Important Hatching Needs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by EmmaKnight, May 3, 2017.

  1. EmmaKnight

    EmmaKnight Chirping

    Mar 21, 2017
    I've been hatching chickens for about 3 months now. Nothing has hatched. Not a single egg has popped. Nothing. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. I have The Little Giant incubator which sets the temperature perfectly (99.5) and turns the eggs for me as well. The humidity, I'm on my own there. I add in a cup of water every two days as I was told by a fellow chicken hatcher. I did all of these steps and still, I have no chicks. What do I need to do? What am I doing wrong? What do you do? Please help! [​IMG]

  2. BYCforlife

    BYCforlife Free Ranging

    Mar 18, 2017
    First of all, you don't need any water on days 1-18, then you want very high humidity on days 19-23. Do you mean your eggs have been in the incubator for three months, or have you done 3 separate hatches? Also, do you have a rooster? If not, the eggs will never hatch. Which way are the eggs in the incubator? Big or small end up?

    Hope this helps!
    1 person likes this.
  3. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

    Mar 3, 2011
    The Land of Enchantment
    Humidity also depends on where you live. If I didn't add water, all my eggs would shrink wrap since I live in the high desert!

    Styrofoam bators are notoriously temp sensitive and need to be in a room where the temp is stable. Not near a window or where it would get drafts. Also, if it is a still air, the temp needs to be 101 or at egg level, it's too cold.

    Did you upen any of the eggs? If so, what kind of development did you see?
    1 person likes this.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    As FridayYet points out the temp you need to set at is different for still air and units with a fan. Still air is 101.5 F measured at top level of eggs when upright in turner. Forced air is 99.5 F. The other thing to note is you should use a separate thermometer to verify what the incubator is telling you is true. And if a still air then it doesn't matter what the incubator is saying as it's at the level of eggs you need temp to be 99.5 F which you'll achieve if 101.5 at top of eggs not top of unit. Temperature is the number one factor in incubating.

    Second factor in incubating is humidity. You've been incubating at too high an RH. If the eggs are not allowed to lose moisture, about 12% mass, then the air cell in fat end of egg will not grow. It needs to grow and be large enough for when chicks rotate prior to pipping shell. Their head move into the fat end of egg. If there is not a large enough air cell their they can not take first breath. They drown in the shell.

    Good RH inside incubator for first 18 days is 25%, from day 18 or 19 to hatch 70%+ is where you want to be so they don't dry and stick to shell once they pip a hole. Hygrometers are handy, should be calibrated with salt test, but are not mandatory. If you run dry without water and monitor your air cell growth you can then add moisture if they are growing too fast. Humidity is relative to the surface area of water so you don't need to fill up a trough rather set a small container of water in. For me in New England it's usually just a shot glass of water sitting next to turner. On dry years it takes two and this wet spring I let the single glass dry out for two days then put more water in it until it was dry and let that be for another two days and so on until this morning, day 19. Then I filled one of the troughs and that's all it took to get 74% RH.

    A few days before your target hatch day you up humidity to avoid many problems. The amount of surface area you need is dependant on where you live or more specifically the RH in your home. If you don't have a hygrometer then just fill both troughs and call it good enough, more moisture is better than less for hatch.

    Here is a diagram as reference to give you an idea of what air cell size should be. It's not exacting but you get the idea, the chicks need enough air to breath once they move into position. What this chart says for day 14 and larger is good. I rarely achieve what it shows for day 18 and not every egg is the same so it's a average and minimum type thing. Without a hygrometer I'd run dry for 10-14 days then candle to access if you need to add water. You slow or even stop the cell growth by upping the humidity. If you achieve closer to day 18 on day 14 cell size just fill the two troughs with water and it will stop growth. Then your all set for hatch excepting taking the eggs out of turner.


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