Why Are My Chicks Dying?!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by The Monkey Mama, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. The Monkey Mama

    The Monkey Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 12, 2008
    Kennesaw, GA
    I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

    I have a very temperamental Little Giant still air incubator, and the temp is hard to keep stable, but even so I have been having really good hatches [50-100% hatch rate on shipped eggs].

    But my last 4 hatches over the last 2 weeks have been awful.

    I've had several chicks pip on the *bottom* of their eggs and then it looks like they are drowning after pipping [dark liquid seeps out the pip hole and they are dead in their shells].

    I've had two chicks pip on top and then get kicked over when their sibling hatches out and moves the egg - and they drowned in their shells too it looks like after getting kicked around the incubator.

    I've also had some pipping and not doing anything else, just dying in their shells.

    I've got the humidity as high as it can go in the Little Giant and today I added some wet paper towels to try to keep the humidity up after losing another one that pipped and didn't make it out. Now it is so humid that I have condensation on the windows, but I have one that pipped today that still hasn't made it out even with the increased humidity.

    Anybody know what I'm doing wrong or have any advice? I hate to lose so many chicks!

    Thanks for any help!

    Kelly
     
  2. urbanhatch

    urbanhatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 6, 2008
    New York
    I found that too much humidity is NO good. I keep at 50% and have good hatches. Keep trying, it is experience that seems to help. Get a good Hydrometer. Mine was inexpensive and a great tool.
     
  3. ThePamperedPullet

    ThePamperedPullet Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have a LG also. We don't put any water in ours. But we live in Florida where we have the natural humidity. Ours stays at about 42-48% humidity and we have great hatches. If they seem to be drowning then I would back your humidity down and try no more than about 60% at hatch and see how it goes.
     
  4. urbanhatch

    urbanhatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good advice. Seems everyone is looking to do too much humidity. I am in NY, fluctuates alot at this time of year due to heating, but I keep at around 50%. I get good hatches at 50%.
     
  5. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    Too much humidity can drown the chick in the shell. A hygrometer is a MUST if you are going to hatch eggs even once. Hatching in a egg carton will prevent the eggs rolling over and the chicks getting drowned. Also, DO NOT OPEN THE INCUBATOR THE LAST 3 DAYS OF HATCHING/INCUBATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eggs are porous and they have to absorb the warm moist air surrounding them for the chick to be able to hatch properly. Opening the hatcher even once diminishes your hatch GREATLY.
     
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 15, 2008
    I've got the humidity as high as it can go in the Little Giant and today I added some wet paper towels to try to keep the humidity up after losing another one that pipped and didn't make it out.

    Your doing the opposite of what you need to do. Drowning requires water. If they keep drowning when the eggs get turned downward there is too much water. If the humidity is too high water will collect in the air sac and when the chicks pip (especially on the bottom) they will be met with water instead of air. I've found as a general rule if the dead in shell chicks have broken the membrane and died the humidity was too high and if they never broke the membrane and died it was too low. Too low causes dry membranes that they can't break or stick to.​
     
  7. Jamie821

    Jamie821 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 26, 2008
    Niota, Tennessee
    reading your post I totally agree your humidity is to high. The chicks are pipping and drowning in the air sac because it is full of water. You really need to measure your humidity and i also agree on aroung 60. I dry hatch and have great hatches and I do my hatch humidity at about 55 never over 60
     
  8. urbanhatch

    urbanhatch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a great forum. I wish that I had known this site when I first started. I thought that a high humidity was good. Moderation rules. I keep at about 50%. But where you live is really important. I use a Hovabotor with a fan. Pretty good results. Get a HYDROMETER!!!!!! I got two for $32 and gave one to my sister. Nice gift.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  9. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
  10. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Overrun With Chickens

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    Oct 16, 2008
    wausau,wisconsin
    urbanhatch, what kind of hydrometer do you have and where did you get it??

    My biggest problem overall is chick pipping and then the mambrane dries onto their head and then they cannot zip and they die, unless I catch it and apply a damp rag.. which involves opening the bator, which I really really hate to do..

    I have gone through dozens of thermometers and hydrometers over the years..

    It has become so that I do not trust the reading on anything anymore..

    I have one digital therm/hydro that I have had rather good luck with.. I still do not trust it 100%,
    but I use it as my primary tool..
     

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