Need recomendations or suggestions Hatching chicks dying in the shell


Oct 1, 2020
Help, the last two incubator loads have had several chicks dying in the shell as they are trying or just before trying to get out.
The incubator temp is at 99.5 degrees with very little fluctuation and humidity is about 68 to 70%. The chicks pip the shell and never get any farther or some times they pip then start to unzip around the shell but never make it out. this last batch had 7 that ended that way. I am wondering about the oxygen level and maybe more ventilation or space could be needed. the incubator olds 54 eggs but when removed from the auto turner they seem very crowded also the fertile rate right now is less than 30% maybe less. I try to get all the infertile eggs out but also worry about opening and closing the incubator for to long or to often to get all the bad eggs out. so some bad eggs get left in till after the good ones hatch. I think I'm going to start only putting only 2 dozen eggs at a time in the incubator and try that.


Premium Feather Member
Mar 10, 2019
The chickens health needs to be taken into account too. If the chickens that are laying the hatching eggs are being given a 18-20% complete feed and are healthy birds in general then I'd start thinking about the incubating part.


Dec 6, 2019
Eastern Oregon
You can salt test the hygrometer. I would double check the thermometers as well, I’ve had ones that showed the same temp but were actually just both off by the same amount. I compare mine to a medical thermometer, but the ice test is supposed to be pretty reliable as well.
I do wonder if there could be issues with the breeding stock. Where are you getting your eggs from? Is it the same birds every time?

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