I opened incubator! Help!

Jensey

Hatching
Nov 9, 2021
1
0
2
Hi everyone! This is my first time hatching. On day 23 when we weren’t seeing anything I opened the incubator and took each egg one at a time to candle it. I saw that there were live babies in there because I saw movement. On day 24 they still hadn’t started pipping. So I took them out again to candle them and I heard one of them chirping. I put them back in there and got up this morning. Day 25. The one that was chirping is no longer chirping and it’s still hasn’t started pipping.
I open the incubator way more than I’m supposed to and now I worry that I killed them.
My son said that if the eggs were not collected and put in the incubator and headset for several days in a cool room that is not unusual for them to several days later.
Help!
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,650
18,929
726
USA
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/guide-to-assisted-hatching-for-all-poultry.72886/

Here is an article about how to help chicks hatch, and when to help them (too soon kills them, too late lets them die.)

I open the incubator way more than I’m supposed to and now I worry that I killed them.
I do not know whether your chicks are alive or dead, but opening the incubator probably did NOT kill them.

When a hen sits on eggs, she usually gets off at least once a day to eat, drink, and poop. She often stays off for about half an hour, and sometimes longer.

Opening the incubator once a day should not be a big deal, even during the time chicks are supposed to be hatching. Opening the incubator several times in a row should also be fine, as long as it is all within a half hour or so (like taking eggs out to candle and then putting them back.)

Opening the incubator does cause problems when someone is doing it frequently, all day long. This used to be common with incubators that had no windows (people kept opening their incubators to look inside and see what was happening.)

The amount of opening you described was probably fine.

My son said that if the eggs were not collected and put in the incubator and headset for several days in a cool room that is not unusual for them to several days later.
Being cool before they start incubating should not slow them down.

But if the incubator was a little cooler than it is supposed to be, that can cause eggs to develop slowly and hatch late. Even half a degree of difference can have a noticeable effect.

Some incubators have an accurate thermometer, but some do not. It is usually a good idea to have an extra thermometer, calibrate it to be sure it is accurate, and use it to check the incubator temperature too.
 

FlarryEyeGrey

Chirping
Sep 10, 2021
39
84
51
You almost certainly did not kill them by opening the incubator! ...but it sounds like the temperature may have been a little low throughout (thus the slow hatch) which may have caused fewer of the chicks to develop properly.

Chicks do take rest breaks, so a quiet chick is not necessarily a chick in trouble. However, if I wasn't seeing any progress 24 hours after hearing cheeps, I would personally assist. The link @NatJ posted is a great resource. If you decide to assist, go slowly and cautiously, and be prepared to stop a bleed. And if you open the egg and find a dead chick, don't be too hard on yourself — it happens to all of us.
 
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