I may have messed this all up :(

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by CluckyCluck, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. CluckyCluck

    CluckyCluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two broody hens - one is a Miss Penelope, a black cochin and sitting on big eggs that I don't think she is effectively incubating....but Miss Julie - she's got the good clutch.

    I didn't begin with the intention of hatching eggs. One day turned into two, two into three of her sitting on the eggs, 3 turned to 4 and before I knew it, I thought I might as well leave them now.

    So, a few days ago - can you believe one started chirping - it does not seem like 21 days! It was a little grueling watching the thing wiggle out of the shell, and mom of course stepping all over it crushing the shell further. It looked completely adorable when I left the coop, but wasn't ALL the way out of the shell yet, just about though.

    The next morning my daughter went out, expecting to see a fluffy little chick and instead found it dead in the center of the eggs.

    So, I took 6 eggs out 4 are tiny eggs (either from the cochin, a bantam silkie or from the mama sitting (a deleware I think).

    Four eggs have things moving in them. I have NOOO idea how to tell how close they are to hatching, and if I'm even doing it right. I bought an incubator (Little giant) and the egg turner and they've been in there for a few days since the incident.

    Now I'm on here researching and it seems like there is a lot more to do than just stick them in the incubator. I did put water in the tray, but I have no idea how to tell if it's enough humidity.

    How can I tell if one of the eggs are going to hatch aside from rocking and peeping? Can you tell by candling how close it is to hatching? I read to take them out of the incubator and into the brooder 3 days before they hatch - but I don't think I will be able to tell. They seem as if they are at different stages of development.

    Thanks
     
  2. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aw, sounds like you've had a rough time of it! Sorry about your loss. :(

    Okay, first things first: What's the temp in your incubator? Does it have a fan?

    Second, can you describe what you see when you candle? Use the brightest light you can find, and do it in a super dark room (I always do it after nightfall). The darker the room, the more you'll see.

    An experienced candler can tell when the eggs are close to hatching, and here is what you're looking for:

    • The small end of the egg, up to 2/3 to 3/4 of the total volume will be mostly dark, with possibly a light section in the point of the egg.
    • The large end of the egg will be bright, taking up 1/4 to 1/3 of the egg.
    • If you watch for a while, you can see the baby pushing at the edge of the dark area, as though trying to get into the light area (which is exactly what they *are* trying to do).
    • With experience, you'll be able to tell when they've broken into the air cell (the bright area), because you'll see a shadow that is actually the beak poking up into the air cell. The outline of the air cell changes too--instead of being a straight, circular line between light and dark, it becomes uneven with bumps and valleys. The signs in this bullet point are subtle differences that you may not recognize until you've done a few hatches.

    If the babies are younger, you'll see more light area. The air cell will always look distinct--see-through, or clear. The rest is where the baby is. When it's very young, it will be floating or swimming around. As it gets bigger, you'll only see motion at the edges of dark splotches. Sometimes the baby will sleep, and you won't see motion at all.

    To answer your question about humidity, without a hygrometer (which you can pick up at Walmart for $10), it's still quite possible to get adequate humidity. I simply raise the humidity until condensation begins to form on the incubator windows and, for me, this is always just right.

    You can raise humidity by adding sponges, wet cardboard, and wet rags to the incubator. It is surface area, not volume, of water that matters. So a deep tub of water won't help as much as a wet rag will. Also, be super careful not to put in water dishes that the babies can get into after they hatch, as they can quite easily drown.

    If the eggs are still early in incubation, you'll need to turn them two or three times a day. Think of it like turning over in bed--you don't want to put too much pressure on one side for too long. Put an X on one side, and each time you turn it, leave it with the opposite side showing.

    Hope that helps! Incubating is addictive. Now that you've started, you won't be able to stop. :) Good luck!!
     
  3. CluckyCluck

    CluckyCluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The temperature is 99.5 steady. I just candled again and it looks like two should be hatching like right now. The whole egg is full with dark except at the very point, and then at the round end I can see an air sac.

    Two of the eggs I can't tell anything because they are brown. And the other two, seem a bit more behind.

    I've been watching youtube videos!

    now my dilema is - I have new eggs in the incubator as well. If I take the egg turner out so the two can hatch is it going to mess up the other eggs? I realize I should turn them, but I can do it by hand at least for a couple days until they hatch. Anyone know a better way?
     
  4. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coop
    :goodpost: goodluck! I hope the best for you!!
     
  5. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    Doing it by hand is probably your best bet at this point. Your bigger concern is going to be humidity--the air cells in eggs need to develop in order to provide enough space for the baby to breathe before hatching, which is why you keep humidity lower during the main portion of incubation. On the other hand, the hatching eggs need a high humidity because once they break through the shell, they can dry out and get stuck if the humidity's not high enough.

    If it's only a couple of days, it should be okay. Go ahead and raise the humidity and let them hatch. Take the babies out as soon as you can (I remove them twice daily during a big hatch--with only a couple hatching, you can remove them as soon as they're dry). Lower the humidity as soon as they are done. Watch your air cells--if they don't seem to be developing, lower your humidity. You may want to run a lower-than-usual humidity anyway, just to be on the safe side. But it depends on where you are and your ambient humidity levels...

    Good luck! :)
     
  6. CluckyCluck

    CluckyCluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I made the temp a little higher in the incubator, cause I'm reading with still air it has to be a little higher which for some reason doesn't make sense to me. I'd figure with still air it's not moving, and would inevitably be hotter than the air that's moving around circulating...but what do I know lol.

    So my goal is 101 - 102 I think. I am turning the eggs by hand, and not turning the two I feel should be hatching soon.

    How will I know if the two that I think are going to hatch died (if they do) in the shell? Besides waiting til they smell, which I'm sure they will start to smell at some point if they died.
     
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    Sounds like you're doing great!

    You've got a unique, and not ideal, situation going on there, so I don't know that any advice is going to be perfect. You're going to have to play a lot by ear. I would give the two a couple days and look carefully for pips. If no pips in two days, take them out and candle again. You'll know they're dead if on two or three successive candlings, you see no movement whatsoever.

    If you *think* they're dead but you're not sure, you can put them back in and leave them. They won't be dangerous to the other eggs until they've been dead for a week or more. And no, they won't necessarily stink unless they start to seep--or when you crack one open (be prepared! ew! lol).

    You can also, without too much danger, just keep the humidity low-ish (so as not to compromise the rest of the hatch) and only raise it when you see pips. This is not ideal, as I said, but it may be workable.

    Best of luck. Sounds like you're handling a difficult situation very well. :)
     

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