Low hatch rate - suggestions needed


In the Brooder
10 Years
Aug 11, 2009
I had 4 good looking eggs and 1 iffy one when I left the incubator in lock down and had to go away for a few days. Day 20 one chick hatched and was helped out of the egg by my partner. I wasn't here so couldn't say how long the incubator was open for or anything. Now it's day 22 and the other eggs don't look to be doing anything. I candled last night and couldn't see any movement or beaks into air sac.
What's the most likely reason for my eggs giving up at the last minute? Would low humidity prevent them being able to get through into the air sac? I've read that humidity spikes when the first chick hatches - up or down?
Would I be able to get a small enough humidity checker thing to go in my incubator? It's a Brinsea ECO. I don't plan to hatch anymore until next spring but will be planning to drop the temp a little, or stop the turning one day early. Does this sound like a good plan?
The chick I have is lovely, but now it means I have 2 lone chicks from 2 hatches. I'll wait till the newest gets a bit bigger and then introduce them to each other so they'll have company.
It's frustrating when things look to be going right and then just stop in the final stages and I really want to get to the bottom of it. I can't blame dud eggs this time around.
Thanks in advance for suggestions.
I'm also trying out my hand at hatching, my 4 eggs should hatch on the 8th. Your eggs probally didnt hatch because bator was opened, during hatching your not supposed to open bator after 18th day. they need heat and humidity to hatch. My bator has been staying at around 99-100. with the humidity at around 45-50. I use acurite temp/hum digital themo. I got at Walmart. I'm sorry your eggs didnt hatch. I fully expected none of mine to hatch, but when I candled them last night there was movement all I could do was say"Whoa NO Way, it worked" then I said this is bad, winters coming, looks like the gargage will be chickie house till big enough to be with big girls. I'm new at this and doing what works for me, but they havent hatched so I dont know if it works. Mistakes happen, we can only learn if we make mistakes, they make us wiser.
*usually* that man-made rules can be use (1-18 low humid,temp100,19-21 high humid). that's the man-made rules, good rules i think but sometimes mother nature *said* other.

i think we can't *fully* controlled the hatching rates, but yes we can try to do it or to improve it's rates.

and for your plan to lower temp, stop turn early, i think there's no harm in trying, but make sure you don't use expensive eggs for experiment.

and small enough humidity checker? of course, i even have ever seen a little looks like a lighter size humidity checker, my advice: find reliable thermohygrometer (device to check temp and humid) and make sure you calibrate it before.

I personally would think that the hatch was compromised by the 'bator being open. Can you ask your partner about how long it was open? Low humidity essentially shrink-wraps them so they are unable to move around and pip out, from what I understand (and I can vouch for this, unfortunately).

Whereabouts are you located? If you are in the UK (I am guessing you are), there are Garden Centres with small hygrometers, made by Komodo. You just peel the adhesive backing off and press it to whatever surface you have available. Ascott Smallholding also has a small one as well; you can google them for their website.

Yes, the humidity spikes after the first hatch, but generally it is not much - less than 5% for me, until the rest start hatching and them humidity jumps way up there.

I would keep your temps at 99.5 and humidity at 45% - those numbers are fairly tried and true. Dropping your temp may give you a delayed hatch. I am not sure what the advantage would be to stop turning a day earlier, unless you are hatching a breed that is known to hatch early, such as seramas.

Hope this helps,

Last edited:
if the humidity wasn't the problem, it might have been a problem with egg handling before you even set them in the bator.

I've had eggs that got too cold before incubation and they went nearly to full term and died within the last two or three days.

Food for thought. The eggs came from a breeder who really seems to know what he's doing regarding handling eggs. They were shipped but basically an hour on board a couriers vehicle and then I let them settle for over 12 hours. Next time though I'll go pick some up (due a baby soon so didn't fancy the journey in the car this time around!)
Yep the brinsea is forced air. I was wondering about oxygen levels too but forced air is supposed to sort that isn't it?
It's a real pity if they did end up shrink wrapped from the incubator being opened. I was really hopeful for this hatch. Partner just said it wasn't open for long but he's not particularly careful and I can imagine that the lid may have been left off in between taking out the chick and removing the shell and replacing the chick. I left strict instructions not to open it but he really thought the chick was in danger, which it might have been. I doubt it but as I say I wasn't here.
Was thinking of stopping turning a day early since it's the 2nd hatch where I've had early chicks. The first hatch gave me a chick on day 20 and this hatch on day 20 1/2.
I'll have a look for the mini hygrometers - thanks Cheryln! I'm in Ireland - keep meaning to update my profile.
Thanks for input everyone.
Well I opened up 2 of the unhatched eggs and think now that my humidity must have been too high as they were really soggy inside. Will defo invest in a hygrometer next time so I don't drown any more

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom