Problems hatching eggs


In the Brooder
Sep 12, 2015
Hi I've been trying to hatch chicken eggs. I've done this several times now, and very successfully but now I don't know why but they aren't hatching. When I candle the eggs, I know they're ferliized and developing. I check the temperature and humidity twice daily to make sure it's just right. The babies start to make the peephole then they just die. That's happened to all the eggs the last two times I've tried incubating them. I have eggs in the incubator now and two just started making peepholes. I'm worried they might just die. Is there anything I can do to make sure they don't die? And why would they even be dying after the peephole? I don't lift the lid after day 18 except the tiniest bit to add water. I'm not sure was going on I've never had this happen before.
Humidty should be around 65 percent, if it is too high they simply drown when they peep.
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We need more info. Did you calibrate all of your instruments before you got started (which should be done before each hatch)? Is your 'bator still or force air? What temp and humidy (first 18 days and lockdown) did you run at? Are these your own eggs or were they shipped?

It could be a humidity issue, causing them to drown. Or, it could be a temp issue and the chicks are just too weak to make it out.

I'll wait for a response to all of those questions, and try to help as best I can once there's more information :)
You might look through these. I agree we need more info before we can offer specific help, the big question, what are you doing differently? If you’ve gone from success to failure, something has changed.

Mississippi State Incubation Troubleshooting

Illinois Incubation troubleshooting

My first thought is are you smothering them? Are you getting bad air replaced by good? They need to breathe so if you are not getting some air circulation, they could be suffocating. Are your plugs in or out?

Are you incubating them early on narrow side up? They can’t pip very well that way.

Are you turning them properly? Improper turning early in incubation can cause that.

Then you have temperature and humidity.

Have you opened the unhatched eggs to try to see what is going on? That can give a lot of good info.
The first 18 days the temperature was 99 F and the humidity was 65% the incubator is still air and these eggs are my own. All the eggs I've hatched have been from my own chickens. I always have my incubator running for three or four days before I put in the eggs and I've been doing everything the same way each time I've tried to hatch. One did hatch about an hour ago and is doing fine but one that made a peephole last night still hasn't moved yet. Is there anything I can/should do to help it? I'm pretty sure she's still alive.
For a still air, temp should be 101-101.5F measured at the top of the eggs. Your humidity sounds high as well, which means you're eggs aren't loosing enough moisture. Most 'bator instructions recommend 50% the first 18 days. That's still too high in my opinion. I aim to run mine around 30-40%, depending on the ambient humidity, and I monitor air cells to makes sure they're on track.

You didn't answer one VERY important question though, did you calibrate your thermometer(s) and hygrometer(s) before you got started? If you're instruments aren't reading correctly, you're doomed from the start...

I don't assist, that's a personal decision you'll have to make on your own. You might want to read through the hatching 101 guide in this section of the forum, there are recommendations for assisting in there. Good luck!
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I did calibrate the thermometers and stuff to make sure they were working properly. And thought they were supposed to have a high humidity unless I'm confusing the chicken eggs with when I hatched duck eggs. ill have to try again but next time with lower humidity and hopefully I'll be successful again.
Your humidity may be too low and as soon as they poke the hole the dry air drys out the membrane and they get stuck to it and thus can't get out. If they have poked a hole in the shell I would say they haven't drowned. If they were drowning that would happen as soon as they pierce the air sack not the shell. Another thought is if they are piping early your temp may be too high and they are developing too fast but lack strength. When I incubate I use at least two different hygrometers and they never read exactly the same so I take an average.
If the humidity is actually 65%, I doubt they're drying out. I've had chicks manage to pip and hatch after running too high, and when others pip, the already hatched chicks roll the eggs around and they drown that way.

Bandit, have you been doing eggtopsies on your unhatched eggs? If so, are they wet or dry when you open them?

Anyhoo, I think we've all been here at some point or another. All you can really do is make some changes and keep note of what works and what doesn't. Good luck with your next hatch, :fl it goes better than the previous ones!
The last time I tried to hatch I did open up the eggs to look at the chicks. The chicks were fully developed but were kind of dry. I'll make some changes for next time. Thanks for the help!
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