Need help understanding


Apr 7, 2020
Westcliffe, CO
This is my second attempt at hatching some chicks and although it went better it still wasn’t very good. My first hatch I set 12 and 2 hatched. I opened all of the I hatched eggs and they were all fertilized and appear to have stopped developing in the early stages/embryo. I just finished my second hatch. I set 20 and 7 hatched. Again, I opened all I hatched eggs and it was the same thing. They were all fertilized but never developed past the embryo stage except one that was fully developed. I am desperate to figure out what I’m doing wrong and what I can do to have a more successful hatch. I store my eggs in a cool room, nothing older than 6 days goes in the incubator, I don’t wash my eggs and I only incubate clean eggs, my temp is set at 99.5, and I keep the humidity 50-60%. Please help! I have attached a picture of the unhatched eggs.
Jan 4, 2020
Arlington Washington
That is a bummer when so many don’t make it :(

Some times the thermometers that are built into the incubators are wrong. You will want to make sure you have a second, calibrated (very important) thermometer. If you don’t already of course. Second, I would lower the humidity down to 30% to 35%. I had a tough time getting chicks to hatch when I had higher humidity. Now I don’t add water at all during incubation. Many successful hatches after some changes were made.

Here is a quick way to check/calibrate a thermometer...

Here’s an easy way to check a second hygrometer, which is also often wrong in incubators...


5 Years
Aug 11, 2016
At 50-60%, the humidity might be a tad high during incubation, but I doubt that accounts for all the quitters. This resource may be helpful for troubleshooting, too. Wishing you better future hatches!


Jan 24, 2021
50% humidity is the ideal humidity so like Food says that would not account for all the quitter which looked like they happened during week 2 of incubating.

Having an accurately calibrated thermometer is crucial - calibrating it with Ice is not a reliable method! so for the 100th time accuracy is vital for temperature - less so for humidity

this is how to know if your thermometer is accurate or not:

To me the most important aspect is what was changed from the first incubation to the second incubation which did increase hatch rate slightly even if it was still only 30% that hatched.
Something improved! So you need to ask yourself what fraction of change happened to increase your success even if it was not the result you hoped for.

Did you have the incubator running for 24 hours before adding eggs. Did you bring the eggs up to the right temperature slowly over several hours before adding cold eggs to a warm incubator?
Did you leave the incubator open while candling eggs?

Is the temperature in your incubator the same all over the incubator - this is woth investigating by moving a thermometer around the incubator, let is settle for an hour then check. Some incubators need a certain ambient temperature so if the room temp is too low it can affect the temperatures, avoid fluctuating room temperatures or anywhere near a door or window.

To help you decide it would help to know when the 7 hatched- ie what day after setting the eggs. If they hatched early chances are the temps were too high, if they hatched late then temps might have been too low but fluctuating temps can cause this too

were you hand turning or using an automatic turner? Hand turning has always given me good results but you need to make sure you wash your hands every time you handle the eggs.
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