Very new to hatching and need lots of help!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by kvmommy, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. kvmommy

    kvmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2011
    I have a lot of newbie questions that I really couldn't find the answers. If anyone can help I'd appreciate it.

    I have eggs coming this week, hopefully! It's a random assortment of 24 eggs from 12 breeds that I got online and they will be shipped. I am aware that the hatch rate of online chicks are around 40%. And I'm ok with that or less as long as its not my fault if they die! I know I have a lot of tears ahead of me, but I want to give the little babies the best chance.

    Ok so heres the questions:

    1. How often do I candle? And are LED flashlights too hot when candling?

    2. I have a styrofoam incubator with water wells, but can't get the humidity above 30% with the wells filled.

    3. My thermometer/hygrometer is digital and tall but thin. Should I have it standing up or laying down to get a more accurate temp?

    4. I saw some people mentioned vaccinating chicks, should I and how do I go about it?

    5. Really stupid question, but what do you mean by pip? Is that a sound or a crack in the egg.

    6. Some say let the eggs rest 12 hours after the eggs arrive and some say 24 hours...which is it?

    7. Any other random advice?

    8. When the chicks are here and I have them in a box, do I need to move to pen or huge box when they're older?

    I love this forum, its the best idea ever!
  2. shellyga

    shellyga Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 23, 2010
    Welcome to the facinating world of hatching.. warning: IT IS ADDICTIVE.

    With that being said, I just hatched my first chicks a couple of weeks ago in a mixed batch and have chicks 2 weeks old and other group 1 week... will give you my opinion to answer your questions with my limited experience:

    1. I candled day 5 but being a newbie, I couldn't see much so I didn't candle again until day 18 and lockdown. I have eggs in the incubator now and will candle again on day 18 lockdown with a LED
    mini maglight

    2. I had trouble with my humidity being too high and had to remove water from the wells to lower it. If all of your wells are not filled, I would consider filling in one at a time to see how your humidity
    is affected.

    3 and 4 - I'll let more experienced folks chime in on those as I have no experience.. my themometer and hygrometer lay flat on the top of the eggs in the turner

    5. Pip equals hole in the egg where chick has started hatching.. they have broken through and you can usually see a beak and hear PEEPING. RESIST the urge to do anything even if it seems like it
    takes forever. My first hatch I had a chick pip and 10 hours later it actually hatched.

    6. I let my eggs rest in an egg carton from the time they arrive until the next morning so mine is probably more like 18 hours.. someone advised me to get them back to room temperature, and
    morning is just easier for me to set them as I start my day with coffee.

    7. Random advice - RESIST THE URGE TO OPEN THE INCUBATOR after chicks start hatching.. I forget just how long they can stay in there and newbie thoughts can rationalize them drying under
    your heat lamps.. but even though it seems to be taking forever for them to dry and walk around normally.. it is best for them to stay inside the incubator. The only exception I made during the
    second hatch was removing 6 dry chicks that were over 24 hours old because they were trampling and knocking eggs around..they were probably still okay, but just my personal choice to remove
    them. IF you do want to remove the chicks.. do it quickly --so humidity and temp don't take a dive.

    8. I am currently in my brooder stage... and will not move mine out until they are completely feathered and I am tired of them in the house.. other people with more experience can chime in.

    Again.. welcome.. This forum has a wealth of knowledge and a community of nice people to help out.

  3. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    Quote:I agree with Shelly.. Hatching is addictive!!!!

    #1 Ultimately, you can candle every single day until the last three days of incubation because a hen will usually get off the nest each day to poop and/or eat.. The last three days it is extremely important to keep the incubator closed to keep the correct amount of humidity otherwise your eggs can dry out and cause the little chicks to "shrink wrap".. This is where the membrane gets stuck to them and they will be unable to move in the shell to hatch.. With that said... We are NOT hens.. We cannot control the temp and humidity as well as a hen does and if our incubator does not adjust correctly, we can ultimately lose the entire hatch.. The best times to candle are when you first get the eggs (if they are shipped) to ensure the yolks are intact and there are no small cracks that are invisible to the naked eye, once between days 7 and 10 to ensure fertility and growing embryos and then right before you go into "lockdown". If at ANY time, you look into the bator and see an egg with little drops on it (clear, yellow, green, brown, it can vary) REMOVE IT IMMEDIATELY!!!!! Please be VERY careful in removing it, immediately place it into a plastic ziplock bag and put it in the trash! This is the ONLY time you shoudl open the bator during the last 3 days if it should happen because it is a ticking time bomb and the last thing you want is an egg to explode in your incubator and infect the rest of the hatch with bacteria! Most times you will catch this well before it explodes through candling.

    LED flashlights, as long as they are bright enough and the shells are not too dark or thick work fantastic! I use a mini mag light with the LED upgrade. LED's stay cool and i find they are much better than making a candling light with a regular bulb but there have been a lot of people who use regular bulbs with success also. It's just not my personal preference because of the heat they generate.

    2. You can put a small dish of water in the bottom of the bator (it will be the surface area that makes a difference, not depth) or use wet paper towels or a wet rag to bring humidity up.

    5. A pip is when the chick breaks through the shell.... Here is a pic from one of mine...

    The very best of luck to you and your future chicks! Hatching can be very stressful and disheartening but also VERY fascinating and rewarding!!! If your first hatch does not go well, do not get discouraged.. We've all been there and because of different elements around us, it is a trial and error type of thing.. With each hatch, you will figure out what works best and have more success each time! Make sure you have plenty of tissues handy because watching that first chick emerge will have you crying if you are even the slightest bit sensitive! Also, Be sure to have LOTS of coffee made because one you see that first pip, you won't be able to stop watching!!!

    This will be the LONGEST 21 days of your life!!!!!

    Take lots of pics and know everyone here is ready and available anytime you need advice or words of encouragement! I may be right there with you.. My new bator will be here on thursday so I will be setting on friday or saturday!

    Goddess [​IMG]
  4. kvmommy

    kvmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2011
    Thanks you guys! I feel alot better about my new venture. It really must be addicting because I'm already looking at more eggs and I haven't even received my first batch!

    I'm going to a dish in there right now to see if the humidity is up. And I plan on posting lots of pictures.
  5. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    Oh! One other thing I forgot...

    Just when you think you have the bator right where it should be as far as temp and humidity, when you put the eggs in it will screw it up for a little while... Leave the eggs in and don't touch the incubator! The eggs are much cooler than the bator temp and have to adjust!

    Goddess [​IMG]
  6. kvmommy

    kvmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 2, 2011
    That is really good advice, I know I would have raised the temp!!
  7. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    Quote:LOL.. I did it on my first hatch attempt and I had a hard time getting the bator under 105 degrees!! I didn't touch it for the second attempt and it leveled itself out...

    Goddess [​IMG]
  8. humster

    humster Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 7, 2009
    New Mexico
    Great advice on here.

    I have to echo that it can be stressful and disheartening, but yes, rewarding. I am also very new at this and just started my third round with my hovabator.

    You are already ahead of where I was with my second hatch since you have a hygrometer. My hatch did not go well due to incorrect humidity and I was introduced to how important that was. I have one in now and realize I was probably too low last time.

    My first hatch was just some of my own hen's eggs that I threw in there to see what happened. Nothing, cuz I didn't do it right.

    Second hatch was mail order eggs. The fertilization rate was great and many of the embryos developed nicely until farther along. I did not help them out with the low humidity tho [​IMG] Three chicks made it to hatch but one of them could not pip properly. I still don't know why, but I did learn that I should have intervened sooner and it might have made it. I could hear it chirping away, but I waited to long to crack it myself (I'm not sure how long you should wait, but I waited two days...won't do that again). I do have two beautiful and large five week olds in my brooder now though, and they made it all worth it.

    Like I said, this time I have a hygrometer and feel more confident with that. We'll see what happens, but I am hoping to improve my hatch rate each time.

    Being such a newbie.. really only on my second "real" attempt and had one shipment of day olds last year...I cannot recommend Wyandottes enough. So far they are the only chick success I've had and they seem to be very hardy, as well as great dual purpose birds. I've got silver laced and blue laced reds.
  9. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Quote:Yep!!! I always adjust AFTER placing the eggs in, as the temps and humidity will fluctuate for about 8 hours after setting the eggs. And with shipped eggs, please do not expect any better than a 50% hatch rate. Even 50% is good with shipped eggs. Keep this in mind so you don't feel like a failure when only some hatch. It is just the way it goes with shipped eggs.
  10. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    You've gotten lots of great advice here, so i will only comment on #2.

    Based on my personal experience, the best advice i can give you is to give up entirely on those troughs. I think they're a really bad idea. I was able to develop a system for very reliable humidity with a couple of kitchen rags. I won't try those troughs ever again. What a headache!

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