My first ever hatch is going wrong... Please help

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Tricoglossus, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. Tricoglossus

    Tricoglossus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello well I will just explain the situation first. This is my first ever hatch. I am using a Janoel 12 egg incubator which is supposed to be "fully automatic", though in reality there is NO humidity control and I have been fighting against temperature fluctuations and the thing overheating throughout the incubation of this clutch of eggs, so I guess therein lies my first major problem. There were 8 fertile eggs in there, 4 of them I added 3 days after the first 4, so the hatch will be drawn out over a few days (possibly the second problem). I have been candling up until lockdown which was day 19 for the oldest 4 and day 16 for the youngest 4, the embryos were all a good size for their age. The instructions for the Janoel said to add 100ml of water to the incubator every 2 days, so I have continued to do that throughout lockdown (through the hole at the top of the incubator, via a straw and syringe, so I wouldnt have to open the top).

    On Friday at midday (day 21 for the oldest 4 eggs) one of the eggs started to pip. The beak pushed through then it withdrew back into the egg, then nothing else happened. I read that it can take from 30 minutes up to 3 days for a chick to hatch from pipping, so I just left it until this morning (sunday -day 23). However, none of the other eggs started to pip, and I became worried that there was no further activity at all in this pipped egg. I decided to investigate and took this one pipped egg out just now. The chick was dead in the shell, in the same position that it was when it first pipped. I opened up the shell, the membrane was moist, the yolk had not been absorbed, and there were what looked like a small amount of white urates that had been passed (though I am not sure if this was some other material, having never experienced a hatch before). I have photos if anyone needs to have a look. I am so disappointed as this was one of only 2 indian game eggs I had in this clutch, and I cannot get hold of any more. The rest of the eggs are silkie crosses from my flock.

    I don't know what to do to save the rest of the hatch. There are so many variables and it doesn't help that I have a slightly staggered clutch. I would be really grateful of any advice at all. I know I must have been doing something right to get 8 live embryos up to lockdown and to get one to live up until pipping. If I had done anything differently would my indian game chick have survived? It appears that the chick must have died just after pipping, when the activity stopped. Could it be that this chick was just too weak to get through the hatch, and the others are just late to pip?

    Please help!
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    ETA: What I suggest below is my opinion and I do not give out hope for your next set in few days to hatch. Good Luck.

    Do you own a hygrometer? If not did you take note of the air cell growth in the eggs during incubation? This is a good way to monitor humidity. For the egg sac not to be absorbed usually means you incubated at too high humidity. My first incubation attempt years ago I did that, had one chick hatch and it too did not absorb the yolk sac yet. The rest of them I assume drowned. Were fully developed but never pipped the shell. The air cell should grow to sufficient size to provide air when the chick internally pips into it. If there is not enough air the chick can't breath prior to pipping the shell.

    Here is a diagram that gives a general guide for air cell growth. When you candle on day 7 and 14 note your growth and compare. If not even close to size then lower humidity. It's summer in Austrailia now right? Is it very humid where you are or you near desert? I'm guessing it's humid and adding a set amount of water doesn't work well as there are differing environments. It's the same with stating a set humidity %, it's what works for you in your area at that time of year. Trial and error. Next hatch try only 50 ml or less every two days (candle day 7 and adjust if needed) until day 18 then 100 ml. Using this diagram below will keep you on track incubating whether you use a hygrometer or measured amount of water you adjust to stay on track, add more humidity during hatching though- day 18 to 21.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2014
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I’m not familiar with that incubator at all, so I can’t help you with control issues, other than try to keep it in as stable a place as you can from heat and humidity aspects. Don’t have it where sunlight can hit it or in drafts from air conditioning or from opening a door to the outside. Also, I suggest you calibrate your instruments, thermometer and hygrometer, and use your own, not the ones that came with the incubator. With most makes and models those instruments are unreliable.

    In general, if an embryo dies in the first week of incubation, it had something to do with something that happened before incubation started. If it dies in the last week, it had something to do with the incubation itself. Opening and evaluating the eggs can help you with that. Each incubator is different, even the same make and model. Just moving it from one side of the room to the other can affect the hatch. Different times of the year can make a difference too because the temperature and humidity of the air going into the incubator can make a difference.

    The instantaneous temperature isn’t that important as long as the valleys and especially the peaks don’t last too long. It takes quite a while for the egg itself to heat up or cool off compared to air temperature. Average incubating temperature is most important as long as you don’t cook the egg. The egg getting too cool is not as dangerous as too much heat.

    Humidity is pretty much the same. The egg needs to lose a certain amount of moisture during incubation, but not too much. There is a pretty wide band of what humidity will work, but you do need to be within that band. The hard part is that the band that works is different for different ones of us.

    This article might help you evaluate what might have gone wrong. As you can see, there are a lot of different things that could have caused that. Good luck in figuring out what it was. I know that is frustrating. Many of us have been there.

    Illinois Incubation troubleshooting
    http://urbanext.illinois.edu/eggs/res24-05.html
     
  4. Tricoglossus

    Tricoglossus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies. I just checked on the eggs before, I did not open the incubator but moved it a little to have a look around the side (can't see into the top on this model) at the eggs at the rear, and as I moved the eggs rocked a little and I heard peeping. So there is at least one live chick still in there - hopefully more than one.

    The incubator is this model which is for sale on Ebay Australia http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/New-Digi...pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item27dbfeac72&_uhb=1 . I have had it set up on the bathroom floor for the entire incubation time, as on the bathroom tiles is the coolest part of the house. We have had some quite hot days, with daily min-max temperatures of about 25 - 35.C (about 80-100 F). No sunlight can reach it in the bathroom, and the bathroom is not used for showering or washing of any kind, so the humidity and temperature is as stable in there as it can be.

    Egghead, thank you for providing the input on humidity. I neither bought a hydrometer nor marked the air cell onto the eggs when candled. In hindsight that was a mistake, but the problem is I purchased the machine with the understanding that it had a humidity sensor, but it doesn't seem to do so. I am in Perth which is on the edge of the desert, we have a Mediterranean climate here. The humidity is about 50% in the house, I have a bulky keyring with a hygrometer on it, but it seems too bulky to fit in the incubator. I could try to put it in now, but will it make a difference at this late stage? I thought that at hatch you had to have the humidity quite high.

    Ridgerunner, thanks for the article, however my chick did manage to pip the egg before it died. The article discusses chicks that died without pipping (though I guess some of those points may still apply?) This makes me think that maybe the chick was too weak to keep going? I wasn't at home when it pipped, my partner was here watching it and he said that once it pipped, which took 5-10 mins, it stopped and went still. Never made a peep. So sad!

    In conclusion, should I put my hygrometer keyring in the incubator? If the reading is high, is it a good idea to try to dry out the hatch at this late stage? I do not want to shrink wrap the chicks.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Humidity needs to be higher at the late stage of incubating. I'd leave it as is and hope for the best. If you let the incubator dry out now it wont aid anything and when they pip if too dry will shrink the membrane making it difficult to zip and hatch. Good news you heard peeping. Lets you know it can breath in there.

    I keep my house when heating, winter here and I hatch in spring when still heating, at 50% humidity with humidifier. Well it's in the large room I keep the incubator in at least. With that environment I have best results incubating at 35-40% and hatching at 55-60%.
     
  6. Tricoglossus

    Tricoglossus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Egghead. This has been a big learning curve for me. There are so many variables with hatching eggs and so many things that can go wrong! One thing's for sure, I think it really pays off to buy a good quality incubator, as I have read some bad things about the Janoel incubators on some forums (not sure if this brand is sold in the States,but it is the common brand available in Australia). I will keep you posted on this hatch, hopefully I will have some good news soon.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don’t know what it is with that website. I try to save and reference the home page for that article and it always sends me to that specific place. You need to be one step back. You might try this to see if it works.

    Open this site.

    http://urbanext.illinois.edu/eggs/

    Where it says “About This Site ! Resources” select Resources.

    Then pick the ”Incubation Troubleshooting” article on the right side. That is what I am trying to send you.
     
  8. Tricoglossus

    Tricoglossus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok thank you. That looks like a great site, I have bookmarked it. I think I may have more of an idea of what went wrong with this hatch once the hatch has run it's course. I will keep you updated. Interestingly, the advice on that website for troubleshooting is exactly the same for chicks that died in the shell both with or without pipping.
     
  9. Tricoglossus

    Tricoglossus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    I just had a look at the eggs again. from outside the incubator I shined a small torch onto each egg individually. The 23, soon to be 24 day old indian game egg peeped several times. So did a 20 day old silkie x egg. Neither has pipped yet. Now I am wondering if I need to think about assisting the Indian game chick out of its egg if it doesn't start pipping by the time I get back from uni tomorrow.
     
  10. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    DONT HELP THEM!!

    Let me say that again!

    DONT HELP THEM!

    Here's why.

    The chick in the egg gets oxygen through the membrane & shell. Its blood supply is going through the membrane.

    When the chick pips it exposes the membrane to the air & begins the process of shutting down the blood flowing.

    If you help - the chick will very likely bleed to death.



    Here is a rule of thumb when incubating -

    Set twice as many eggs as you want to hatch,
    Hatch twice as many as you want to be adult.


    After 2 or 3 hatches you will have a much higher result than that - but if you set your expectations low you will be pleasantly surprised when you do better.

    I built my own incubator - It took me 3 or 4 hatches before I had it down.

    You can buy a thermometer / Hydrometer at walmart for less than $20 - they are over by the lightbulbs.

    It really is hard to get it right as each & every incubator is different. Its a matter of humidity & air flow. The more airflow you have the higher the humidity needs to be. So if you have a small, well sealed incubator the humidity should be lower.

    I struggled with too low humidity because I had great air turnover. My chicks were all stuck in the shell because the membrane was so dry it was sticky.

    By the third hatch I had closed ALL of my air ports and was able to get a solid hatch.

    Keep at it - you will get better each time you do this.
     

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