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The age old question; What am I doing wrong? (pics and descriptions)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by rachelcb80, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. rachelcb80

    rachelcb80 In the Brooder

    Sep 22, 2011
    Last year I hadn't found this forum, didn't have much of a clue what I was doing while incubating and hatching eggs yet I had great success. Never more than a couple eggs that didn't make it (out of 20-40 eggs). I even hatched out a batch of wild Eastern Turkey that I read were difficult to hatch. (Neighbor ran over the nest while clipping a pasture. Destroyed part of it and knew the hen wouldn't return to a clipped field and partially squashed nest. I raised then released the turkeys as I knew it wasn't legal to have them.) Fast forward a year and here I am with a lot more knowledge, better equipment and horrible hatches. Instead of writing a novel I'll just give a list of info about my hatches;

    1.) Buff Orpington/Rhode Island Red mix chicks. Set roughly 30 eggs and only had one or two not hatch. Used a Little Giant still air incubator with auto turner. Didn't know anything about humidity so I just kept the water trays filled the whole three weeks. I did know to take the eggs out of the turner on day 18 though. Monitored temp with the thermometer that came with the LG and kept it at 101.5 at the top of the eggs.

    2.) Turkeys that my neighbor ran over with the tractor. Roughly 20 of those eggs and again all but a couple hatched. Same LG incubator, same temps, same deal with not knowing anything about humidity. Used the auto turner with these but didn't know how far along they were so didn't stop turning on day 18. Woke up to two chicks that had hatched while turning. Took the turner out and laid the rest of the eggs on the wire.

    3.) Serama eggs that were shipped to me. Had lots of detached air cells. Same LG still air though this time I knew more about temp/humidity. I monitored my temps with three of the little aquarium thermometers and tried my best to keep the temp at the eggs top 101.5 and at the bottom about 98-99. Did have some temp drops a few mornings since my house had a wide temp swing this fall. Incubator temps got down around 97-98 and were there for maybe a couple hours. Humidity was measured with a terrarium hygrometer (not fancy or expensive) and kept at about 40% during the first 18 days, then brought up to about 70% the last three days. Had them in the auto turner and then put them in a cut down carton for hatching. Started with 22 eggs. I put 10 eggs into lockdown and all were moving and looked good on day 18. Out of 10 I had three pip and two hatch.

    4.) Just got done with this hatch. Bantam Cochins, again shipped. Got a Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance and temp/humidity was monitored through it's digital display. Temp stay steady at 99.6 and humidity stayed around 35-40% the first 18 days. Brought up to 70% for lockdown. I received 12 eggs. 9 eggs went into lockdown and again all were moving and looked good. 4 eggs hatched. I opened the others today when candling revealed they weren't moving. Pics at the bottom of this post.

    After my bad Serama hatch I thought maybe my LG still air was to blame. But I didn't do much better with the Brinsea. Part of me wants to think it's because the last two batches of eggs were shipped but what difference does it make if they've made it all the way to lockdown? I understand less shipped eggs will develope but why are so few making it to the point of hatching when they looked good just a few days before? Can anyone see a pattern of something that I'm not doing right? I'm setting some of my own Serama eggs next weekend so I won't have the shipping aspect to battle but I'm worried there's something I'm doing to cause such a poor hatch. The pictures below were taken just after I candled these eggs and opened the tops. Do they look shrink wrapped? I haven't opened the incubator other than to quickly add more water during lockdown (once a day).





    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011

  2. Sphinx

    Sphinx Songster

    May 10, 2010
    I'll be watching this thread closely, I'd love to hear what the experts say.

    I have heard that sermas are notoriously hard to hatch- I guess there's some lethal gene and it causes late demise. I've also heard that some have legs that are too short/weak, and they can't get into proper position to pip.
  3. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Songster

    Aug 2, 2011
    Madison, CT
    Ive also heard serama's are notorious for being difficult to hatch.
    And i'm no expert but the membrane looks shrink wrapped around them, so maybe you needed more humidity?
  4. ChickenPeep

    ChickenPeep Faith & Feathers

    May 1, 2011
    Olathe, Kansas
    I don't think it's your incubator.
    I had 10/11 hatch in my LG still air.
    I also agree with foxypoproxy.
  5. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Songster

    Sep 27, 2011
    You said you opened the incubator to add more water during the last three days. Even if you're doing it "only once," that can be enough to let humidity that has built up through evaporation to escape from the incubator. Shipping is probably also a factor. In your next hatch, try to leave the incubator completely sealed up for days 19, 20 and 21. I hope that solves your problem.

    As to eggs developing and then not hatching, it could be variability in the age of the eggs, nutrition in the parents, that suddenly comes up short for the needs of a developing chick. If the yolk is slightly smaller in one egg compared to another, that could mean there's not quite enough energy available to make a viable chick. It's amazing how rapid their development is, so it's not hard to imagine that such a seemingly minor difference in shell quality, yolk size, etc. could make a difference in being a success or not.

    Best of luck in your next hatch.
  6. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I think humidity needs to be higher than 40% in early stages more like 50%, but i'm only on my 2nd hatch. so maybe some of the experts will pipe in.
  7. AlienChick

    AlienChick Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    I would also like to know the answer to this question.

    I have always had almost 100% hatch rate with unshipped eggs.

    However, with shipped eggs I get maybe 30% hatchrate with the same results: fully developed chicks dead inside the shell. [​IMG]

  8. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    Quote:This is a great answer. I would have to agree with this. I also have a few that are "shrinked wrapped" or just "dead in the shell". Not often, but it has happened. I have a Gensis 1588 and I don't even check the humidity or temp.
  9. Christie Rhae

    Christie Rhae Songster

    Jul 5, 2010
    Big Island, Hawaii
    It has to be the shipped eggs. I have terrible terrible hatch rates with shipped eggs. I am usually stoked if I get one to hatch out of 18.
    I also will have the chicks quit at various stages of development... even making it to lockdown. Wiggling and everything and just never make it out. I read that rough handling causes small tears and other stuff that just doesn't help those babies and they fail at different stages.

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