Questions about incubating eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by BantamMama13, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. BantamMama13

    BantamMama13 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 19, 2013
    I was wondering if it was ok to incubate the egg as soon as it is laid, or do I need to stockpile them until there are a certain amount? I have one egg in my incubator right now, and I expect another egg to be laid today. Can I put them in the incubator one at a time? How will this affect the hatching of later eggs, or the earlier eggs? I am new to incubation and chickens! I had my mother hen hatch her first batch with me, but we ended up losing all ten chicks that hatched. I am trying to prevent further mishaps by doing this myself!
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    It is possible to do a staggered hatch, but it's difficult when you need to lock down, up the humidity, regulate the humidity while still turning the later eggs etc. For the best hatch results rather stockpile the eggs and set them all at the same time. Ideally you should store them no longer than 10 days, but if needed you can store them as long as 2 weeks and still get fairly good hatch results. Store them in a cool, fairly humid place, at a temperature of around 55-65*F.
  3. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    no.. you don't NEED to "lockdown" .. that is a myth

    You also do not NEED to up the humidity for every hatch

    I have staggered hatches all of the time since we are constantly adding in new eggs.. I do take a small break here and there for each incubator in order to clean it (we usually are running 5 to 6 incubators and all contain staggered hatches).. however it's perfectly fine to leave the humidity alone at hatch and open the incubator as needed . I hand turn eggs 5 times a day.. so my incubators are opened a lot..

    Once you understand how YOUR incubator works in YOUR home then you can decide if you need to raise humidity or not.. as it is I am incubating AND hatching DRY as well as opening each incubator several times a day whether eggs are hatching or not.. I get 100% hatch rates on fertile undamaged eggs

    It can be done (and there are quite a few people on here who do it but then usually stay quiet so as to not rouse the masses)..

    but the blanket statements of having to "lockdown" or raise humidity are just that.. blanket statements

    the most important thing to understand is how to monitor the air cells or weight loss of the eggs in order to gauge if that particular hatch needs higher humidity or not. Weather conditions, time of year, location of the incubators, porosity of the shells and so on all play a part in how much humidity you need

    here in Texas it has been a wet year.. so I have gone with 0 added water throughout humidity and hatch.. the chicks are hatching out fine on their own with no assistance and I have not lost a single egg that was developing

    the vast majority of incubation and hatch issues are caused by:
    the humidity being too high during incubation (bloated chicks, sticky amber coated chicks, drowned chicks from too much albumen in the eggs)
    lack of oxygen and fresh air exchange (carbon dioxide poisoning from vents being closed.. leave the darn vents OPEN throughout incubation AND hatch)
    large temperature swings (power outages, incubator malfunction by people or accident, faulty thermometers giving false readings)
    bacteria (cracked, rotten eggs, improper sterilization of incubator, equipment or hands allowing eggs to become contaminated causing the embryo to die)
    fan placement in the incubator which is improperly placed can blow air ONTO the hatching eggs which can cause shrink wrapping when the air should be blown AROUND the eggs.. most problematic with eggs that have a large pip and a slow chick who takes too long of a break allowing the fan to dry out the membrane..NOT humidity related!
    lack of proper turning during storage and/or incubation (stuck embryos that die during incubation or sticky chicks covered in amber goo that hardens around the chick at hatch)

    there are other things that can cause problems at hatch.. however those are the most common..
    Since eggs CAN hatch just fine in a properly built incubator even when the incubator is opened during hatch (for several minutes at a time) "lockdown" becomes a myth very quickly

    In the good ol days we never used the term "lockdown" .. i had only heard of it when I first came to this forum.. it was created by the "old timers" to dissuade newbies from messing with the eggs and put the blame squarely on the shoulders of any newbie who opened their incubator and ended up with issues at hatch...
    since MOST commercial home incubators on the market have flawed fan placement the myth grew.. putting the blame on the "newbie" who opened their incubator instead of onto the manufacturers of the incubators.

    Bottom line.. LEARN how YOUR incubator works in YOUR home at any particular time of year with varied weather conditions and different shell porosity.. then do what works for YOU
    monitor air cells or weight loss of the eggs and adjust the humidity as THOSE eggs demand.. NOT what someone else sets their humidity at since y'all don't live in the same home..
    learn your incubator and see where the fan is if it has one.. pay attention to what YOU have in front of you
    Once you do staggered hatches are NOT an issue

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