Unknown Difficulties

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Kealey, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Kealey

    Kealey In the Brooder

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    I raised the first half of my flock from chicks bought at a farm supplies store, I just recently started trying to incubate my own eggs now that most of the flock are laying and I'm running into a lot of issues. The first three eggs that were going to hatch did not make it. We had one the never made it out of the shell, another that had got a really good start on breaking out and then just died, and the third hatched all the way after some help and just died today after only a week or so. He started out kind of sluggish. From what I have heard most babies are up and out and walking right out of the shell, this guy wasn't. It took him almost an hour to finally be able to stand up on his feet, and he only really started walking around almost four days after that. He seemed to be doing alright and I stopped worrying so much, but then when I got home from work this evening he wasn't doing well at all. He was sprawled out right in front of his feeder with his beak in the food, eyes closed, not moving at all. When I went in to grab him he barely even peeped and didn't move at all. I wrapped him in a soft, dry towel and tried to give him some water and egg yolk from a syringe but he wouldn't even open his mouth or move his head and his eyes were still closed. Anyway, any ideas on what I am doing wrong? We had the incubator set at 99.5 and the humidity never went below 40. Any advice would help.
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    Sorry for your losses.

    What kind of incubator are you using? What has the temperature been? Have you verified it with a thermometer you know to be accurate? What was your humidity the first 18 days? The last three for lockdown?

    For your chick, not getting up for the first hour after hatch is pretty normal, but not walking until four days later isn't normal. Did his legs and feet look okay? Any sign of splayed leg or curled toes? What was his brooder like? The bedding and temperature? What were you feeding? Did you offer any vitamin or electrolyte supplements?

    Sorry to play 20 questions, but this info will help figure out what happened.
     
  3. Kealey

    Kealey In the Brooder

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    He was in a styrofoam incubator that I bought from tractor supply a while back. The humidity never fell below 30 but it did move around quite a bit, I'm sure that's part of the problem but I don't know the best way to keep it regulated. The temperature stayed right around 99.5 the entire time unless we opened it to turn eggs or candle them. We haven't used a thermometer other then the digitally displayed one on the screen, are they usually not very accurate? The last three days it ran at like 35-40 humidity. I could really use some help on tips to keep that regulated... Although we did just buy a new more advanced one that has an automatic turner in it already, that one we cant seem to get the humidity above 32 for some reason, no matter how much water we put in it. His legs and feet were good, that was the first thing I checked when we took him out of the incubator. He was able to stand almost right out of the incubator and he stayed standing most of the time for the first few days but I never really saw him walk unless I nudged him, and even then he was really wobbly and only took a step or two. The brooder was the same we used when we first started raising our flock from chicks. It was a hard plastic tub, with a heat lamp, chicken wire over the top (so our cats didn't try and get in), and flake pine bedding. We had him set up in the garage (which I'm sure also probably added to the issue, we're going to move it up to our bedroom for the next hatchers). I didn't offer the electrolytes or vitamins which I am actually surprised I didn't think of that myself, as I was responsible for refilling the waterers at work when we had chicks there and the first day they came in we gave them electrolyte/vitamin water. I gave him chick starter/grower for food. 20 questions is actually great because it brought up things that I hadn't thought of before (but should have known better). Thank you very much! Let me know of any other suggestions you have please. I get paid tomorrow so I'll make sure I get a couple thermometers and some electrolyte/vitamin stuff for the water.
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    Unfortunately the built in thermometers on those aren't very accurate, so I would definitely double check it with one you know to be correct. Does your incubator have a fan?

    Keeping the humidity at 30% for the first 18 days would probably have been fine unless you are at a high elevation, higher is what can cause issues, especially late deaths. Do you know on average what it would have been overall during that time, since you said it fluctuated a lot? You control humidity by adjusting the surface are of water in the incubator. More surface area equals higher humidity.

    You really want it much higher than 30 to 40 percent your last three days, more like 65%. Your one that started to zip and got stuck, that's probably why it died. The humidity was too low and it shrink wrapped and couldn't finish zipping.

    To get humidity up, add more water surface area. So for example, run paper towels out of the water troughs on the bottom to cover more of the bottom of the incubator, or add a baby food jar of water with a sponge sticking out of it, etc.

    Are you using your own gauge to monitor humidity or a built in one? Again, the built ins are usually not accurate. I recommend this thermometer and this humidity monitor.

    The brooder sounds good, so he may have had underlying issues. Something may not have been right internally or he may have had an infected yolk sac, etc.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  5. Kealey

    Kealey In the Brooder

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    The styrofoam incubator has a fan yes, and I think the new one does too, I think its a forced air one. We have been using the built in one, so I'll definitely get a gauge for it too, thank you very much for the links.
    Another question, when do you know when to help a chick hatch and when to not? One of our hens started eating eggs so we gave them oyster shells and now their shells are harder then what I figure is normal for them. At least, they are harder then what I am use to with eggs. If it does come to a point where it does need to be helped, how do I do that? Just tap the shell to help crack more of the shell and make it easier for them to push out or partially peel the shell away for them all together?
     
  6. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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  7. Kealey

    Kealey In the Brooder

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    Junochick and Pyxis like this.
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi

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    This site is a wealth of information, for sure!
     
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