Incubating Instructions Confusing.


7 Years
Oct 29, 2012
Texas Qld Australia
Hi, I am a new member and am doing my first incubator hatching. I have had 28 eggs in a hovabator incubator for 22 days now. The eggs started pipping and hatching on the night of the 21st day. We have had 13 hatch, of these 13, 1 has died, 1 looking sick (cant stand up), 1 chicken with one leg which doesn't seem to want to come down. 10 are looking healthy. I have had 3 eggs pipped but no movement. I was reading the booklet that came with the incubator and it said to remove the red plugs if humidity is high causing droplets on the top cover during and after hatch. This I did as the chickens weren't drying after 12 hours. I then removed the hatched chickens to the brooder to dry. Before bed I checked incubator and we had 5 pipped. On waking this morning two more were hatched and three were pipped but no movement. We still have eggs in the incubator not pipped as yet (i think i have seen some wriggling). I have been reading on the Internet everything I can regarding hatching. Some say do not open incubator during hatching others say you are not supposed to but they do after a time if chicks don't dry out. My question is the pipped eggs had fully formed chickens in them. Did I kill these 3 chickens in their eggs by removing the plug due to the high humidity and opening the the incubator to remove the hatched chickens to dry. I am a bit confused over the instructions.

Thanks for your help
The reason you are advised not to open the incubator during the hatch is because - if you have chicks working on hatching and dry air hits them it can "shrink-wrap" them. The membrane dries out and gets tough so, the chick can not tear through it to hatch. The time it takes to open the top to remove chicks can allow the temp to drop and let too much dry air in. Sometimes they can pip on the bottom and can't move to hatch.

Can you carfully move the incubator? You need to heat up a small bathroom with a space heater and run hot shower to make the room humid - then you can safely open the incubator and candle them carefully - Don't roll just shine light from small end and lean just slightly to see if, you can see movement.
Thank you for replying, I can move the incubator and candle them but will have to wait till it is night here in Oz. I guessed that by removing the plug i dried them out. i did put the plug back in first thing this morning but the humidity doesnt seem to be great. Not feeling very happy with myself at the moment. Thanks for your help I will give it a try.
1 looking sick (cant stand up), 1 chicken with one leg which doesn't seem to want to come down. 10 are looking healthy.
You might be able to help these two. I had one like this and I took cereal box type cardboard and cut out 2 little cross shaped booties and taped it into correct shape (with band-aid tape) onto each foot (good foot too so, it has to use both) - spread the toes into correct position and tape. Hold chick several times over the next day to allow legs to lower by gravity. Mine was laying on it's side and couldn't get up at all and I thought it would die but,by the next day with booties it was up and walking. within a week it was running with the other chicks. Worth a try?
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I am heading to bed soon so, Can you pull plug to add some warm water with a funnel and then replug quickly? This would get humidity up. I have shrink wraped a chick and was able to save it after I candled. I helped it hatch very carfully small piece by small bit of shell (watch for no blood) If there is blood STOP blood vessils not closed and chick is not ready to hatch. Start at air-sack but, if all goes well (no blood) but, chick has not absorbed all of egg yoke still OK just - put chick back in incubator with very warm wet paper towel covering over the chick and leave it be.

You can do a search on the site for "how to help a chick hatch". Yes there are those on the site that say if, it needs help to hatch it will always be sickly - That might be true if they are hatching natually with a broody hen but, when we incubate it's not natural so, things can be just a little off perfect and I have a few very nice birds that would not be here if, I hadn't helps and they are Not sickly and are nice quality birds.

Good Luck
Thank you for your help. I have taped the legs of the splay legged chickens with bandaids. I got this idea off BYC site. One has improved the other is still not good. I will leave it a bit longer though. I am giving it a drink every half hour or so, its not eating as yet. It has wobbled around so much on its hocks it has worn through the skin I have sprayed this with an antiseptic spray. For the incubator I added more warm water to bring the humidity back up. I did candle the eggs gently and they were all full with large air sacks I couldnt see any movement though. I put them back in and have been checking them but nothing has happened. The eggs that were pipped were not viable so I have disposed of them now. I will continue to wait until tomorrow morning this being the morning of day 25 but I would say that these chicks have died in the shell. I have certainly learnt what not to do. On a brighter note I have 10 healthy bright eyed fluff balls keeping us entertained. The kids are watching them keenly and giving them names. Thank you again for your help
Glad I could help some and really - Congratulations on all your little fuzzy butts! It's good to remember they don't all hatch - even by a broody hen. For the little weak one - you could try giving it some sugar water and raw egg yoke is good too. Anything to give it some energy to fight. Neosporin can be used on chicks wounds. It's great that the kids are having fun and enjoying the chicks.

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