They Still Hatched And No Lockdown

aveca

Songster
10 Years
Jun 30, 2009
3,704
89
228
Waverly, NY
hard to say what a broody hen does at the end..i have seen stories where people have come home from work thinking they had several more days till lockdown and found chicks running around the edge of the bator turner still running..
 

AngelaPenny

Chirping
7 Years
Jan 26, 2012
111
22
91
For you guys that have done staggered hatches, how do you clean out the bator between hatches?

I have eggs due Saturday, and then a dozen more Wednesday. i was going to take the later ones out and use another bator. But if this works i can just keep them there....

But what about the mess from the first hatch?
 

SierraView

Songster
9 Years
May 20, 2010
623
17
138
Valley Springs, California
My Coop
My Coop
For you guys that have done staggered hatches, how do you clean out the bator between hatches?

I have eggs due Saturday, and then a dozen more Wednesday. i was going to take the later ones out and use another bator. But if this works i can just keep them there....

But what about the mess from the first hatch?
I use 2 incubators. I think it could be risky staggering hatches in the same incubator because the humidity needs to be almost double the last 3 days. Humidity seems to vary for different people, you have to find what works for your location and incubator. I believe the dry method is the most successful for a wide range of people.
 

cmfarm

Crowing
9 Years
May 3, 2010
1,414
455
251
Elgin, TX
I use 2 incubators. I think it could be risky staggering hatches in the same incubator because the humidity needs to be almost double the last 3 days. Humidity seems to vary for different people, you have to find what works for your location and incubator. I believe the dry method is the most successful for a wide range of people.
When I did staggered hatches I would do regular humidity at 30-35% and at lock down around 50%. Lots of people do there whole incubation at 50% or higher so I don't think it is a big deal. As for cleaning in between hatches, it can be a little tricky. I am the type that likes to perodicaly take the chicks out as they hatch so they don't make as much mess, and then just pick up the shells.
 

adrian

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
736
12
141
Regina, SK
i've gotten a bit worried about lockdown myself. but all the time i must say, i've wondered the same thing. a hen doesn't lockdown and her humidity doesn't increase does it?
Sometimes a hen (perhaps not a chicken so much as other birds?) will dip her chest feathers in water and then sit on her eggs to increase humidity. I breed parrots and I make sure that my parrots have a separate bowl of water just for this near to hatch time. So humidity can increase... Though I doubt it always does. To be honest, the reason we probably increase humidity in our artificial incubators is that we have fans blowing on our eggs; once the membrane is introduced to that airflow, it can dry, and then you get stuck babies. Especially in eggs that have a tendency towards thick, elastic membranes, like geese. Under a hen, of course, there is no fan; it is essentially a still-air incubator. A fan will dry a membrane far faster than outside air (say, when you open an incubator) will, especially if the relative humidity in your house is 30%+ as most homes are.

I always increase humidity, but I do open the incubator to remove chicks as they hatch without problems.
 

chkinut

Songster
9 Years
Feb 25, 2010
1,432
11
161
Leesburg, Ohio
Sometimes a hen (perhaps not a chicken so much as other birds?) will dip her chest feathers in water and then sit on her eggs to increase humidity. I breed parrots and I make sure that my parrots have a separate bowl of water just for this near to hatch time. So humidity can increase... Though I doubt it always does. To be honest, the reason we probably increase humidity in our artificial incubators is that we have fans blowing on our eggs; once the membrane is introduced to that airflow, it can dry, and then you get stuck babies. Especially in eggs that have a tendency towards thick, elastic membranes, like geese. Under a hen, of course, there is no fan; it is essentially a still-air incubator. A fan will dry a membrane far faster than outside air (say, when you open an incubator) will, especially if the relative humidity in your house is 30%+ as most homes are.

I always increase humidity, but I do open the incubator to remove chicks as they hatch without problems.
thanks for that input! interesting! i never thought of the fan for some reason, but ur right! no fan under a hen! lol. it's also good to hear you take chicks out without a problem. i would think the pipped eggs would be protected from the woosh of cooler/non-humid air as you open the bator cuz they're still covered up with the shell and even the membrane closest to the egg shell. it's not like the membrane full of blood vessels is totally exposed to the air, then it would definately dry out. i've heard of some people who spritz their eggs with water as they remove chicks too. (dont know if thats necessary, but it probably doesn't hurt).
 

aveca

Songster
10 Years
Jun 30, 2009
3,704
89
228
Waverly, NY
one thing i can say for sure as i have employed broody hens for many years is i have never seen one dip her chest feathers in water ever.. but have seen them pluck feathers off chest . probably to increase humidity and also to create air circulation when she needs to..they do a better job of hatching eggs than any incubator...i do know that the eggs vibrate as the chicks move around and position themselves, i have seen hens make soft vibrating noises and clucks almost like a cheering section.. they seem to do this more and more as time grows closer to hatch. i sure cant see underneath to see whats shes doing but i can hear them making different noises ..its stimulating i suppose.
 

harleyjo

Songster
9 Years
May 6, 2010
890
0
141
SW Iowa
Well I am going to run into this situation myself. See this thread for a more detailed reason why....https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/643871/what-would-be-the-cheapest-way-to-build-a-temporary-incubator

I do have a still air hovabator that I put a 4" personal fan in. I take it out at lockdown because I am concerned about the chicks getting into it. I wonder if I just go to around 50% and if an egg needs to be misted a bit I could do that if I would be ok then with the second batch? I am really concerned about this.
 

adrian

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
736
12
141
Regina, SK
For the most part, I do find that the eggs won't dry out to the point of chicks getting stuck unless a large portion of the membrane is exposed to air. However, it does happen to people, so it must be possible. I find that there is absolutely no need to raise humidity until at least the first external pip has been made. Spritzing them would probably bring humidity up faster so might be a good idea. I personally have never done it. I am extremely wary of high humidity. In spite of what people say, even with a low humidity during incubation, high humidity during hatch (excessively high) can turn the membrane almost to goop, and drown babies. At least in my experience. As a rule I always say, lower is better than higher...
 
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adrian

Songster
10 Years
May 12, 2009
736
12
141
Regina, SK
Well I am going to run into this situation myself. See this thread for a more detailed reason why....https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/643871/what-would-be-the-cheapest-way-to-build-a-temporary-incubator

I do have a still air hovabator that I put a 4" personal fan in. I take it out at lockdown because I am concerned about the chicks getting into it. I wonder if I just go to around 50% and if an egg needs to be misted a bit I could do that if I would be ok then with the second batch? I am really concerned about this.
4 days of difference is not so bad... Here's what I would do. Don't bother building a temp. incubator, those can be a lot of trouble. Instead, keep humidity as you normally would until you see your first pip. Raise humidity to 55% or so until they hatch. Chickens hatch a lot faster than, say, ducks or geese, so if your other eggs are exposed to this short burst of higher humidity, it is unlikely to do lasting damage. After your chicks have hatched, keep your humidity very low until you at least go into lockdown for the other eggs. In preparation for this, I'd keep the humidity very low, if not just go completely dry, to ensure they lose enough weight.

It is not about a daily average being met... It is about weight loss over the entire incubation period. So, you can have short bursts of higher humidity, so long as you have an answering burst of lower humidity to balance it. Make sense? I think it can be done. :)

As an additional thought, it would be best if, at 55%, you did not interrupt by opening the incubator much -- as little as you can, just to make perfectly sure the eggs stay moist enough. Seeing as your other eggs will be late in incubation at this point, turn once a day as soon as your other eggs begin to externally pip. One time should be fine at this point. I have even stopped turning entirely early, for eggs with detached air cells for instance, with no problems at all. Turn regularly until the first external pip when you raise the humidity, because at that point opening the incubator won't do a thing to the eggs. (Assuming you are not using an auto-turner... if so it is probably advisable you just take it out as it can be dangerous for chicks).

Also, it might be best, after you take newly hatched chicks out, to spritz the other hatching eggs. If you do take out your fan for hatch, though, that will make this whole thing easier, I should think, and you may not need to.
 
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