Tips for getting better hatch rates?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by alohachickens, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. alohachickens

    alohachickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 14, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I wanted to see if any of you on the board could add the one or two tips that really increased the hatch rate in your incubators!

    Also, can you share your average hatch rate? And if it got better at some point, why? (Better thermometer, different incubator, etc.)

    Right now, I'm hatching a lot of chicks, but the overall results are dissapointing, statistically. It's only about 40 percent, and these are NOT shipped eggs.

    I know it's "operator malfunction" for several reasons. On the first batch, I collected eggs from my girls, but I also got a dozen from a friend's house, and about a half dozen from a different friend.

    So I had mostly other people's eggs in the first group, and the most that hatched were from my eggs. Only three hatched from theirs - two from one friend, and one of the other! (I marked them all, but it was pretty easy to tell - mine were the only white and sky blue!!) Which meant about 10 of the 20 of my own actually hatched.

    This next group - all my own eggs - I only got about 15 chicks from 40 eggs, sigh! Wondering what I did wrong. I added a hydrometer, and I haven't seen the temp vary hardly at all. The lowest it got was 97 and the highest was 101, right at hatch time, when I was still fiddling with the second incubator that I moved them to (to use as a hatcher.)

    I'm thinking the temp may have been a little low on the last two batches?

    The first hatch in particular was very "draggy", they hatched at day 22-23.

    They're definately developing. I wonder what I'm doing wrong to mess things up? Ideas?

    Thanks!
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Well, my worst hatches were when I was using a cardboard box and I was 13 or so. Got about 40% because no temp regulation. Now with a real bator, I candle twice... or every other day... and even transported eggs for 30 min on day 18 and have gotten hatches from 80-100%.

    From my experience, keeping temperatures constant and high enough for the entire duation of the time is best. IN addition, the less handling the better. Since they are your eggs other things to consider are:

    1) Did you store them at about 15 deg C for at most a week for max viability

    2) Heath of the breeder stock can affect hatchability.

    3) How often did you collect eggs? And How old are these hens?

    That's my scatter brain list and I'm sure others can chime in with what to do.


    What stage in development do they die at? How old they get and weither or not they have deformities can be a BIG clue on what went wrong. When you have a bad hatch, crack open all the eggs and make a list of what went wrong, that will help find the problem.

    Best thing to do for most is put them in and just candle twice, on like day 10 and 14, and let them go till day 24.
     
  3. alohachickens

    alohachickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess I'll check out the unhatched eggs . . . eeek. They seem to be developing until the very end, however! Breeding stock is young and healthy. On the first batch, I accidentally let the humidity drop really low at the end, and a few of the chicks had trouble coming out.

    That's when I bought the Hydrometer, so I had high hopes for this new batch. I'm really dissapointed that it actually came out about the same as the first, even with the new incubator with auto turner and fan, and the hydrometer in there.

    I'm giving it until tonight to make sure nothing else pips, then I guess I'll open up some of the unhatched eggs and let you know. I did open up one, and saw a dead chick inside, but there was clearly down on the neck - it looked like it should have hatched for me!

    I candled three times, once early, and then about 14 and 18 days. The 14 day ones showed great development and chicks moving around, which is why I think I'm doing something wrong here . . . .

    I borrowed the incubator for the first batch (Hovabator, still air model) from the same friend who gave me a dozen of her own eggs. Now, she's used the exact same set-up, on her own eggs, and has gotten 80%-90% hatch rates in the past. I only hatched two of her dozen. Soooo . . . . again, seems to be ME, lol.
     
  4. alohachickens

    alohachickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    BTW, this is only my first and second time doing this . . . ever.

    Total newbie!
     
  5. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Aloha,
    You might try looking on the poultryhelp.com website - there is a "Trouble Shooting Failures with Egg Incubation" section that is pretty good.

    Also, check your air cell and see if it's too big or too small at day 14 - that may tell you if your humidity is ok.

    There are just so many things it could be, but don't give up because once you figure it out with your own bator and weather, etc, I'm sure you'll have great hatches!!!1

    Lori
     
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    And now that you have your own bator, it's time to learn it. Every bator, time of year, and heating/cooling that is happening in the house while incubating can have an effect on hatches. I don't use a hydrometer but instead keep an eye on air cell size. I do however recommend you keep using the hydrometer and keep trying till you figure out what works for you.
     
  8. alohachickens

    alohachickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks, just read it! I'll try adding vitamins, and the other thing that may help is for me to store the eggs in a cooler spot. I kept them on the kitchen counter, which in my house is running 65-70 degrees, for up to ten days.

    Now, with the ones I'm collecting this week, I'm putting them in the garage, near the cool concrete floor (not up high on the counter) which should keep them about 50-60 degrees. Since it would take a while for vitamins to work through the hen's system, this is the best I can do right now. Will see if this lower temp during the "holding period" increases the next hatch rate!

    Everything else was as stated there - clean nests, didn't wash the eggs, turned the cartons once or twice a day . . .
     
  9. turkeybreeder

    turkeybreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:eggs should not be store for more than ten days
    were getting 90 percent hatch rate here in arizona
     

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