Staggered hatch?


9 Years
May 23, 2010
Is it possible to hatch in an incubator that also contains eggs that aren't ready for lockdown yet? That's probably a dumb question (and a bad idea), but I've run into a bit of an issue where only one egg in a batch of three is growing (set on the 31st), and I need to set the next batch within the next few days. Should I just toss the lone egg? Would the humidity levels for hatching drown an embryo in the earlier stages of development?

And I know that some people say not to candle so early, but these are white-shelled eggs, so it's pretty easy to spot by day 4.

Thanks for any help you can give!
I have a similar dilemma in that I started a dozen chicken eggs on 5/24 and a week later "inherited" 15 started duck eggs whose due date I have no clue about. They're all in my homemade incubator, and while I can't really tell what the chick eggs are doing (their shells are dark), the duck eggs are thriving. I'm guessing they're all due to hatch within a few days of each other, but if I have to lock down one or the other first, how will that affect the other? My instinct is that the ducklings are due sooner, and I'm worried about drowning the chicks if I have to increase the humidity.
In my experience, higher humidity for a few days doesn't harm freshly set eggs. (less than 1 week of incubation) If you can work out a containment system so that your new eggs can remain in the egg turner and the hatched chicks don't goo up the new eggs, you are good to go as your new eggs will have time to dry out a bit before their hatch date gets near. You'll need to clean the incubator after the hatch. Your new eggs will be fine as long as you keep them warm during cleanup and get them back in the incubator ASAP. Check your new eggs a few days after the previous hatch to confirm the air-cell size and adjust your humidity accordingly.
What do you do when you don't have a turner & part of the eggs are in lockdown? Do you just turn the other eggs quickly while making sure the humidity stays where it should?
Thanks for the responses, everyone. I did some more reading, and several people have reported success when keeping the humidity between 60% and 65% for the lockdown and hatch of the first set of eggs, then dropping it back down to 50-55% after the hatch was through. This didn't seem to harm the younger eggs. Also, someone had success when not changing the humidity levels at all, as it naturally increases when the first egg starts to hatch.

I think it can work. I'm using a Brinsea Mini Eco, so I have to hand turn. I do have to open the lid to refill the water well during lockdown, and it's never caused a problem with the hatch, so opening to quickly turn a few eggs shouldn't hurt. Also, you probably won't need to worry about turning the younger eggs once the others start hatching - the babies will kick the eggs around plenty.

Once again, thanks for the replies, everyone! Good luck!
Glad to hear that since this is what I am planning to do with my staggered hatch currently in the incubator!
I tried it. It did not go over very well at all. I had a dozen Delaware eggs that were due about a week and half before another dozen Olive Eggers. 9/12 Dels hatched, 0/12 Olive Eggers even made it into lockdown. My temperature and humidity remained constant throughout lockdown and the hatch so I can't understand why the other eggs quit. Some had blood rings, others just looked as if they stopped developing.

My advice, pick the eggs that you want to hatch the most and concentrate on them.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom