when do you take the chicks out of the incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ITzDeclan, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. ITzDeclan

    ITzDeclan Out Of The Brooder

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    I have some chicks that are supposed to hatch on sunday how long should I keep them in the incubator.
    and how old should ]they be to go out side without a heat lamp
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    I am a hands-off-hatcher so after lock-down I do not open the incubator at all till they either all hatch or 1 day past the hatch date. Hands-on-hatchers do different. Chicks can go outside right after they hatch for a short----like if they had their mother hen, but they have to have a heat source to keep rewarming like if their mother was there, But personally during this warmer time of the year I would try to wean them off the heated brooder by lowering the heat some every few days and put them out in a protected area at about 4 weeks with maybe a huddle box and a little light to draw them to the box at night.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2017
  3. Kiawaki

    Kiawaki Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all, I'm at day 22 and most of the chicks are out (including one that pipped at the wrong end). The visible part of incubator looks like a disco club in 1980's, with chicks squirming and bouncing all around. Yesterday they managed to turn the thermo/hygrometer face down, so I relied on the fact that the bator is in the basement where temp is quite stable and I'm familiar with daily fluctuations (which are minor anyway). I didn't want to disturb things while most of them were still hatching and I already had trouble bringing humidity up before that, in fact I was worried if some might end up shrink-wrapped.

    However, this morning there were a lot of them and they were panting and moisture was condensed at the screen, so I hazarded and opened the bator to turn the meter at the right side - and, wow, the temp was 38.5 C (that would be around 102 F) close to the bottom of the tray and moisture was at 88%! So I decided to let some air in to reduce both. The chicks seem more at ease after that. I'm still debating with myself should I take the hatched ones out so that they are not too hot and crowded and thirsty from all that panting (there might be 30 chicks out of 48 eggs now with some still pipping) or wait till the evening (it's 8am at my place now). I think I'll wait till 3 more visibly pipped eggs hatch and those chicks dry, and then transfer them all in a box.
     
  4. southernhusky

    southernhusky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am a very hands on hatcher. But I have staggered hatches so there is just enough time to clean the "hatcher" between. I try to mentally note when certain eggs pip/monitor progress and I use a plastic egg tray for hatching. Humidity that high(above 75...some ppl even say 70) for extended periods has been known to "drown" chicks in the egg and that many would make a mess quick, might not have as much poo but they still have some from the absorbed yolk.I do usually remove chicks when oldest are 2-3 days as long as they look dry I feel they are fine to move. I haven't worried much about external pips, if humidity is low after I've had it open I just add a bit of water to bring it back up to about 65. I'll be honest I've missed a couple eggs(in the far back that are difficult for me to get to because of shelving my 3 incubators sit on) and had them hatch no problem in 25% humidity. Not suggesting that, just saying I personally have seen too high humidity do more damage than too low humidity. One of my incubators was designed for reptiles and has a foam liner in bottom but too many air holes so until I taped them I was having trouble keeping humidity in there was always 20-35% and had a few hatch in there without trouble. I've also handled moved externally pipped eggs that I noticed were a day or two early(in my first few test runs with incubators) and still had them hatch. So use your best judgement from what you have read and are comfortable with. Either way there will be losses even if everything is done perfectly!

    Kiawaki, Do keep in mind chicks will produce a certain amount of heat so that many chicks and poo from absorbed yolk is what spiked the temps and humidity. And that is not good for the chicks. So I hope by now you have them happily settled into their new brooder.

    Heat mats are really a great option in this weather and at a week old I've been turning mine off for the hottest part of the day(when its 90 here) even on week old chicks. The mats I find are best purchased at tractor supply at the end of fall they'll go on clearance for about half off but otherwise they are only around $30 I believe. And compared to the cost/risks of heat light it is a really good option. Just remember chicks kept outside will need protection from drafts as well. And 4 weeks is a good approximate age for this time of year, it will be a little colder than ideal but they will huddle and create some of their own warmth. I've even stuck a few larger 3 week old chicks outside with some 4-5 week olds and they've done well. Honestly only chicks I've lost outside were a couple bantams with some silkie hens and it was probably the hen as it was her first hatch and I don't think she was quite as attentive as she should have been.

    Best of luck both of you!
     
  5. Kiawaki

    Kiawaki Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I just did it 5 mins ago. The chicks looked packed like sardines in a can, about 30 of them. I still have 6 or 7 pipped, which I covered with warm wet cloth while taking the others out. 2 or 3 didn't pip yet and probably won't. Still my greatest success in 3 years. :D Thanks for your advice.
     
  6. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    It's a personal decision. There is no true right or wrong.
    I am a hands on hatcher. I keep my humidity at hatch preferably 75% I open my bator frequently during hatch and I remove egg shells as they hatch and chicks as they become active in the incubator. I do not leave them in the incubator for hours unless they hatch at night or there is a weak chick. Once they are running around, they are pulled out. I do try to wait until I have at least two hatchers in the beginning so I don't have a single chick in the brooder. I believe chicks should have access to food and especially water within the first 24 hours after hatch.

    I do not have a set up in the coop that provides a source of heat, so my chicks don't go out until we have good weather and they are fully feathered.


    Hatch humidity will not drown chicks in the eggs. Moisture does not soak up into the egg from humidity. Humidity controls how much moisture is lost from inside the egg and how fast it losses it. If come hatch time there are chicks drowning in the shell, it is because the humidity during the incubation period has been too high to allow the egg to loose proper moisture. You don't want to have condensation in your bator, no, then there's too much wetness in the incubator meaning the chick is breathing in very moist air which can lead to respiratory issues. Too low humidity during hatch can dry out the membrane of pipped eggs and prevent them from being able to move to progress.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  8. southernhusky

    southernhusky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm just going by what I've read and experienced. Maybe there were other factors but my worst hatch the high humidity at lockdown was the issue I believe because other than the eggs it was the only difference. Either way its best to make as informed a decision as possible. I've done quite a lot of reading but there is so much info out there and so many variables.

    I don't see any difference in my hatches hands on vs hands off and I've done it both ways several times now. I'm doing what has worked for me so far but always open to opinions and suggestions, best way for me to learn has been lots of reading/research and informed decisions.

    Grats on all the chicks and your best hatch yet Kiawaki!
     
  9. Kiawaki

    Kiawaki Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, southernhusky, 3 more hatched and 1 more pip in the meantime here. End of day 22 - and yes, I counted the day of setting as day 0.
     
  10. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I take mine out of the incubator when they are dry or mostly dry and put them in a holding box with a heating pad to wait for the rest of the eggs to hatch. I don't use a heat lamp -- horrible things those heat lamps, and such a difficult way to raise chicks -- and mine go outside into the coop with their heating pad as soon as the hatch is done. If you insist on using that medieval torture device that folks call a brooder lamp, they can go out for short periods on warm days, but to be out permanently, they have to be feathered out enough so they don't need the supplemental heat anymore.
     

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