Important Questions about Lockdown, Hatching and Chicks

Lunar Ice

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 10, 2011
Mocksville, NC
I have a big trip coming up next week, I will be away for 5 days (leaving Thursday morning, returning Monday evening) and my hatch/lockdown dates fall right in the middle of it. What do I do?
I have turkey eggs due for hatch on Thursday, and Lockdown for guinea and chicken eggs are set to start Saturday. Would a few extra days of no turning really hurt them if I just put them all in the day I left? What about the turkeys, if they hatched Friday, would they be okay staying in the bator till Monday afternoon?

I had tried not to let my hatch dates fall like this, ugh. Kind of stuck now. I would very much appreciate some advice, it's not like I can take the incubator with me.


Barefoot Bantams
9 Years
Sep 22, 2010
Upstate South Carolina
They should be fine. A day or two of not turning should be OK. Just be sure the humidity & temps are good

I would be a wreck if I were to be gone during a hatch!


Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Stuff happens. The recommendations are guidelines, not absolute laws of nature. Following the guidelines does not guarantee success nor does not following the guidelines guarantee failure. Your odds of success are greater if you can follow the guidelines, but that is just the odds.

I can't tell you if locking down a day or two early will hurt your hatch. It might and it might not. You may have no real choice at this stage.

My concern would be more for the turkeys. They can go three days without food and water after absorbing the yolk. That's why they can be shipped. But there is no guarantee they will hatch Thursday or Friday. They could very well be early. You also have the humidity issue. If your incubator runs out of water so humidity drops, the unhatched eggs could be in trouble, but also the hatched turkeys, especially if it is a forced air incubator. The moving air tends to dry them out quicker than a still air.

I'd suggest you try real hard to get somebody to at least come by while you are gone and add water to the incubator. If they can do more, so much the better. I do think you are in a high risk situation.

Good luck!!!

Lunar Ice

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jul 10, 2011
Mocksville, NC
Thank you for the info.

As far as humidty, I have an incubator that tends to hold it's humidity a little TOO well sometimes (It'll go over 90+ and STAY there sometimes if I'm not careful aka: add too much water). I had planned to only add about half of what I did my first hatch since it doesn't seem to really disapate until I take the top off. I guess I will set and lockdown and hope for the best...
Thanks guys. Very appreciative.

I may be able to to get someone to remove the turkeys while I'm away....the problem is, the person who would have to do it knows very little about what to do (and doesn't care to learn) and I feel more harm might be done in allowing it. I will have to consider that for the next few days and maybe come to terms with what is best in this situation.

And for the record, I AM a wreck about it! I wanted to be here when they hatched!
Unfortunately...I just had to set them when I recieved them. Darn birds, lay when it's convient please kkthx!


8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
Massachusetts, USA
THe poults that hatch earlier cannot make it til you come back. Is there someone who can tend to them while you are gone?

Survival rates decrease when hatchlings are left much longer than 24 hours. THey really do need to get to water, else they dehydrate and die.

Sorry to make things harder for you. I'd feel bad if I didn't say anything and the poults should die unnecessarily.

editted to add, turkey eggs hatch better at 80-90 % RH per porters turkeys.
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