Staggered hatch--does our plan sound ok?

SharW75

Songster
Jul 26, 2019
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Ohio
We have ended up having to do a staggered incubation and hatch this time. It certainly wasn't by choice, but the eggs we bought have become available at different times. The first batch went into the incubator two days ago, and the other two batches won't be going in until late this coming week or early the next week. We plan to use the automatic turner until the first batch is ready to go on lockdown. Then we plan put the other eggs, which will be at least a week to 10 days behind the first ones, into a cardboard egg carton (bottoms cut out) with one end elevated, then alternate which end is elevated several times a day to simulate the upright egg turner. Theoretically, that would reduce the time we have to have the incubator open once the first eggs go on lock down. Once the first eggs start pipping, we'll just suspend turning until those babies hatch. Does that sound reasonable? Is there anything else you would recommend?
 
Thank you! It looks like both other batches of eggs shipped today, so here's hoping they make it by the weekend! :fl
 
I'm in the same boat exactly. I'm thinking of taking out the week behind eggs when the older ones go into lockdown using a heat lamp since I do dry incubation anyways.
 
We have ended up having to do a staggered incubation and hatch this time. It certainly wasn't by choice, but the eggs we bought have become available at different times. The first batch went into the incubator two days ago, and the other two batches won't be going in until late this coming week or early the next week. We plan to use the automatic turner until the first batch is ready to go on lockdown. Then we plan put the other eggs, which will be at least a week to 10 days behind the first ones, into a cardboard egg carton (bottoms cut out) with one end elevated, then alternate which end is elevated several times a day to simulate the upright egg turner. Theoretically, that would reduce the time we have to have the incubator open once the first eggs go on lock down. Once the first eggs start pipping, we'll just suspend turning until those babies hatch. Does that sound reasonable? Is there anything else you would recommend?
Staggered hatches are definitely doable.
It is just important to keep a couple things in mind. Turning is very important the first two weeks. If you miss turning a day or so, it isn't the end of the world. Early in incubation a hen will turn hourly and less as time goes on. However, I don't think she knows that she got all the eggs turned each time or some at all in a particular day.
Does your incubator have a fan? If not, be mindful of thermal stratification in a still air incubator. By that I mean raising one end of the carton may cause the eggs on the high end to be too hot or the low end to be cooler.
Humidity can be all over the place in a natural incubation due to ambient conditions. When it is critical to elevate it is when pipping begins.

I'm in the same boat exactly. I'm thinking of taking out the week behind eggs when the older ones go into lockdown using a heat lamp since I do dry incubation anyways.
I would look for a different way to create a warm space as close as possible to 100F without using a heat lamp. A infrared lamp heats what it is aimed at, not the entire space so some eggs could become too hot and others too cool.
 
Staggered hatches are definitely doable.
It is just important to keep a couple things in mind. Turning is very important the first two weeks. If you miss turning a day or so, it isn't the end of the world. Early in incubation a hen will turn hourly and less as time goes on. However, I don't think she knows that she got all the eggs turned each time or some at all in a particular day.
Does your incubator have a fan? If not, be mindful of thermal stratification in a still air incubator. By that I mean raising one end of the carton may cause the eggs on the high end to be too hot or the low end to be cooler.
Humidity can be all over the place in a natural incubation due to ambient conditions. When it is critical to elevate it is when pipping begins.


I would look for a different way to create a warm space as close as possible to 100F without using a heat lamp. A infrared lamp heats what it is aimed at, not the entire space so some eggs could become too hot and others too cool.

Thank you! Our eggs showed up yesterday, and we set them today. The two batches will be about a week apart. Our incubator does have a fan, so hopefully there aren't any hot or cool spots. We do move the eggs around to different areas in the incubator just in case, though. Unless we see any early pippers, we will be holding off on lock down for the first eggs until day 18, which will put the other eggs at day 11. If we put the second bunch into an earlier lockdown (day 14 or 15) as the other chicks are hatching we should be ok. I hope. :fl
 
If your incubator isn't running hot, I would wait till day 19 or 20 to lockdown so you can continue turning the newer eggs. But that's just me.
I've had chicks hatch in an energized turner and do OK but again, that's just me.
 
If your incubator isn't running hot, I would wait till day 19 or 20 to lockdown so you can continue turning the newer eggs. But that's just me.
I've had chicks hatch in an energized turner and do OK but again, that's just me.

The temp is right about 100.2 to 100.4, and has remained pretty steady so far. The first hatch was the same temp, and the babies hatched on about day 20, and into day 21.
 

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