I'm soooo nervous!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Cindi1972, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. Cindi1972

    Cindi1972 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is my first time using an incubator. I've had my chickens for 1 year this week and I had to give the incubator a try.

    O.k. Serious questions considering it is Spring! I have, in my incubator, at this very moment, 8 eggs. 4 green ones from my EE and 4 brown ones from one of the other hens, not sure who mom is for them. I have 1 egg that was placed in the incubator on the 18th of March, 2 were placed in on the 20th, 1 on the 22nd, 1 on the 23rd, 1 on the 24th and 2 on the 25th. 1st one is due to hatch on April 8th and so on. I do know that three days before hatching I should not turn them, because they are getting in position. My questions is... because they are all due to hatch throughout that week, I will need to open the incubator briefly to move them to their brooder. Am I endangering the chicks by doing this? I obviously didn't think things through. Chicks weren't really laying steadily and I wanted to get what I could and hope for good fertility. Turns out all the brown eggs are showing signs of movement and are progressing nicely. At least one of the green eggs is a go as well.. I did see movement. The green eggs are so hard to see inside, so I am unsure about the other three at this stage.. they are only from the 23rd on. I am so nervous. They are alive and doing well, and I don't want to make any wrong moves. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    What do I do on hatch day? I know I should not help the chick and it could take like 18 hours or longer to completely hatch.... because they are not all hatching together... I'm just nervous.
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. Silkie-Feet

    Silkie-Feet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good afternoon! I've been hatching eggs for over 9 years so hopefully the advice I give you will be helpful. First, I'll address what questions you had:

    Stacked hatch, good idea?
    I try to put all of my eggs in the incubator at the same time to avoid the same issue you are facing now. Also, it's much easier to brood a group of chicks at the same age rather than staggered ages. Just a tip: I'm not sure if you're aware, but eggs can be stored for a week before hatching with no ill effects on the hatch rate. Feel free to search the site, there are some great resources available about storing hatching eggs.

    Should I stop turning eggs?
    I put my incubators into "lockdown" 3 days before hatch as you mentioned. At this time I remove my egg turners and boost the humidity from around 50% to 75%. I'm not sure if it's had any affect on my hatches, yet that was a recommendation I received when I first started hatching.

    Will removing chicks hurt those still hatching?
    Many don't open their incubator during hatch because they believe doing so will "shrink wrap" the chicks. However, that is a misconception. Shrink wrapping occurs by prolonged low humidity throughout the hatch. Briefly opening the incubator to remove chicks shouldn't pose any risk to the eggs still in the incubator.

    What should I do on hatch day?
    Grab some popcorn! Watching eggs hatch throughout the day is a blast. Since this is your first hatch, I wouldn't recommend trying to assist them through hatching. It does take a while for the eggs to hatch.

    Overall, the eggs should be fine! Good luck hatching!
     
  4. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. Cindi1972

    Cindi1972 Out Of The Brooder

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    AH! I'm going crazy and your message certainly helped. Now on to my next questions. LOL The incubator I am using is great. Temp has been set at 100 degrees f the entire time and all eggs have movement and look great. The incubator has two small vents on the top which I am supposed to open to help dry chicks as they hatch. I'm thinking opening these vents could harm the eggs that aren't ready yet, yes? But then how can I ensure that the hatched chicks will dry completely? YES, going forward, I will place all the eggs in the incubator at the SAME TIME. LOL

    Thanks for responding. I appreciate your help.
     
  6. grace4261

    grace4261 Out Of The Brooder

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    You need to open the vents for air circulation not to help dry the chicks. The chicks need the oxygen.
     
  7. Cindi1972

    Cindi1972 Out Of The Brooder

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    When should I do this? My first egg isn't due to hatch until this Friday... and the others each day after for a total hatch time of 1 week. Will opening the vents let cool air in and mess with the desired temp for the other eggs?
     
  8. grace4261

    grace4261 Out Of The Brooder

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    If the vents are like mine, small holes about the size of a dime, I leave them open from day one. You may have to adjust the temperature after you open the vents and it will probably change the humidity some as well. Not sure on that. I do know that for the eggs to develop and hatch those vents need to be open at some point. I don't recall at what day this becomes important.
     
  9. grace4261

    grace4261 Out Of The Brooder

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  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Cindi you will see a lot of different opinion on here. We all have different experiences and different knowledge bases. Some people seem to think that if something could possibly happen it will absolutely happen each and every time. Others seem to think that since it has never happened to them it can never happen to anyone. Opening the incubator during hatch is one of those. While it is possible to shrink-wrap a chick that has pipped by opening the incubator during hatch (I’ve done it), it takes a bit of a perfect storm for it to happen. If that egg has lost too much moisture during incubation it can shrink-wrap with the humidity pretty high during lockdown even without opening the incubator (done that too). It it’s right on the edge then opening the incubator after the chick has external pipped could be enough to send it over the edge. But most will be OK even if the humidity in the incubator drops. I consider it good practice to not open it during lockdown unless I have a reason. If I have a reason I’ll open it.

    For your information an egg does not have to be turned after about two weeks. Turning early in incubation helps in a couple of ways. It helps body parts form in the right places. Pretty important. It also keeps the yolk or developing chick from touching the inside of the egg shell where it could get stuck. But by two weeks the body parts have at least formed in place and a membrane (the same one that can shrink wrap them) has formed to protect the chick from coming in contact with the inside of the shell. It doesn’t hurt to turn the eggs after that all the way to hatch but it is not necessary. The main reason we stop turning at lockdown is it’s a convenient time to stop. If you have a turner get it out of there before it gets messed up with hatching goop. It makes clean-up easier. And if you hand turn, you don’t have to unnecessarily open the incubator. You are not in that situation so you have to wing it.

    I suggest you open those vents, at least one of them, now. They are not there to help the chicks dry off, though they will help with that. The chicks are living animals that need fresh air to breathe. Early in incubation that is not very important but the older they get the more they need fresh air. You need to let bad air circulate out so fresh air can come in.

    When you open those your temperature will probably be OK but expect your humidity to drop with certain types of incubators. Just watch it, you may need to do something to boost the humidity back up.

    It is not critical that the chicks dry off that quickly. Just have your brooder warmed up and ready and don’t let damp chicks get a chill when you transfer them. The will dry off on the brooder if not before.
     

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