I'm stumped--death by breed

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by WalkingOnSunshine, May 27, 2016.

  1. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Hello everyone,

    I'm a relatively experienced incubator. Recently my husband made me a smaller homemade incubator to replace my old, gigantic, upright freezer incubator--I didn't like the temperature fluctuations in the old one, and the new one is computer controlled and doesn't fluctuate more than .5 degree +/- . I ran a batch of eggs through it as a test. I set 36 eggs--14 Olive Eggers and 22 Black Ameraucana.
    --All hens are the same age
    --All hens were covered by the same Black Ameraucana rooster
    --All hens lived in the same hen house, ate the same food, and used the same nest boxes
    --All eggs were gathered together, blue and brown
    --All eggs were stored before hatching in the same paper cartons, pointy end down, mixed in the cartons
    --All eggs were set randomly in the turner
    --I did have some problems keeping humidity where I wanted it; it was, in general, too low (20-40%) during most of the incubation, although I got it above 70% during lockdown.

    I have (so far, eggs have been hatching for 12 hours) a 65% hatch of Olive Egger eggs--pretty darn good for a new incubator on it's test run. All of the Ameraucana eggs died, the vast majority around the same time. Only four developed enough to make it to lockdown, but I don't think they are going to hatch.

    Here is where 90% of the Ameraucana eggs died:
    [​IMG]

    Any ideas? I'm befuddled on this one.
     
  2. cmfarm

    cmfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That looks like there was no development at all. Maybe too many hens for the rooster?
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    One rooster, seven hens. All the eggs were fertile, I'd assume, since every egg I crack is fertile.

    See? Weird, right?[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Have you got pics of the incubator---curious how its built, set-up, automatic turners? Venting? Etc?
     
  5. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Can't get pics of the inside this minute, there are eggs hatching in it!

    Specs are:
    Wooden box set inside a box made of 1.5" styrofoam set inside yet another box. Heat source is a reptile bulb controlled by arduino to be 100 degrees F +/- .5 degrees. At one side of the box is a fan and grooves are cut in the styrofoam to force air to come in one side of the box, pass the heat source, and exit the other so that there is no cold air blowing on the eggs. Bulb and fan are in a hardware cloth cage. Humidity is controlled by sponges set upright in Jif jars with large holes in them. There is aquarium tubing into the bottom of each jar so you can easily add or subtract water with a luer tip syringe. There is a hygrometer in the incubator so I can check humidity and a temperature read-out on the front. Automatic turner. The biggest problem with it is that it's hard to keep the humidity up because there is so much air flow. We've dampered the fan a bit. Oh, and the fan does not blow directly on the eggs.

    Here you can see that the brown eggs have hatched well and the blue are just sitting there. This pic was taken about five minutes ago.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    How does this incubator get fresh air exchange?

    I could re-read but I will ask here----did the blue eggs candle good the last time you checked?

    Have you compared the temp of the side that is hatching good with the side that isn't with the "same" thermometer that you would move from spot to spot-----but do not do that now while they are hatching----leave it closed in my opinion!!?

    Not sure on the date---is it day 21?? The green eggs might not be as warm and might start hatching soon???
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    The incubator has a pretty strong fan. You can't see them, but there are grooves in the styrofoam that force the air to come in the side by the fan, pass the heat source, and then exit the other side. My biggest problem is too much air, not too little--I know this because I had trouble regulating humidity.
    The blue eggs started, got a blood ring, then died. All about the same time.
    There was no rhyme or reason where blue or brown eggs were put in the turner. There was no blue side or brown side. They are separated now, but I only separated by breed for lockdown so I'd know the breed easily later, since they will all look alike except for comb.
    It is day 21. There is no reason the blue eggs would be cooler, especially because the temperature probe is in the hatching basket with them.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
  8. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Well the eggs were probably bad. I am sure the incubator can not tell colors. But I wonder why you got them in lock down being you know they had died???

    I know you got a strong---if it is DC an be turned down easy by lowering the voltage, if is AC you can us dimmer cord to turn it down. My fans blow hard and I do not want then turned down.

    My question is how/where does your incubator get fresh air---from the outside the incubator to exchange some with the inside the incubator?
     
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, sorry I wasn't clear. The incubator pulls fresh air from outside the incubator past the heat element and then blows it out the other side. Constant air exchange with the outside. And even if it wasn't, why would only the blue eggs have died?

    I didn't put the clears in lockdown. If you read the original post, you'll see that I had 22 Ameraucana eggs. Only four passed the first candling and made it to lockdown.

    The big question, is why on earth are all these eggs bad? I could see one hen laying bad eggs, but all five Ameraucanas, especially since I've hatched from these hens before?
     
  10. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    The air exchange I was not meaning it killed the eggs, you had stated your incubator was in a box, in a box---I was wondering How it got fresh air inside all these boxes---was why I asked.

    I missed part of your original post-----you said ALL the Ameraucanas had died, then you said only 4 made it to down---I missed that part----thinking All were dead.

    I have had that to happen more than one time---about all the eggs out of one pen did not hatch. Rooster was not doing his Job.

    Now back to your fan----does it draw ALL its air from the outside----blows across the coil and that amount of air goes back outside?? If so that would seem to be hard to keep the humidity stable and the temp.
     

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