Update. The Great Debate: Is it the incubator or the egg?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Jungleexplorer, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Songster

    Jan 19, 2012
    Abilene, Texas
    My Coop
    This is an update to an earlier thread where I promised to post the results of my hatching attempts with eggs from my own hens. Just to recap the highlights of that thread. I ordered $300 dollars of hatching eggs through the mail over a period of a couple months. I used a Hova-bator 1588 as the incubator. Out of about 75 eggs, I only had 6 hatch out. After much debate and examining all possibilities from every angle we narrowed the culprit down to either the eggs or the incubator. So, I decided to incubate some eggs from my own chickens to eliminate the eggs as one of the possibilities.

    Okay, so here are the latest results. G.Q.F (the maker of the 1588) sent me a brand new 1588 with digital LCD, and this is what I used to incubate my eggs this time around. I kept the humidity around 45 to 50 % as recommended by G.Q.F. The temperature remained pretty stable at 100 degrees the whole time. I gathered the eggs for five days and put them in the incubator on March 26th (15 eggs). I continued to gather eggs and put another batch in the incubator on April 4th (27 eggs). This was the only time the incubator was opened until last Friday (April 13th) when I moved the first batch to the hatcher, which is my first 1588.

    I candled all the eggs on Friday when I had the incubator open. 19 out of 42 were clear and 3 quit very early on. So 50% of the eggs were bad. Of the first batch of 15 eggs only 8 were developed and moved to the hatcher. Only 3 of the 8 have hatched. I will move the remaining 13 eggs to the hatcher on Friday.

    So the final result is that, so far, I have had a 20% hatch rate with my own eggs vs a 9% hatch rate with shipped eggs. I don't know about you, but I don't consider either of these to be a successful hatch rate by any stretch of the imagination. The question now is; what went wrong?

    Looking only at the results from the first 15 eggs. 8 out of 15 eggs did develop fully, but only 3 out of 8 hatched. If all 8 would have hatched, that would have been a 60% hatch ratio, which I would have been happy with. There are too many variables to determine why all 15 eggs did not develop . So let's deal with what we know. 8 fully developed eggs went into the hatcher and only 3 hatched. The hatcher was stabilized for days at 100 degrees and 65% humidity before the eggs went in and was stable during lockdown. Why did the other 5 eggs not hatch?

    I need to figure out what went wrong before Friday, because I have another 13 eggs on the line and I really want these eggs to hatch. Not only am I really tiered of waiting three weeks to see only a few chicks come out of my efforts, but these particular eggs come from my special game hens that I am trying to breed.


    I want to thank everyone for their excellent advice. I want to second yinepu's comment about this not being a recommended method of incubation. This thread is mostly about the things you can try, when you have not incubated properly, as I did.

    This a long thread, so I will give a synopsis of what happened and what I did to try and save my chicks. It is important to understand that I am running a continues incubation system where I put about 14 new eggs in the incubator every seven days. On day 18, I candle the eggs and move the developed ones to the hatcher (just another 1588 incubator) to hatch them out. So, every seven days I am moving eggs to the hatcher. This gives me five days for lockdown and a day to clean up the hatcher and get it stabilized for the next batch. This hatch is the second batch that has come out of the incubator since I started this process. Almost all of the first batch drowned, but I did not discover this until the day before I was supposed to move the next batch into the incubator; because lockdown is a five day process and I did not break the unhatched eggs open until day six and that is when I discovered that the chicks had drowned. So, at that point I began this thread to discover what went wrong and what I could do to try and save the next batch that were about to go into the hatcher, which had been incubated in the same way the batch before were, that drowned.

    The Situation. Chicks too wet going into lockdown.
    The Solution I tried. Running a dry lockdown below 20% humidity to try and dry out the eggs a little before they piped.
    The Result. A lot of sticky, but alive, chicks.

    The Problem: Sticky Chicks.
    The Best Solution I tried: Washing sticky chicks (not the head) under running water (kitchen faucet) that has been adjusted to about 100 degrees (I set it slightly warm to touch, but using a medical thermometer would be better). I used gentle strokes with a wet cotton swab to clean the chicks head.

    The Final Result. Out of 14 eggs I have 8 chicks. Two eggs never developed (not fertile or something). Two eggs were late quitters. Two eggs have not hatched for reason I will determine tomorrow (probably drowned). Eight live healthy chicks.

    I want to add that these chicks are Gamefowl chicks and may be not as delicate as some breeds and may be able to withstand a little more abuse.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012

  2. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Songster

    Jan 19, 2012
    Abilene, Texas
    My Coop
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  3. Nikkipar

    Nikkipar Songster

    Hi, just saw this. I have a 1588 too, and love it. While I got shipped eggs I also used my own. 23 of my 24 eggs developed vs 7 of the 16 shipped. That being said, I think your hunidity is low. I keep reading 55-65 of the first 19, and then 75-85 for the last bit.
  4. Nikkipar

    Nikkipar Songster

    BTW I am in a thread with someone else that is having trouble and they were at the 45% mark too......
  5. Missymac

    Missymac Songster

    Mar 24, 2011
    I would be curious to find out the results of this, what peopl think.

    I hve one of those cheap incubators from TSC, almost all the schools up here use them as well.

    I put in 5 eggs my first round, 5 failures

    second round 11 eggs, only 4 have made it this far- hatch date is Sat-Sun(put in the bator at 10am on the 1st)

    Third round of 10 eggs put in the bator on 4/8 at 9AM, so far all are developing.
  6. Jingleexporer,
    I am not sure if I am reading it right but you say:
    " 8 fully developed eggs went into the hatcher and only 3 hatched."

    My question is, are you moving the eggs to another unit for lockdown?
    This might be your issue..... I have talked to others that use a larger incubator and use Hova-Bators for lockdown to seperate breeds and just because it is easier to clean than the bigger units. Maybe you should leave the eggs in the Hova-Bator for hatching?

    I have the Hova-Bator 1588 - althought I have only done one hatch, I had 11\12 hatch and the one that didn't stopped developing very early. These eggs were picked up from a local person.
    I followed the directions and filled only #1 tray with water for the first days. (refilling as needed) Temperature comes set at 100 and I lowered it to 99.9. I hand turned 8AM, 6PM and 10PM. At lockdown, I filled all the trays with water, put the lid on and prayed. I had some early birds; on hatch day morning two has already hatched.

    Not sure if this helps you at all, but I had success on my very first hatch with the same unit and I am planning on setting a new bunch this weekend. They will be a combination of shipped, local pick up and my hens eggs.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  7. madamwlf

    madamwlf Nevermore Acres

    Aug 22, 2010
    Mount Airy, MD
    The one thing I see wrong is your humidity is too high for day 1 to 18. Have you tried a dry hatch??? I put no water in at all for the first 18 days. It usually stays around 20% depending on the humidity outside. On day 18 they are moved to lock down and humidity is bumped to 60-65%. I think your chicks are probably drowning during lock down because they haven't lost enough moisture during incubation.
    2 people like this.

  8. enel 1

    enel 1 Songster

    Mar 19, 2012
    eastern washington

    HUH? I'm confused. the best way that I have found to make sure your humidity is good is to keep an eye on the air cells in a couple of your eggs my humidity goes between 30% and 50% and i try to keep it between 60% and 80% during the hatch
  9. Nikkipar

    Nikkipar Songster

    I'm totally confused, because I thought that the H needed to be 55-65% !!!!!!!! I have a bunch in the bator, I hope they don't die!
  10. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Songster

    Jan 19, 2012
    Abilene, Texas
    My Coop
    I have tried the dry hatch method with no change in hatch ratios (with shipped eggs). The air cells looked perfect on day 18 when they were moved to the hatcher. All this was covered in the previous thread. It is extremely dry here where I am and you have to add humidity or it will get down to 5%.

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