sticky layer killing chicks

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by morheb, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. morheb

    morheb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2016
    I made an incubator and it has been working fine for a while now, many chicks hatched in it

    But some chicks hatch with sticky layrr on them, so they cant get out of the egg without help
    What can i do to prevent this from happening, a chick died yesterday bcz it couldnt get out
  2. nightowl223

    nightowl223 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2011
    United States
    That indicates the humidity is too low. It's called shrinkwrapped, when that happens. If you can add some damp sponges or something else to bring the humidity up, that will help. Anytime you open the bator, have a spritz bottle handy, full of clean water, preferably stored in the bator, too, and spritz the sides, roof, floor, and (lightly) the eggs.

    Don't feel terribly bad, though. I've been hatching eggs for years, and it still happens to me. I cry, dispose of the unlucky little one, and then promise not to let it happen again. And it doesn't for quite awhile. Most of the time, it's just because I was in a hurry and I didn't spritz enough. :hit

    Anyway, humidity, humidity, humidity... it's the 2nd most important part of incubation, only beaten by temperature. :old Find a few sponges or small towel/washcloth to keep the interior more humid. Find a spray bottle - reuse one as long as you wash it out a lot, or but a new one, but still wash it out good. Then keep clean water in it, and spritz any time the bator is open. That should help you tremendously. :)
    CTKen and vicky1212123 like this.
  3. Eps32

    Eps32 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2015
    North Carolina
    It's a humidity problem
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Congratulations on building an incubator that has hatched many chicks. That means it is probably not an incubator problem but something with the incubation. It certainly does sound like a humidity issue.

    An egg needs to lose a certain amount of moisture during incubation for it to hatch. You control how much moisture it loses by the humidity in your incubator. If the humidity is too high the egg does not lose enough moisture so you get a large soft mushy chick that may not be able to hatch. The air cell is too small so it doesn't have enough air to breathe between internal pip and external pip, if it can even move to get into position. If it is too dry the air cell gets too big so the chick doesn't have enough room to hatch.

    Something that complicates this is that different eggs lose different amounts of moisture through the porous shell. There are different reasons for this. Eggs have different porosities and different shell thicknesses. Some egg whites are thinner, some thicker which can affect this rate of losing moisture. How and how long you store the eggs can make a difference in moisture too. The longer the eggs are stored before incubation starts, especially in low humidity conditions, the more moisture they have lost before incubation even begins.

    Different humidities work for different ones of us. Whether the incubator is a forced air and still air makes a difference. Elevation above sea level plays a part with thinner air higher up. The temperature and moisture level in the air going into the incubator can make a difference. Even moving an incubator from one side of a room to another can make a difference, especially if there is an air vent in that room. With my incubator in the same location with the same water reservoirs filled and everything stabilized I've seen over a 15% difference in humidity inside mine.

    What all this means is that no one humidity is perfect for each and every one of us. We all have to find the one that works best for us. The good news is that there is a pretty wide range that works for incubation. An egg can lose a little more or a little less humidity than ideal and still hatch fine. Since you said you've hatched many chicks in that incubator it sounds like what you are doing in that regard isn't bad.

    Shrink-wrapping can occur when the membrane around the chick dries out. It shrinks around the chick so the chick doesn't have enough room to move to hatch, plus it can stick to the chick, totally imprisoning it. This is why we normally increase the humidity inside the incubator during lockdown. Once the chick pips and opens a hole to the outside the membrane can dry out and shrink if the humidity in the air is too low.

    Another potential cause is opening the incubator after the egg has external pipped. When you open the incubator you let the trapped moist air escape and it can take the incubator a while to get back to a higher humidity. Some people do like NightOwl and try to keep the moisture level up when they open the incubator during hatch. Personally I don't open the incubator during lockdown (that's why it's called lockdown) unless I have a problem inside the incubator I need to deal with. Then I will open it and take my chances. An egg that has lost excess moisture during incubation is more prone to shrink-wrap than others. I have had shrink-wrapped chicks before so I know it can happen.

    I know this is a lot of typing on a Saturday morning, but as you can see there might be several different elements to this problem. I don't know how you manage your incubation either. If this is a fairly rare occurrence I would not change the incubation part of what you are doing. It sounds like that is working pretty well. I don't know how much you are raising the humidity inside during lockdown, you might want to try increasing that some. I don't know if you are opening the incubator during hatch. You might reconsider doing that or how you do that. To me it sounds more like a lockdown issue than something going on during the incubation phase.

    Good luck!
  5. morheb

    morheb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2016
    Well i do open my incubator, a lot, i lioove seeing baby chicks
    And i ooen it to more the hatched babies to his brothers bcz there is no room in the incubator for him to stay,
    ii will try using a spong and a spray bottle, hope it works, thanksomuch for the infos and the effors in the saturday morning
  6. morheb

    morheb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2016

    anks for replyi do get very sad when a chick dies but i never actually cried hehei will try ur advice and hope it works

    I thinks it is bcz i open the incubator too much as ridgerunner said, i need to rotate the eggs and remove babies and check if anyone is stuck or need helpi used to put eggs daily so now every day a couple of babies hatches and there is no place in the incubator for them
    thanks:) :)

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