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Need help, advise etc.. Lost most of my eggs in the last week!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Deputy Chicken, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. Deputy Chicken

    Deputy Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Ok, Im first time trying to hatch eggs. Used a hovabator with auto turner. Pulled turner and let eggs set in incubator after. Temp right on, added water to trays as instructions say.

    MOST of my eggs had live wiggling embryos at 7 days and 14 days.

    Sometime in the last week, lost almost all of them. Had 28 live embryo eggs at day 14. Now have only 4 chicks. Recandled eggs, no signs of activity. some sloshing inside, some not.

    Im leaving the non sloshers in the incubator for a couple more days. Oh yeah, on day 25 now. one hatched yesterday, but underdeveloped and probably wont make it.

    Someone please tell me where I might have gone wrong. Checked the temps constantly. I did however candle numerous times, but no handling other than that. Had one egg go rotten about a week ago, started seeping and stinking.. my fault i dropped it during candling and decided to leave it to see if it might make it.

    Also had a thunderstorm with lots of lighting come through about a week ago. Heard a wives tail that thunder would kill chicks in the egg?

    Anyway, someone please advise me... desperate and very upset
     
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    the thunder thing is just a wive's tail.

    it sounds to me like your temperature was low. humidity could have also been high.

    did you calibrate your thermometer? even the ones that come with the incubator can be a few degrees off, digital are usually have a tolerance of 3 to 4 degrees - so just because its digital doesn't make it right.

    air cell development is the best way to tell humidity. here is a link to a picture:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/g/i/5437102/a/6325858/4th-annual-byc-nyd-hatch-a-long/
    if your air cell was to small your humidity is to high. - most people have trouble with high humidity, low usually isnt an issue.

    i hope this helps, just so you know most people dont do very well on a first batch. dont get discouraged, i urge you to try again. it gets much easier with practice.
     
  3. Deputy Chicken

    Deputy Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Thank you for the response and the link.

    I used double thermometer. one digital one mercury.

    The air sacks appeared to be too large. but i believe your right about humidity issues. im gonna go buy a hygrometer tomorrow.
     
  4. Deputy Chicken

    Deputy Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Also i think i may need to leave the eggs in the turner longer. Most of those that died seemed to have died after placing them in a stationary position. Had one pipp on the wrong end of the egg as well, didnt make it even with the big end slightly up
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I think this is pretty good for troubleshooting incubation problems.

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

    Generally, if the egg quits in the first week, it was because of something that happened before the eggs went in the incubator. If the egg quits in the last week it is because of something to do with incubation. It’s really helpful to open the eggs that don’t hatch and try to determine exactly when they stopped. That takes away a lot of the guessing. Often it’s still not really clear.

    The only way that storm could have caused a problem would be for it to knock your power out for a long time. At the age your eggs were, that would have taken a real long time, half a day at least.

    Your problems were not due to your candling or handling them. What’s important is not the air temperature for a few minutes. The core temperature at the middle of that egg is what is important. It takes quite a while for that to cool off enough to make a difference.

    Turning the eggs is really important the first part of incubation but they really don’t have to be turned after 14 days of development. We normally stop turning when we raise the humidity more for our convenience than because of a real need for the timing to be that critical. The extra turning won’t hurt them but in your case, it would not have helped.

    It sounds like you need to calibrate both of your thermometers. Until you calibrate them you really don’t know what you are dealing with. I’ve seen the same brand and model of thermometers on the shelf at the store read 7 degrees different when laying side by side. They can be off that much.

    You did not mention if your Hovabator is a forced air or still (thermal) air. If it is a forced air (has a fan) the temperature should be the same anywhere inside. Hot air rises. If it is a still air, it is very important where you take the measurement. In a forced air you are shooting for 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit all over. In a still air, you need 101.5 degrees F at the top of the eggs.

    With what you describe it sounds like your temperature was low. Whether that was due to the thermometers or taking the temperature in the wrong place I can’t tell. A couple of other things that sometimes cause a late mass die-off are that you incubated the eggs upside down or you did not have the vents open and the chicks suffocated because they did not get enough fresh air. But I really think the temperature was just too low.

    To convince yourself that the hatch is over, you can try the float test. Put any egg that has not pipped in a bowl of water and let them settle. If the egg wiggles on its own, there is something alive in there. Put it back in the incubator. If it does not wiggle, there is nothing alive in there. If the egg has pipped you can’t do that because you will drown the chick, but with an egg that has not pipped you won’t hurt it.

    Most of us don’t have such rotten luck our first incubation but many of us do find that we have to tweak the incubation to get it right. It’s a rough learning experience for you but it gives you the chance to get your next one a lot better. Good luck with that.
     
  6. Deputy Chicken

    Deputy Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 8, 2013
    Thank you so much for the response. I think you may be onto something. I measured temps at the top of the eggs and tried to keep it right at 99.5. still air incubator.

    how do you calibrate a thermometer?

    also, i didnt remove the vent. each egg that pipped was set in a small brooder/ uncubator in shaving. each one that pipped hatched except the one that pipped on the bottom of the egg

    I will recalibrate and go for a slightly higher temp. next time. 101.5.

    power only went out for a few minutes during the storm, no significant change in temp at that time.

    also believe i will float the remaining eggs, still have about 10 eggs working on day 27, gonna try that and see, no hopeful as i said, no signs of moverment during candling.

    thank you again.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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