staggered hatch: how to protect the younger eggs from hatchlings?

gaeamama

Songster
12 Years
Jun 17, 2007
404
1
139
WMass.
Well, I ended up with a staggered hatch going on. i have 9 eggs on day 20 right now, another 33 on day 6. I did make a bator out of an old cooler, but it's only been a day and I'm too nervous to test my eggies in there. I'll still fiddle with it some today though to see if I can finish it up and keep temps stable.

So right now I have all in one incubator and they may stay that way. But I want to protect the younger eggs from getting bumped and dirtied up by the hatchlings. What should I do? I'm thinking maybe cut up some egg cartons like I would when I hatch in them, but place it upside down over the eggs as a sort of barrier?? Should I bother with anything?

I know others on here have done staggered hatches, but I don't how the other eggs were protected, if at all. Any suggestions?

TIA
 

madornato

In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 2, 2009
83
0
39
Newnan, GA
Hi. I'm sorry--I don't have an answer for you, but I want to follow this thread. I have/had a staggered hatch. I had 22 eggs in my incubator that were all supposed to hatch last weekend, but I had temp. problems so only 14 of the 22 hatched, 2 of those died soon after and 2 are crippled. There were and still are 3 eggs in there that are supposed to hatch this upcoming weekend, but I'm not sure if they'll hatch because of those temp. problems. When the 14 chicks were in the incubator before being moved to the brooder, they were running all over the place and kicking around those other three eggs. I just figured that they were doing my job of turning the eggs. But, my question is, how does the humidity changes affect the staggered hatches because the humidity is supposed to be increased on the last 3 days, and those eggs are supposed to be in lockdown. If the older eggs are in lockdown, how are you supposed to turn the younger eggs? These are all questions I have. I am wanting to put 34 more eggs in my incubator today, but I'm trying to decide if I should wait to see if these other 3 hatch. I'm afraid if I wait, the younger eggs will be too old and not viable anymore because I started collecting them last week.
Good luck to you, and hopefully, someone experienced will answer all our questions.
 

clothdiaperingmom

Songster
9 Years
Feb 7, 2010
674
4
129
Sweetwater, TX
Im new here, only going on what Ive read (working on 1st hatch, with 3 more hatches staggered to follow).

I didnt think you could keep them all together during lockdown. Because, during lockdown you have to up the humidity and you cant open the bator at all. The other eggs wont do well with humidity that high and have to be turned (not a prob if you have a turner but is a prob if doing it by hand like I was).

I just bought a 2nd bator the other day, the day before the 1st lockdown. I only moved those eggs to it, the others are still in my original bator.

Im going to follow this thread too!
 

Brickman House

Songster
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
352
7
131
From what I understand, staggered hatches really only work well when you have a separate hatcher.

The eggs that aren't in the lockdown period still need to be turned, and still need consistent humidity. They also are at risk of contamination from the hatching mess created by the chicks. The older eggs need higher humidity, no turning, and no opening of the incubator for the last three days.

If you're on Day 20 now, you're in lockdown on the older set of eggs, so anything you do to try to protect the less developed eggs will risk the older ones if it involves opening the incubator.

At this point, you're really playing the game of risks, and you're just going to have to decide what risks you're willing to take for what benefit.
 

Sweetfolly

Songster
10 Years
Apr 17, 2009
2,123
61
191
Kildare, Wisconsin
Staggered hatches require two incubators - one that they're all incubated and turned in, and another "hatcher" that you move the older eggs into three days before they hatch.

Like a few others have already said, hatching requires a much higher level of humidity than the rest of the incubation period. If you jack the humidity up to hatch one batch of eggs with another younger batch still in the same incubator, you could very well drown them - the younger eggs will have trouble losing enough moisture.

Your homemade 'bator should work as a hatcher - as long as you can get the temperature relatively stable and get it to hold humidity, I'd move the older eggs in there for the hatch. I've read stories here on BYC about people hatching eggs in a bucket with a desk lamp shining over it - I'm sure your cooler-bator will make a great hatcher!
smile.png
 

bigstack

Songster
10 Years
Jan 4, 2010
1,155
5
174
Texarkana, TX
You really do need a nother bator to use as a hatcher. I started using an LG.( BIG MISTAKE) I used it until I could get a used sportsman. I moved all the egs into the sportsman when The first set went into lockdown. This keptme from opening the bator un-nessecerly. WEhen I opend the LG to remove the turner I moved all the other eggs into the sportsman.(warm and waiting) Now I use the LG only as the hatcher! I did a 6 set staggerd hatch. I got 42 out of 52. They were from 4 days to a week apart. On day 18 I move the set to the Ready and waiting LG. Humidity and temp already set and running. Then I just have to keep the sportsman at 1 humidity setting and the LG at the higher Humidity. It's alot easier and less opening of the bator. The sportsman has the hatching tray in the bottom but with the staggerd hatch, The LG as a hatcher made it so much better.

Good Luck and God Bless!
 

gaeamama

Songster
12 Years
Jun 17, 2007
404
1
139
WMass.
I heard peeping! Soo excited!! So I'm going to go out and get some hardware cloth to put over the bottom where the water pan is and move the eggies in there to hatch. My "day" starts around 3pm, so really they just entered day 20. I'll make sure the cooler-bator-hatcher is warm and ready before moving anything.

Just to clarify, I do know the diff. humidity requirements, and I have read of others doing it in the same bator before. But I wasn't *really* expecting much because my last hatch was a bust, so I was kinda bummed about that and not getting myself worked up over this one. But I candled last night, saw movement in some and the others are all developed, just didn't witness moving. Then early this afternoon I heard peeping!! Gosh I hope I don't mess these up!
 

madornato

In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 2, 2009
83
0
39
Newnan, GA
Gee, you guys are full of so much good infomation. If I decide to hatch chicks on a regular basis, I'll look into getting a sportsman and using th LG I have as a hatcher. Are there different types of sportsman? If so, which one should I get and what should I expect to pay for a good used one? That also means trying to get used to another bator! LOL Thanks to all and good luck with all your chicks and chickens. My kids and I have enjoyed our chickies so much since we started in September '09--that's why I still have so much to learn, not that you ever know it all.
 

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