They Still Hatched And No Lockdown


May 6, 2010
SW Iowa
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.

Yes it makes sense. I have about 30 eggs, if they all make it to lockdown, which I doubt that will have to hatch before the 14 late ones do. I will be trying to cleanup some in the bator as I snatch babies out. I have never hatched in an egg carton but I am assuming that would help cleanup too. I just don't know that I am willing to try something new as far as hatching with this batch of eggs. I have my temp set up good and never have to touch the control and I know if I put them in egg cartons to hatch it is going to take adjusting.


Apr 2, 2010
Sullivan, IL
Are you going to be doing the same thing? If a couple people are, we should start a thread for staggering hatches in the same bator, so even future people cant look back if they have questions, and if thing go terribly wrong (knock on wood they wont) at least i will be able to see what happened and make it a learning experience
I think we're going to go ahead and do it, I just need to figure out the logistics of fitting another dozen eggs into the incubator (shouldn't be too hard since we pulled 13 clears from the first hatch, I'm just worried about keeping them separate). Should we start a new thread with something about staggered hatches in a single 'bator, or maybe see if this one can be re-titled? I had a hard time finding it this morning when I looked and I knew what I was looking for (of course, now that I've posted it'll be easier to find). If we started a new thread, we can link to this one for the great information already here about "no lock-down" hatching. I for one have found it to be very encouraging.


May 13, 2010
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 a light bleach solution.Let it soak for a hour or so, rinse it out...dry it out by sun if possible but if not paper towels....line the bottom with tin foil(shiny side down) and ready to roll again!
That's how I have been doing it but I am going to get some of that oxine and use that instead of bleach.
May 15, 2011
NW North Carolina
This is just the thread I needed to read. I'm facing a staggered hatch dilemma, because I ordered eggs from multiple sources, and 2 shipments still haven't arrived. I set the first eggs yesterday. I think my hatches will be 3 days apart.

I'm doing dry incubation. My plan is to take out the turner when the 1st batch reaches day 18. I've read multiple articles that say eggs really no longer need to be turned once the embryo starts moving freely at about day 12, so batch #2 should be fine without opening the incubator. Then I'll raise the humidity when batch one hits day 19, and place those eggs on a paper towel for easy clean-up. (my chickens always seem to start hatching on day 20). Hopefully batch 2nd will have good sized air cells by then (they'll be on day 16). And hopefully batch 1 will hatch and dry out quickly enough for me to remove the chicks and get the humidity back up for batch 2?

I'm interested to see how this goes.


Apr 2, 2010
Sullivan, IL
First hatch down, with a successful 17/18 eggs that made it to lock down. I've still got the humidity up to 60% just in case that last egg is still viable, but there was no movement at all last night when we candled it or when we floated it. When I have time tonight I will carefully chip away at the air cell to check for signs of life, but we're pretty sure that one is gone. I was so nervous about opening the incubator as they started hatching, but I kept a close eye on the humidity and it never really dropped below 63% once they started hatching (and was up to 75% for a while there). I did drop out the mid day turning once the first batch hit day 18 so that my husband could crack the lid while I turned the egg carton eggs (hatch 2) and keep the time the incubator was open to a minimum. I think that helped.

Hatch number two seems to be doing well so far. When we candled on day 6 there were 2 clear, 2 questionable, and 8 that looked really good. Candled again last night and saw lots of movement in all but one questionable egg. It looks like it's still developing, it just looks to be about a day behind the others. As soon as we determine that the last egg from hatch 1 really is dead, I'm going to clean the incubator real quick (I think we'll have a large styrofoam cooler coming in to work today that I can put some heat sinks in to keep the eggs warm while they're out of the incubator) and run it totally dry for a few days. I also plan to take the eggs out of the carton and lay them on their side for the rest of the hatch.


Although this thread was started a year ago....I wanted to respond with what I have seen.

1. Yes a broody stops turning eggs towards the end.
2. Yes the humidity under a broody will increase towards the end because she leaves the nest much less often when she starts to feel movement from the egg. As she is covering the eggs and not exposing them to air movement and a cooling period, therefore the humidity would increase.
3. Do what we consider the rules about incubating mean that you cant get a hatch if you deviate? Of course not.

These "standards" of incubation were come up with to help the new and experienced both in consistancy. They are well thought out to serve as an average for thousands of different people, in hundreds of different locations, dealing with dozens of different breeds. The so called rules "almost developed themselves" due to all the variables we deal with. Depending on your situation you might fudge on part of it.....but maybe your friend a 1000 miles away under different external temp. humidity, and hatching a different breed might not get away with the same fudging that you did.

I.E. I run 40% Humidity and dont lock down until 36-48 hours out. Then I increase humidity to 70% or better. I dont stress if I dont turn as often the last 4 or 5 days either. Thats what works for me though and I know does not work for some people.

Thats my 2 cents
Last edited:


In the Brooder
Jul 8, 2013
If you dont do a lockdown to raise the humidity. ..then what do you keep it at the whole time??

Latest posts

Top Bottom