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need input on hatching problems --

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by amazondoc, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

    Mar 31, 2008
    Lebanon, TN
    Heyall --

    I have six bouncing (or at least wobbling) baby fuzzballs this morning. But I think I could have had more. So I need y'all's input, for the sake of future hatches!

    This is the very same hatcher as for my previous cochin hatch. The cochins had no problem hatching. This batch was wheaten Marans. Incubator humidity was kept 45-50%, with the occasional drop into the 20's when the tray went dry. Hatcher humidity was kept above 65%. The hatcher hygrometer has been calibrated by the wet salt method, and it actually reads 3-4% low. I kept it READING at least 65%, so actual humidity was probably above 68%. Temps in both incubator (Sportsman) and hatcher (Hovabator with fan) were kept as close to 100 as possible.

    Here's my results:

    I started with 15 eggs.

    2 were broken in shipping.

    2 didn't develop.

    2 pipped and hatched on their own.

    The rest, I had to help. Even the first ones I opened had dry membranes, which I don't really understand given that the humidity in the hatcher was reading at least 65% at all times.

    The first chick pipped on the morning of day 21, and hatched overnight. Two more chicks pipped on the morning of day 22. One of those hatched on its own in the afternoon.

    I started opening eggs around mid-morning day 22. I only opened three eggs at that time. One had pipped internally, one had not, and the third turned out to be one of the undeveloped eggs. I started opening the rest of the eggs during the afternoon and evening.

    Of those I helped:

    1 was malformed (only one eye).

    2 quickly died in shell.

    1 died after long attempts to finish hatching.

    1 never did resorb his umbilical blood overnight although he had come out of the egg, and died this morning (day 23). This is the only one who bled to death (I finally detached him from the egg this morning, but he was already very weak). The others had only minimal bleeding.

    The last four hatched successfully with my help, and appear to be healthy little fuzz balls.

    So the development rate was great, especially given that the package was handled roughly enough to break two eggs. And I know that Marans are well known for hatching problems. But I want your input -- what did I do wrong or right here? Why was the hatch so spread out? What should I try differently in the future?
  2. millebantam

    millebantam Songster

    Nov 24, 2008
    Little Rhody
    I would double check my thermometer. Do you use a water wiggler to be sure of the internal temp of the eggs? It sounds like they were victims of lower temps. Those slow developers or late hatchers always seem to be really sticky for some reason. Just a guess on my behalf because I had something similar happen. I cured it once I was positive of the internal temps of the eggs and believed in the wiggler, and not the air temp on the thermometer.
  3. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing 9 Years

    Oct 16, 2008
    I think you might have put later hatchlings at risk by opening the bator to help some hatch..
  4. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

    Mar 31, 2008
    Lebanon, TN
    I didn't have a water thingy this time, but I did have THREE thermometers -- the high priced dial type, the cheapo therm/hygrometer, and a clinical digital thermometer. They did not all read exactly the same, but they did read within a degree.

    I'll add the water thingy next time......
  5. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

    Mar 31, 2008
    Lebanon, TN
    Quote:I agree with you there. I was trying to balance risks, but I can only guess whether I did more harm than good.

    And in this case, "opening" the bator is not as bad as in some situations. My Hovabator actually has removable windows -- so, instead of taking the whole lid off, I just have to remove a window to take out an egg or a chick. And after I started helping chicks, I added even more water and another sponge to bring the humidity up above 80%. So I minimized the danger as much as possible, but of course it's still there!

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