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Improving hatch rates

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Morganap43, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. Morganap43

    Morganap43 New Egg

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    I was wondering if anyone had any tips in improving hatch rates. I got 3 dozen eggs from a man i know, and when i candled them on day 18 before i put my incubator of lock down, all had something growing and looked great except for 5 eggs. Now that they are hatching. they have been hatching on day 21-22, and 7 of the 36 eggs have hatched. Maybe 1-2 others have tiny peeping holes but the other, nothing is happening. What do i need to do?????
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Morgan, it might help if you posted your hatching information: Incubator model, forced air/still, humidity, temps, previous hatching history? What was the outdoor temp during the week of collection? After hatch is complete, you can do an egg-topsy. That might give you some info about what went wrong.
     
  3. Morganap43

    Morganap43 New Egg

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    It was a little giant incubator.
    Temp was kept between 99.5-100 degrees
    Humidity: I had trouble keeping it consistent in the beginning but finally got it stable.
    Forced air.

    This is my first hatch ever.
    the eggs where gathered from outside.
    The eggs weren't over 10 days old.

    How do you do a egg-topsy??????
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Did that incubator have a fan? Goal temp with a fan is 99.5, without a fan, I think it's 102.

    A lot of people are having improved success with a dry hatch, which means keeping the humidity low until lock down, then increasing it to any where from 50 - 65%. Because of my dry air, I aim for 30% before lock down, then increase to a goal of 60 - 65%.

    There are a lot of reasons why a hatch would not have a high percentage. Nutritional deficiency in the hen, eggs getting chilled before being set, temp reading inaccurate, humidity too high before hatch. The best thing you can do is get a good book that teaches you how to monitor a hatch, and what to look for. It will also tell you what to look for when you crack open those "fail to hatch" eggs. (Doing an egg-topsy) Too exhaustive a topic for me to deal with here. I'm on a steep learning curve myself. You might consult Sally Sunshine. Best to do those egg-topsy's outside, just in case you get a stinker.

    IMO, the most important thing you can do is to be sure you have an accurate thermometer. I use no less than 3 in my DIY forced air bator, and constantly monitor temps throughout the incubator. And they are calibrated to an old fashioned mercury rectal bulb thermometer. I have warm and cool spots (which may be an issue for you) so constantly shift egg position so they never stay in a warm or cool spot for long. My hatch rate has been 5/6 and 20/28, with 5/5 and 20/25 making it to lock down.

    So, find an accurate thermometer, then check your bator for warm/cool spots. Check your humidity, being sure to use a calibrated hygrometer. Candle all eggs for abnormalities before putting them in the bator, then, try again. I wish you the best.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  5. Morganap43

    Morganap43 New Egg

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    My incubator did have a fan. My second incubator doesn't have a fan. So I'm going to compare the hatches next weekend. I will do some research on an egg-topsy. I really want to get my hatch rate up to at least 90%
     
  6. TheChickenQueen

    TheChickenQueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a bit of luck with my last hatch (which was my first). I had followed this cheat sheet, my incubator was a used still air Farms Innovators(pretty much the same as a Little Giant) with a automatic egg turner. I did a dry hatch 102 degrees. Candled on day 10-11 the again on day 17 for lockdown, and every here and there, marked the ones I was not sure about. Candled them again later. Then when lock down came a put a bunch of paper towels under the wire screen filled that with water, put paper towels on top of that. Put the screen back and added another layer of paper towels, put a bit of water in there. Took them off of the turner and just laid them on their sides. Watched the humidity. Had three fish tank thermometers in that I had tested.
    I put 42 eggs in there. All of them made it to lockdown, I got 39 chicks in all, lost only 3. And I did not do an eggtopsy because I didn't want to see what I would find.


    I hope this works for others.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    I use the little giant w/fan kit installed and automatic egg turner. What was your humidity during incubation and hatch? How many thermometers are you using and have they been checked? Are you counting your days starting after the first 24 they've been set? My philosophy is never trust one thermometer, always have at least two that sinc up. (I use three.) I also have switched to the dry incubation for the first 17 days, and then shoot for 75%+ at lockdown/hatch. (A lot of people that have had not so good hatches have better luck w/dry method.) I keep a close eye on monitoring the air cells to regulate humidity (if needed.)

    21 days is just an average, however a lot of delayed hatches are due to lower than average temps during incubation.

    There are many eggtopsy threads on here that should help you spot possibilities of what may have happened. Eggtopsy is just opening the egg to investigate the chick and egg.

    Congrats on the chicks that have hatched and I hope you have better luck.
     

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