Wek Mothers? Weak Chicks?


8 Years
Apr 30, 2011
I was just wondering if your hatch rate goes down if you are getting the eggs from older hens? I have done a couple hatches and they all turn out the same. Get put into lockdown fully developed and than never hatch.. air sac and everything looks right.. could that be weak hens?
What protein % feed are your girls getting? Regular Lay feed is usually about 16% protein.
I have a mixed age flock so I feed a 22% Chick-Grow-Lay crumble with oyster shell on the side..... that way everybody getting what they need and the laying hens have a high protein diet.
I have had a very successful hatch rate from my backyard eggs.
Do you have a reliable incubator??
I use a 1588 Geneisis Hovabator (actually I have 2 of these) with an auto turner. They are kinda like a 'plug & 'play'........fill correct troughs with water, set eggs into turner......check water level every few days........til day 18....then I fill more troughs with water, to increase humidity, sit back and wait.
Just had 4 biddies hatch, from shipped eggs that were lost in the mail for 10 days!!!! Didn't expect any to make it, but 4 beautiful little chicks are drying out in my 'bator right now.
i just have a homemade incubator with a thermostat, my humidity 1-18 is around 35 and day 18 on is about 70, so i dont know what to say. The food i feed them is just normal laying pellets.
YES! - Eggs that are from older hens can adversely affect the hatchability of the embryos.
Not saying that that is what is definitely happening in your case, but it is a possibility.

But I'd reckon it would just give you a slightly lower hatch rate, not an absolutely zero hatch rate. I hatch eggs from my hens that are 4+ years old, regularly getting hatches that are above 80%. If absolutely none of your eggs are hatching out, I'd think it's more likely to be another problem altogether, most likely something to do with humidity.
Your humidity figures of 35% then 70% sound reasonable enough as a starting point, so before you change them try to figure out what's been going wrong. I'd say first of all calibrate your hygrometer to check that what you think is 35% really IS 35%. Some hygrometers can be notoriously inaccurate.

Did you crack open your eggs to see what the embryos looked like? That can give valuable clues as to whether your humidity might have been too high or too low. By the time they're ready to hatch there should be hardly any moisture left inside the egg, so if you had very soggy embryos, lower your humidity days 1-18. If they looked mummified and the membrane at the air sac was dried out, raise your humidity days 1-18.

How many birds are you trying to hatch from and what breed are they? Oh, and how old?
If it's a pure breed and they're closely related there's a small chance that it could be a genetic thing.
x10! I never thought to mention that!

Yup, it's worth checking over your hygiene routines too. That's not just disinfecting your incubator, but also thinking about how clean your coop in general is, how clean your nest boxes are, maybe changing the wood shavings or straw in the nest boxes every day, collecting eggs more than once a day, remembering to wash your hands thoroughly before you touch the eggs, and then storing them somewhere cool and clean. When they're incubating, candle as little as possible and again, remember to wash your hands before touching any of the eggs.

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