spread a little thin, lol) I was also figuring on both, the dual bulbs and electronic, just have to find the bits and get it done. As for the sterilizing, yea, that too. I had wiped it down with bleach water, but the wind blows everything around here. I do need to be less scared to wash the eggs, but I heard so much bad about that, I didn't. Once I get the room finished, it will be much easier to keep stuff clean. Was possibly thinking of hatching some for friends, but not really thinking more. There is a feed mill up the road that will hatch eggs for fifty cents per success, so not too much profit there, lol. I just didn't want to drive over there all the time. (plus, it looks a lot less sanitary than mine...)

    I got all the eggs candled, air sacs marked, and in the styro cartons, (right end up) on the top rack, then remembered there was supposed to be a hole in the bottoms of the cups... I hate to take them out too much. I did open the vents more, and most of the eggs showed signs of something going on, hopefully that's a good something. The blue ones and the turkey eggs were tough to see into.


    Thanks so much...
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014

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