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THE PLOT THICKENS....Unplanned Staggered Hatch- Advice Needed!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by MommaBee, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So here is the story, it is an unusual situation involving 2 incubators so I have not been able to find any advice that applies to my situation. So maybe one of you can help give me some advice.

    The Plan: Hatch 4 dozen eggs in 2 incubators at the same time. We have friends wanting hens and we offered to do a hatch project with our kids for them and we thought we could keep a few hens ourself and eat any roos. We ordered from 3 people (knowing shipped eggs have a low hatch rate we thought 3 shipments and the 2 bators would help our chances).

    First order of 2 dozen: Seller shipped 28, all were intact and place in bator on 3-1. - So far things are going great and out of the 28, 21 were fertile and we have 16 going strong now at day 10. They are in Incubator #1.

    Second order of 1 dozen: Arrived in pieces! Only 7 of the 15 shipped eggs were not smashed. 2 had major cracks and 2 had detached air cells. We had 3 remaining. Not knowing what to do, I wiped off the yolk covered eggs and I placed those 3 remaining in incubator #2 on 3-3. I told the seller about the eggs and she said she would gladly ship more, (wonderful gal)!

    Third order of 1 dozen: Was suppose to arrive the same day as the second. After watching the tracking I noticed the eggs seemed stuck in limbo. Sure enough, our address from PayPal was incorrect and the eggs were shipped back to seller. (They were olive eggs that I was REALLY looking forward to) I told seller to expect them back and to please send more on my dime (thinking they would arrive with the other dz that was being resent, AND THEY WERE)

    So. Second Order comes again with 10 beautiful eggs in tact, same day as the reorder of the third with 18 eggs! All 28 were set in incubator #2 last Friday on 3-8!

    So hatch dates (21 days) should be:

    First order of 2 dozen: March 21st
    Second order of just 3 eggs: March 24th
    Reorders of 2nd and 3rd: March 29th

    What is a girl to do with those 3 eggs? Put them in Incubator 1 or 2? And how should I handle the humidity and early hatch?
    I should also note that Incubator 1 is borrowed from the 4-H office and has to be returned by March 25th. So those 3 eggs would not be able to stay in Incubator 1 unless they hatch early with the others.

    Sorry for writing a novel, but I hope the info can help you with your advice! Thanks friends!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
  2. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone? Sorry. I know that's a long story. But any advice would be helpful. I'd hate to mess something up.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Life can get complicated can’t it? I like it when I have “ideal” situations but sometimes I have situations “I deal” with. Looks like you’ve got one of those. You threw a nice curve at the end when you said that incubator had to be returned the 25th.

    Sounds like you are aware that 21 days is not a sure thing. Any of those could be early or late. Something that might help, though I'm not sure. Don’t obsess with turning them after 14 days. You really don’t have to.

    Humidity is important but you really don’t have to be extremely precise with it. Don’t blow it off as not important but there really is a fairly wide range that works.

    What I’d suggest is that the first eggs stay in the first incubator. Keep those as separate.

    I’ll assume the third bunch is more important than the second group of three eggs, though I know all eggs become precious the instant they go in the incubator. Of course candle those three and see if they stay part of the equation. If you have to do something to put any eggs at risk, these three are the ones that you should put at risk, not the late ones.

    One problem I think you might have if the three hatch is that they will crawl all over and get gunk on the good eggs. It’s possible that gunk could cause the other eggs to get infected with bacteria. I would not say it is a huge probability but it is a possibility. Maybe you could make a cage out of hardware cloth or get a small mesh basket and put that over the three eggs for hatch. That will keep them from messing up the other eggs.

    I think I would carry on with the second incubator keeping everything right for those last eggs. Remember you can stop turning them a bit early if that helps. I don’t know what kind of humidities you are running, but you could up it a bit when you see a pip in those first three eggs if you wish. The regular recommendation to raise humidity is to stop something than can possibly happen, not something that will absolutely happen each and every time. I doubt a 5% or 10% rise in humidity that late will put the later eggs in serious danger but I would not overdo it.

    It is a bit rough but I’d certainly lean toward getting the late eggs to hatch and not do all that much special for the three eggs. If you get anything out of them, consider it a bonus and keep focused on the late eggs.

    Good luck!
     
  4. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK Thank you! I really appreciate your reply, I know thats a ton of numbers to go through.

    I agree that I should use the second incubator for the 3 that survived (so far). And that is great to know that turning past day 14 is not of the upmost importance.

    I have been struggling with humidity. We live in a dessert more or less and I was attempting the dry incubation method. I think that it has been overly dry judging by the air cells in the first batch. They look like what they should on day 14-18 and it is only day 11. I will try to post a picture in a minute to see what you think. But my thoughts are that I could possibly UP the humidity on day 18 for those 3 eggs, maybe to 50-60% and it would still be ok for the last big batch (their Day 13). Assuming, that the 3 hatch by day 22 (the 25th). This would give me enough time to get the 3 out and into the brooder with the first batch, before lock down on the second batch (the 26th) Oh goodness this is going to be a nail bitter!

    If all goes as planned and all 3 hatch, is it going to be a problem placing them in the brooder with chicks that are 3-5 days older than them?

    I hate when things don't go as planned but I am trying to roll with it. There are kids involved and of course anything that has been candled with veins already has name. :) I think these three are Larry, Moe and Curly. Haha!
     
  5. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    Here is an egg from the first batch going. The line is day 7 and the picture was taken on their day 9-10. Looks pretty low right?
     
  6. cmfarm

    cmfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a feeling those 3 lone eggs will not develop. If all they other ones were broken/cracked then they probably aren't in good shape internally.
     
  7. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought the same thing. But thought I should try anyway. But at the day 7 candle I saw great movement and veining in 2. Looks like one started but might have quit. I will candle again tomorrow just to be sure. If any do hatch they will be one lucky and strong chicken.
     
  8. MommaBee

    MommaBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anyone think the air cell in the picture above is too large too fast?

    And while your at it when a small egg, too small? (Sorry for being so needy! ;) trying to learn as I go here.)

    [​IMG]
    The egg on the left is a little smaller than one you'd buy at the store. The what are the ramifications of hatching a small egg?
     
  9. jbolt

    jbolt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My speckled Sussex lays medium size eggs just like you pic. I've only done 2 hatches, but 100% of her small eggs have hatched.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Different chickens lay different sized eggs. If the hen is an adult and is laying the regular sized egg for that breed, it’s not a big deal. Small pullet eggs are a different matter. The smaller the eggs the more difference there can be.

    You can hatch pullet eggs. You can get great hatches with pullet eggs. Chicks that hatch from those eggs can thrive. If people say they have done well with pullet eggs, believe them. I do.

    I’ve hatched pullet eggs. My hatch rates are usually not great with pullet eggs but they are not that bad. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with pullet eggs, but most pullets get it right to start with. When a pullet starts laying she can lay soft-shelled or no-shelled eggs, no yolk or no white eggs, small eggs, double yolked eggs, or eggs with other problems. There are a lot of other things that have to be right for an egg to hatch. It’s not just the stuff you see, but some of the stuff you can’t see. Sometimes it just takes a while for a pullet to get it right.

    If the pullet gets it right, the chicks that come out of those eggs are going to be small. There just aren’t enough nutrients in there to grow a large robust chick. Those chicks are a little harder to raise. I almost never have a chick die after it hatches, either with a broody or in the brooder. When I do, it is practically always the chicks out of those little pullet eggs. They are just not as strong as the ones that come out of the regular sized eggs.

    I will continue to hatch some pullet eggs, depending on circumstances. I’ve had some decent success with them. But I usually have better success with the larger eggs from older hens.
     

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