What the heck happened?????

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by beebiz, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. beebiz

    beebiz Songster

    Jul 2, 2007
    W. Tennessee
    After what I have just experienced, I am about ready to throw in the towel and quit! If this had happened the first time I incubated eggs, I would have quit! Here's the story.... I hope someone can help me diagnose!!

    I have 13 Buff Orp hens and 3 Buff Orp roos. All were about 7 months old when the eggs were collected. The temp inside the weasel ranged between 99.2 and 99.9 with the major portion of the temps being dead on at 99.5. There was one exception to this that I will explain below. The humidity dropped steadily from the initial set at 47% down to a minimum of 29%. At that time, I added some water to the trough and I maintained a level of between 35% and 38% RH to the end.

    Day one, I set 47 eggs (that's all my turner will hold) in the automatic egg turner in my Hovabator incubator. The weasel temp was 99.5 before I set the eggs. It dropped to 78.7 before stabilizing at 99.5 the next afternoon. The humidity was at 47%.

    Day 7, I candled all 47 eggs and found 3 clear one which I removed. The remaining 44 eggs appeared to be fertile and developing properly.

    Day 14, I re-candled all 44 eggs. Every one of them seemed to be right on track.

    I checked the temp and humidity many times each day to ensure that they were at acceptable levels. It was either day 15, 16 or 17 (I can't remember which and I forgot to write it down) that I was unable to check the temp and rh except around 6:00 AM and then again around 10:30 PM. When I checked everything that night, for some reason the temp inside the weasel had spiked to 103.8. I dont' know how long it had been that way, but that's what it said the high was when I pushed the "hi/lo" button.

    Since yesterday was day 21 and I had seen no sign of pipping and had heard absolutely no sound from the eggs, I decided to check a couple. Long story short (or is it too late for that??) all 44 eggs had chicks that were developed to what appeared to be the same stage with little to no down on them. As "healthy looking" as they were, they were dead!!

    This made me physically sick! Would you say that the probable cause of the 100% dead out was the temp spike?? Or do you have any other suggestions to offer??

    Thank you in advance for your input!

  2. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Songster

    Hi Robert,
    Sorry to hear about your hatch. I've had the same thing happen twice and it's very frustrating and disheartening. Do you have your bator plugged into a surge protector? I have learned the hard way that this is absolutely necessary.

    That being said, in all likelihood, since all of the embryos died at the same stage and that stage seems to coincide with your temp spike, it is probably the culprit.

    I'm so sorry! I know how it feels to have to throw out a whole batch of eggs that were developing nicely.

    Don't give up, though!! Get a surge protector and fill up that bator again!!!

  3. beebiz

    beebiz Songster

    Jul 2, 2007
    W. Tennessee
    Thanks, Lori! It seriously is disheartening to pitch that many eggs after seeing how well they were developing. I too figured that the temp spike was the cause of death since all chicks seemed to have died at the same stage of development. As far as the surge protector is concerned.... yep... got one and don't do a hatch without it!!

    Thanks for the condolences and for the input.

  4. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Songster

    Maybe you need a new wafer?
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Hi, Robert. You are not alone.

    I am just sick with anticipation on my hatch as well. Tomorrow is day 21. I have coddled my eggs from Cynthia and just keep praying something will hatch. I had a temp spike not once but twice. I fear my eggs are all dead. I candled last night and wouldn't see any movement at all.

    It just makes me sick, too.

    I am sorry you had seemingly the same problems.
  6. Hi,
    I'm so sorry they didn't make it [​IMG]
    Were you measuring air temp at egg height or only temp in the weasel?
    A temperature spike of 103 (air temp) shouldn't have been enough to kill your embryos, but with a temp of 103 in the weasel there's no telling how hot it really got when it spiked.
    Even so, 103 is only a degree and a half above 101.5 (recommended for still-air bator) and I wouldn't think would be high enough to kill them all.
    I can't imagine what else it could be, tho.
    I hope you get it figured out.

  7. peeps7

    peeps7 Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    North Carolina
    Hate to still your post but I've got a question. In summer it gets to be about 100degrees or even a little hotter than that but anyways my question is when hens set eggs in summer, doesn't it get hotter than 101 degrees?
  8. Arklady

    Arklady Songster

    Jan 30, 2007
    It is has been thought that the hens know when the temps are same as her body temp and she leaves the nest to forage and drink not to mention poo... So I would say they know. The only time I have not seen a chicken leave the nest to eat and drink is when the weather is questionable in coolness. She won't budge. I just put feed near her and then after she eats I push her off to go get something to drink. She is never gone for long.

    Hope that helped...

    But on the other note... Is it now the opinion of all concerned that temp spikes are caused by electrical surges to the bator???

  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    At that time, I added some water to the trough and I maintained a level of between 35% and 38% RH to the end.

    I didn't see where you raised the humidity the last three days; did I miss that? If you had humidity in the 30's the last three days, that may have done it.​
  10. beebiz

    beebiz Songster

    Jul 2, 2007
    W. Tennessee
    Lori, if it were a problem with the wafer, wouldn't it cause more than a single temp spike??? I don't konw, I'm just asking.

    MissPrissy, I hate to hear that you may be headed down the same road as me. I certainly hope that your outcome is better than mine..... 100% better!!

    Lisa, the temp spike was measured with the weasel. I also had a therm at egg height, but it doesn't store the hi/lo temps.... just the current temp. The weasel recorded a high temp of 103.8. Though that is only 1.8 higher than the recommended ambient temp for still air incubators, it is 4.8 (just two tenths less than 5 degrees) higher than the temp that is recommended for the inside of the weasel or egg. Since the 103.8 spike was measured by the weasel, I would think that the inside of the eggs would have reached the same. As I said in my original post, I don't know how long it lasted. But knowing how fragile the unhatched chicks are, I figured if it lasted several hours it might have killed the chicks. But, I don't know.

    Thanks for all the kind words and input from everyone.


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