Incubation issues... late deaths, inner membrane ripped but egg not pipped.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by eksterhuis, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. eksterhuis

    eksterhuis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2012
    I have been having medium success hatching at 37.7 degrees Celsius at about 55% humidity, but having late deaths in the hatcher (37degrees 65-75% humidity) I guess getting 4-6 deaths per 30 eggs during lock down. The later ones that hatch have been slightly shrink wrapped and some deaths without pipping (wet inside inner membrane during eggtopsy). This has been with a variety of different eggs.

    I tried reducing the humidity during hatch to about 40% but had A LOT more deaths from about 14 days onwards. All but 2 out of 40 eggs died this time round with reduced humidity. 6 made it into lock down, one has hatched and 4 have died, I did an eggtopsy on them, they had pipped the inner membrane then died. Very wet inside inner membrane tight with lots of liquid inside, how can this be so with such low humidity?

    Just wondering how to make my hatches better.

    Any info would be great. Sorry about Celsius but I am in New Zealand and I don't understand Fahrenheit!
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  3. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

    Aug 23, 2012
    My Coop
    x2 check out the eggtopsy for sure...... here is a paste from the article in re to what happened to my eggs!

    "Shrink wrap" vs. "Sticky chick"?
    Shrink wrapped: before pipping, both inner and out membranes dry tight around the chick; caused by too little humidity throughout incubation

    Sticky chick: after pipping, the liquids dry becoming glue-like followed by concrete-like; caused by too little humidity during lockdown

    Wet sticky or Swollen: the chick is swollen with water or simply very wet and sticky; caused by too high humidity throughout incubation

    Drowning: the whitish outer membrane is dry while the clearish inner membrane is wet, binding the chick; also caused by too high humidity thoughout incubation

    *Chicks experiencing more than one of the extreme conditions can exhibit multiple issues.
    *These same issues can also occur during natural incubation, under a brooding hen.

    Float Testing, Checking Egg Viability For Late Or Overdue Hatching Give Eggs A Full 24 Hrs Overdue Before Float Testing. It Works On All Bird Eggs- Period! Takes Very Little Equipment Or Time To Do And Is Easy To Perform.

    Eggtopsy: What happened to my egg?

    check out
    Trouble Shooting Failures with Egg Incubation @

    This is also a great pdf with pics: paste link in browser search:

    ALSO this PDF at the last pages have a chart that shows what could have happened....

    Pipped eggs that do not hatch
    If chick embryos develop to the pipping stage, or at first shell cracking at hatching, they are normally healthy enough to hatch unless some incubator adjustment prevents it from happening. The problem is usually caused by either 1) poor ventilation or 2) improper humidity.

    The air exchange requirement within an incubator is greatest during the last day of incubation. The chick embryo's oxygen requirement continually increases during development and especially when breathing using the respiratory system just before hatching. The vent openings are frequently restricted at this time in an attempt to boost incubator humidity. Instead of helping the chick hatch, the chick is suffocated from lack of ventilation. Never decrease ventilation openings at hatching in an attempt to increase humidity. Increase humidity by other methods. If any vent adjustments are made, they should be opened more.

    Another reason for mortality during hatching is improper humidity adjustment. The deaths can be produced from too much humidity during the entire incubation period or from too little humidity during the hatching period.

    The desired egg weight loss during incubation caused by water evaporation is about 12 percent. If humidity during incubation is kept too high, adequate water evaporation from the egg is prevented. The chick can drown in the water remaining in the shell at hatching. A dried coating around the chick's nostrils and beak indicates that drowning was likely. Attention to maintaining proper incubation humidity during incubation will reduce the potential for this problem at hatching time.
    If the humidity is allowed to decrease after the chick pips the shell, the membranes within the shell can dry-out and stick to the chick. This prevents the chick from turning inside the shell and stops the hatching process. The chick eventually dies. If the membranes around the shell opening appear dried and shrunken, the cause is probably low humidity during hatching. This condition can occur quickly (within 1 or 2 minutes) when the incubator is opened to remove or assist other chicks that are hatching. When hatching begins and proper incubator conditions are attained, the incubator should never be opened until after all chicks are hatched and ready for placement in the brooder. Per Gypsy: Chicks dying during incubation because of excess humidity is NOT the same thing as chicks drowning. It's a very badly misused term. An embryo can fail to develop and die at any stage of the incubation. And excess humidity can be the cause of the embryo dying. But a chick can only drown AFTER it has pipped internally into the air cell and started trying to breathe air. If there is excess fluid in the egg at this time, the chick can inhale it and drown. But before it pips into the air sac, it isn't breathing air, so how could it drown?

    So a chick that has drowned will have pipped internally into the air cell. It might also have pipped the shell. If you're doing carton hatching I think it would be quite easy to see. Break a small hole through the shell into the air cell and have a look. If it has broken through to the air cell then drowning is a possibility. Tip the egg up and see if any fluid drips out. At this stage of development and hatching, there should be almost no liquid left in the egg so if fluid drips out, the chick most likely did drown. I think a chick that drowned could have either an unabsorbed yolk sac or an almost totally absorbed one, depending on whether it drowned immediately after breaking through to the air sac, or after 12 hours of resting and absorbing the yolk. That is definitely possible, depending on the positioning of the egg. Also even with lots of fluid in the egg, the chick might be lucky and not drown. If it manages to keep its beak above the fluid, it can still hatch okay.

    A chick that hasn't pipped internally into the air cell has NOT drowned. It may have died during incubation due to excess humidity conditions, but technically, it has not drowned. So do the same thing and have a look in the egg. If the chick looks almost fully developed but it hasn't broken through to the air sac, break the egg open into a bowl and see if it looks like there is a lot of excess fluid. The more fully developed the chick is, the less fluid there should be.

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