What to do with multiple hatch-dates/species in same 'bator?


10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
Seattle area (Kirkland)
A friend who hatches chicks, ducklings & other poultry in her little Hovabator all the time - real low tech, there, she turns them by hand & has hatched out probably hundreds - gave me some hen's eggs and 2 duck eggs. They are 17 days into incubation. I have 1 known live duck egg; the other died & was removed. 2 brown shelled chicken eggs remain. I cannot see much through the dark shells and I suspect they both died early (though since the one duck egg is still alive, I know I can't have messed up TOTALLY)....

I know I need to up the humidity for them to hatch (if there's anybody alive in there). I also need to stop turning them tomorrow. I can't imagine the humidity harming the duck egg, as a mother duck would swim and come back with a wet belly, but it's not due to hatch for another week & a half. I can stop turning the hen's eggs, but I can't stop turning the duck egg, can I? ....which means I'll have to open the incubator to do it.

Can I open quick, turn the duck egg, close the lid, then spray some water in immediately through a vent hole to up the humidity again?

I could alternatively move the duck egg to my other 'bator, whose eggs are not due to hatch for another 2 weeks, BUT the humidity would be lower....?

Also, how do you folks usually dispose of discarded eggs? I've been burying them.
Disposing of bad eggs... you can bury them or seal them in a ziplock bag and toss them in the trash. I've also send a few down the disposal.

As for hatching... I hatch mixed batches all the time. A lot of people swear the temp and humidity can't vary at all without impacting your hatch rate, but that's not been my experience. When I have to get chicks out of the 'bator, or turn still-developing eggs, I just lift the lid, snake my hand inside, and do whatever it is I need to do. Heat rises, so if I just lift the lid, the heat is still trapped.

Helps if you have a fan in your bator too, because that eliminates any cold spots.

Another tip... place a paper towel in the incubator and mist it with water whenever you open the lid. They dry quickly, which rehydrates the air. Much better than a sponge.

Kathy, Bellville TX
I agree... my experience has been temperature and humidity are important but not THAT important as long as it's not too hot. Any chicken I've ever had go broody still gets up off the eggs she's setting on to eat, whatever and they're generally away from the eggs longer than anything I'm doing in the incubator.
I'm not doing very well with this batch.
I'm on day 8, and I added a bit of water today (not much, maybe 1T) to what I THOUGHT was the paper towel in the corner. It rolled down, soaked into the paper egg cartons, and the temp in the carton dropped to 90F via evaporation by the time I found it. The eggs feel cold. I've warmed it back up but a quick candling shows no movement.

I feel awful.

I know hens will get up and move around and sometimes be gone a while, but a 10F drop?

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