What are we doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by erinszoo, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, given that we have two homemade incubators, we have only gotten one baby chick out of four sets of eggs. The first bator was one my daughter made for a science class project. We set 12 eggs and had one hatch. About half of them quit half way through and we had three that made it to lock down but only one hatched out. Two other were fully formed and had absorbed the yolk completely but never pipped.

    Our second and third sets were both 12 eggs again and both hatches went to lock down with over half the eggs viable and still going, but none of them hatched.

    Our latest set we built a newer bator, cabinet style. We had no quitters until the day before lock down out of 8 eggs, four quit. The other four should have hatched two days ago. Two of them pipped, but on the wrong end of the shell, one never pipped and was upside down, and the fourth never pipped and had its ... insides outside of it.

    We still have 7 duck eggs going that will be ready for lock down in a couple of days and don't want to lose all of them too.

    So what the blip could we be doing wrong that we can't get them to hatch after growing the whole time? Our temps stay pretty constant at 99 to 100 with 40% humidity. Any ideas???
     
  2. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps



    Your humidity isn't at 40% during lockdown, is it?
     
  3. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, it's between 40 and 50% during lockdown just because we can't get it higher. Does it need to be higher than that? If they were being hatched by their momma in the nest they'd be outside with only 25% humidity at the most.
     
  4. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you pick up a mama hen (a broody) and check out her belly area when she's sitting on eggs, you should be able to feel and see 2 patches of bare skin on either side of her belly, where the eggs sit. She will usually pluck all those feathers out herself, but some breeders trim their broodies' underbellies as well. The eggs are then nestled against the skin rather than the feathers (or very few feathers), thereby creating a humid (and warm) environment. Measured, it's usually no less than 60% in the egg area by her undercarriage come hatch day. A hen will not get up on hatchday, but will sit all day with her eggs. Once they hatch she will usually remain sitting for another 14+ hours. This is the main reason you should have your humidity around 65% in the incubator (I prefer 70%). When mine hatched out, I started at 66%, but when the chick was on its way out, the membrane looked like a cat had scratched a dryer sheet. It was in strips (from the chicks claws) the chick had a heck of a time getting out of there due to the dryness of the membranes.

    Having the humidity less than 60% for lockdown can (and does) cause the membranes to dry out once the chick pips, making it nearly impossible for the chick to get out on its own. More often than not they will suffer from "sticky chick" and "shrinkwrapped chick" due to the dry air getting in through the pip hole.

    Here's more info on why humidity is so important: Warning some include graphic pictures

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/491421/shrink-wrap-vs-sticky-chick
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/617231/shrinkwrapped-chicks-eggtopsy-picture
    http://msucares.com/poultry/reproductions/poultry_environment.html
    http://www.browneggblueegg.com/Article/IncubatorTips.html

    If your humidity was 40-50% during lockdown, that is a problem. I hope you can get the humidity up more in your bator so your next chicks will hatch out healthy for you and your family. [​IMG]

    [Edit] added another link to the list. =)
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I run 40% humidity then shoot for 60% humidity at lock down. There is no reason you can't get that humidity, surface area of water is what counts. Many in dryer climates use sponges, even sponges in a shallow dish of water, it will absorb the water from dish to wick into air from the 5 exposed sides of the sponge. Another thing that can be a problem is if your hygrometer is calibrated. Any web search on calibrating hygrometers will give you the basic salt test: put salt in a bottle, juice, milk cap and add drops of water until it becomes a paste. Put hygrometer and cap of salt in zip lock bag and wait four hours. The humidity in that environment is exactly 70%, adjust (if adjustable) your hygrometer to that or make a note on masking tape how low or high it reads and stick on hygrometer to remind you- i.e. add 5% or sub 8% etc.
     
  6. erinszoo

    erinszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the help everyone! We finally got our hatching box up to between 65% and 70% humidity but are having to watch the temp really close now because it keeps falling to 95. Sigh. We need to move duck eggs over tomorrow so I'm hoping we can get it a little steadier before morning. We ended up hanging wet towels up two of the walls with their ends set in a bowl of water. Crazy but it's so dry here. Fingers crossed.
     

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