What am I doing wrong?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 16, 2009
I have tried to hatch three times now and I haven't been very successful. Everytime I only get one - three chicks and I put in at least 20-40 eggs. All of the others develop almost to the end and some even pip the membrane but don't break the shell. Here is what I have done:

Clean circulated fan LG incubator and clean eggs (shipped eggs)
Temp at 99.5-101
Humidity 30-40% through day 18
Himidty 65-75% through day 21

The ones that do hatch, hatch on day 21 and I didn't open the incubator until day 22 to candle the rest and they were dead.

Any ideas or suggestion? Why would they get do far and then die?


Goose and Fig

Grateful Geese
10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
Fall Creek Falls TN
Shipped eggs almost always have a lower hatch rate. Also- how are the eggs cleaned? Are you turning 3 times a day? Where are you getting your shipped eggs from?

Your temps and humidity sound fine.
I would try a different source for your eggs, and don't clean them except for gently picking of any poo and such. I have found that as long as I keep up with changing the hay in our nest boxes- the eggs are pretty clean.


10 Years
May 15, 2009
Malvern, Arkansas
Have you opened up any of the eggs with dead chicks to inspect them? If the membrane is real dry and "shrink wrapped" around them then your humidity is too low. I keep my humidity around 55% the first 18 days then bump it up to 70-75% and have excellent hatch rates. It gets frustrating sometimes trying to figure out what the problem is. I hope you start getting better hatches!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 21, 2009
It is also best to let your shipped eggs settle for 48 hours before incubating.

Dipsy Doodle Doo

13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
Aiken, South Carolina 29801
My Coop
Hi Delsi! I know how disappointing that is.

Have you checked your thermometer / hygrometer for accuracy? Just a few % points and / or degrees can mess up a hatch.
Calibrating a Hygrometer
Sounds like your temperature is good but maybe your humidity is off.
Shipped eggs are always a gamble. If you candle before you set to check for loose air cells --- you have a better idea what is actually viable
(I always would rather be disappointed early, rather than later. Eggs with 'wobbly air cells' just will not grow for me).

Good luck next time!



10 Years
Mar 25, 2009
South Alabama
Ditto on what Dipsy Doodle Doo said.

Definitely check your thermometer against a medical thermometer (one like you check for a fever with). One way to do it is to set your incubator thermometer in your incubator and set a small cup of slightly warm water in there. Let the incubator run for several hours. Read the degrees on the incubator thermometer before you open the incubator. Once you open the incubator, quickly stick the tip of the medical thermometer (I like the digital med thermometers) into the cup of water and wait for it to give you a reading. This should tell you if your incubator thermometer is reading a degree or two high or low.

As for checking the hygrometer...follow the directions that Dipsy Doodle Doo linked to. One think I do, though is add a little less than 1/4 cup of water...if I use a whole 1/4 cup it seems the water completely covers the salt rather than simply creating wet salt that is exposed to the air.

With three hatches under your belt, the incubator conditions that you've listed, and the results you've had it seems something might be going on with one of your measuring devices. Being as the ones that do hatch hatch on day 21 it makes me think the temperature is probably close to correct.

Are you allowing plenty of ventilation? As the embryos develope they require more oxygen.

Also, what breeds of chickens are you hatching?

Best wishes,
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11 Years
Jul 17, 2008
DC Region
They've pointed you in the right direction. The only other thing to check and watch is ventilation. LGs are preset for a certain level and sometimes I'm not certain it's enough. Sometimes closing down the ventilation to up the humidity will kill a hatch.

With my homemades I never "close down" if I feel the humidity needs to go up I add whatever I need to up it without closing anything. That fixed a lot for me. It also helped in the LG I had.

Do check you accuracy in both hydrometer and thermometers so you know your actual.

I shoot for hatches starting at 20 days. Getting to 21/22 makes me nervous.

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