Why do some chicks die in shell?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cattbird, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. cattbird

    cattbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have some expensive show breed eggs on the way, and have only hatched 1 chick out of the last 3 batches.

    The first was low humidity and none of the eggs hatched.. one that I opened had a deformed foot.

    Second I had temp spike

    Third hatch temp was stable at 99.5, humidity, 50 last 4/5 days not above 60-70 (Had to be 4/5 days as I was hatching another in same bator) I opened the bator to get the 1 early chick out since the others weren't due for another few days.. and opened the bator to take hygrometer out. Would that have killed the eggs in shell? or the longer lockdown causing moisture in shell?

    The dead chicks had fully absorbed yolks, still had veining, hadn't pipped, membranes were normal? Could it be the incubator?

    I just don't get it. This time i'll try dry incubation. I can't lose anymore like this, it's horrible when they get right to the end then die. I really feel like getting to day 20/21 then opening them all so at least they have some chance of life?
     
  2. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Were they shrink-wrapped? I would guess that they would be if you opened the 'bator.

    What sort of incubator?

    Sounds like you may know at least some of the reasons already. Low humidity, heat spike (how high and for how long?), opening the 'bator, going on lockdown early... these are all valid reasons.

    ~Cherlyn
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  3. cattbird

    cattbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope, the egg I opened wasn't shrink wrapped at all? The low humidity and temp spike killed the first two hatches but i'm baffled on the third.

    Someone told me on another thread that a 60-70 humidity level for last 4/5 days wouldn't have been the rerason for the D.I.S - Do you think it may have been.

    Could opening the incubator twice very quickly caused a whole hatch to die before pipping? Would the veins be an indicator they werent even ready to pip?

    Also to add.. They were from different sellers so was definitely something I did as a pose to a defective gene.

    My incubator is a cheap small one.. covatutto 7.

    I really need to do anything to prevent this new hatch from dying at the last moments.
     
  4. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah-ha! A link!

    I too use the Covatutto 7, and I have terrible hatch rates with it. Methinks we need to ditch them.

    ~Cherlyn
     
  5. cattbird

    cattbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh dear. I had hoped it was something I could do differently. What is your hatch rate like?

    I can not afford to buy another incubator at the moment, so guess I will just have to use this one [​IMG] and hope and pray for the best.

    Do you think trying to help them out before they die next time is a bad idea?
     
  6. Cherlyn

    Cherlyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nope, I do not think that is true. If one is clearly in distress, then I will help out a little bit. I had to do that a few times with this last hatch - they had pipped and partially zipped but could not finish - they were too big!

    My hatch rates with the Covatutto so far have been less than 25%. I get better results with my homemade 'bator and the R-Com 20! Unfortunately, with my four staggered hatches that are coming up at the beginning of next week, one group of eggs will have be stuck in the Covatutto. I am thinking it might be the quail - those things can hatch no matter what is going on around them, it seems! [​IMG]

    ~Cherlyn
     
  7. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

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    I can't see your incubator but my first thought is adequate ventilation at hatch. Without it hatches are low or not at all once chicks begin to breathe.

    No - quickly opening and shutting a bator at hatch should not kill them all. I stagger hatch in THE SAME bator all the time, I turn the other eggs by hand a few times a day. I still get good hatches.

    Have you? :

    calibrated your thermometer and hygrometers?
    How many vents are there and where, can you take pics?

    It has a fan yes?

    Are you using a water wiggler or fake egg and probe?

    Temp spikes do not necessarily kill entire hatches - even spikes to 134 degrees have yielded live chicks.

    Power failure also does not kill an entire hatch if you persist in most cases.

    Ventilation and humidity problems often kill entire hatches.

    What the humidity and ventilation situation are when a chick begins to actually breathe does determine successful hatch and can kill whole hatches. That's the area I'd work were I you.

    In my case it was a combination of too high a humidity and too low a ventilation that made my first couple of hatches very rough.

    Customizing things to your situation takes a bit of wrestling - good notes - and observation.

    There is a WHOLE thread in the Hatching Read Me thread about ventilation - read it.

    Some homes, micro-climates and situations require more than the factory set ventilation set up and different humidity than is "common".

    Figuring that out can be a bit tricky but worthwhile.

    Check your measurement tools and read up, bet you will get there in time.
     
  8. cattbird

    cattbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    Thanks for your reply. This is my incubator. You see one small air vent in the photo, there are 3 on the lid. Would that be adequate?

    I have 4 calibrated thermometer and hygrometers. It is still air - no fan.
    I didn't know that humidity and ventilation wrre more lethal to entire hatches than temperature spikes.

    I'm not using any fake egg probes etc, but all my thermometers read the same or if not only a fraction out..

    I have a question.. Would the ventilation still be a big problem before the chick has pipped? None of my dead in shells had.. but were in position.

    I've just read maybe they were too large for the egg. They were shipped eggs.

    What humidity levels would you recommend for days 0-18 then 18-21?

    Ill go read that thread now.
     
  9. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, just before pip/hatch ventilation - fresh air is critical as is appropriate humidity level. Unfortunately you, my friend are in the UK and I am in TN in the US. Our humidity needs for hatch are different. I dry hatch, rarely if ever adding any water to the incubator.

    That was discovered only by trial and error.

    You may want to add one hole to the incubator - which may mean tinkering with your thermostat slightly and resetting it for the new ventilation rate.

    Still air can be tricky until you figure the individual bator out. I shifted to forced air fairly quickly - about the fifth hatch. Never went back.

    My homemades have at least one and often two fans. And then I calibrate and set temps to handle the ventilation rate. That got me great hatches.
     
  10. Quyen Le

    Quyen Le Chillin' With My Peeps

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    30-35% on 0-18, 55-60 during lock down.
     
    minihorsemama likes this.

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