What else can I do to speed up air cell growth? Do I still have a chance?

PaulX

Songster
Nov 15, 2018
309
815
171
Hello,

It's an emergency!

I'm on day 20 of duck incubation (so 19 days have passed), and all my eggs have air cell size between the size of 10 and 15 days shown below here, the majority of them even much closer to 10 days' size than 15.
375

I added a little water until the relative humidity was between 55-60% for the first 13 days. Seeing the air cells already worryingly small back then, I stopped adding water and have been running dry, but even dry the humidity was about 39-40% Now I just candled again because I'm worried about the air cells, and they were still so worrying small as said above.

To make matters worse, when I closed the incubator lid and started it up again, the humidity shot up to 72%! The outdoors humidity is 74% right now according to weather forecast, seems the humidity was only lower before I opened the incubator because yesterday's air was dryer. I'll have to try reopening the incubator again tomorrow to bring the humidity down (tomorrow's humidity is forecasted to be 59%, at least much better than today.

Is there anything else I could do to salvage this batch of eggs? I don't have a dehumidifier or anything like that, not even a clue how to get one... never seen one before in my life.

I'm thinking I might try to reduce the temperature to below optimal temperature, to delay the development and hatch so I have more time to lose the moisture. I'm also thinking of making small hole in the shell and maybe break the air cell myself at day 26 so I can ensure the embryo have air to breathe. In fact I am even thinking of cracking the shell a little at the top now, as one egg that came slightly cracked from shipping currently have the biggest air cell and ironically the most likely to survive.

Do you reckon these are good ideas?

Do you have experience with very small air cells? How was your chance?

Da..n most of the humidity recommendations on the internet were dead wrong. I even saw an academic article that says 65% humidity give best result for duck eggs, couldn't be more wrong.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,916
832
California's Redwood Coast
Da..n most of the humidity recommendations on the internet were dead wrong. I even saw an academic article that says 65% humidity give best result for duck eggs, couldn't be more wrong.
It stinks that there is sooo much misinformation available. Glad you found BYC! Welcome. :frow

I closed the incubator lid and started it up again, the humidity shot up to 72%! The outdoors humidity is 74% right
The humidity should really never be that close... IF you are running DRY. Generally the heat makes a good difference... even if you may have to let it stabilize a couple hours to see the true #. But my humidity at home rarely ever goes below 75% (often 99%) and I can usually get my bator to run around 35%.

So... you can't just get all your evaporation to take place at the last few days... is my understanding... but YES there are things you can try and STILL be successful. Life finds a way!

Some things I have heard of... adding DRY rice inside your bator might help reduce humidity.

Are you in the US? Adding your location to your profile can help people makes better suggestions at a glance without having to ask first. ;)

No, I personally would NOT risk adding my own cracks... which could could introduce bacteria or damage something. While that cracked egg may have the best looking air cell... there are other unknowns..

So part of the issue with small air cells is the embryo might grow too big to turn and get in position for hatching...

Some people who have small cell issues will hatch upright... like in an egg carton... though they have to be watchful for any malpositions that pip below the carton.

Your air cells will still continue to grow quite a bit over the next few days. I haven't hatched ducklings, just chicks so far. I personally also would NOT lower the temperature to delay development... but I'm not you... and we all try new things that we are comfortable with... late hatchers are weaker in my experience... I rather take my chances as is... BUT I am here to learn and see what works and doesn't for other people as well. :pop

@WVduckchick Any words of wisdom here? :highfive:

Hope it comes along better than you anticipate. Happy hatching! :fl:jumpy:jumpy
 

PaulX

Songster
Nov 15, 2018
309
815
171
Some things I have heard of... adding DRY rice inside your bator might help reduce humidity.

Are you in the US? Adding your location to your profile can help people makes better suggestions at a glance without having to ask first. ;)

No, I personally would NOT risk adding my own cracks... which could could introduce bacteria or damage something. While that cracked egg may have the best looking air cell... there are other unknowns..

So part of the issue with small air cells is the embryo might grow too big to turn and get in position for hatching...

Some people who have small cell issues will hatch upright... like in an egg carton... though they have to be watchful for any malpositions that pip below the carton.

@WVduckchick Any words of wisdom here? :highfive:

Hope it comes along better than you anticipate. Happy hatching! :fl:jumpy:jumpy

Thank you. I have decided to go with the following.

1. not intentionally lower temperature to delay development.
2. putting some silica gel (a desiccant) into the incubator.
3. probably will not hatch up right.
4. not making my own crack.
5. will make 'safety hole' (as in this article https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/guide-to-assisted-hatching-for-all-poultry.72886/ ) at the top of each air cell, maybe right after lockdown or maybe after the egg internally pips. (the 2nd option will require me to open the incubator a lot, so while safer, will not be practical.)

I'm not in the US. My climate here is very warm. It is winter, but we have maybe the warmest winter on the entire earth.
 

AverellFarms

Chirping
Mar 14, 2021
45
115
79
Thank you. I have decided to go with the following.

1. not intentionally lower temperature to delay development.
2. putting some silica gel (a desiccant) into the incubator.
3. probably will not hatch up right.
4. not making my own crack.
5. will make 'safety hole' (as in this article https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/guide-to-assisted-hatching-for-all-poultry.72886/ ) at the top of each air cell, maybe right after lockdown or maybe after the egg internally pips. (the 2nd option will require me to open the incubator a lot, so while safer, will not be practical.)

I'm not in the US. My climate here is very warm. It is winter, but we have maybe the warmest winter on the entire earth.
How did this turn out for you? I have small air cells on my chicken eggs at day 16 and have been trying for two days to get them to grow.
 

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