1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

words of encouragement needed

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by paynesgrae, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. paynesgrae

    paynesgrae Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2012
    I know to wait but it is sooo hard. This is my first time having chickens. Last month I got 4 beautiful healthy friendly chicks who are thriving and are 6, 7, 8, and 9 weeks old. But I fell in love with Sebrights and can not find chicks anywhere near me. soooo...


    On March 4th I ordered 6 Silver Sebright eggs from Ebay. On the 6th a friend loaned me her hovabator and I immediately got it up a running. On the 7th the eggs arrived. Seven SS eggs all but one were in great shape. The one that wasn't had a huge indent and cracks but the membrane looked okay so I plopped in the egg turner just to see.

    At first everything was going great until day 4 and the temperature no longer wanted to stay at 99.5 It kept going down to 98. If I turned it up it wanted to skip 99, 100, 101, and 102 and go to 103. So I took a chance and stuck with 98. At one week I candled and had what looked like three unfertilized and 4 little kicking chicks. YAY! I candled again on the second week. Still three empty eggs. Two of the eggs were squirming around but the last two although bigger were now cloudy and had a blood ring around them. BOOO! Left them all in just in case. I think it has to do with the repair man we had over. He kept leaving the door open. After he left I about died when I saw the bater had dropped down to 80. Day 15 No eggs are moving, freak out, buy more eggs off of ebay, hop on here and find out it happens sometimes. Whew! Still can't sleep though get up at 2am and candle again. MOVEMENT! Yay and sleep.

    Day 18 candled one last time and tossed out the two quitters and the other three. Locked everything down. Here is where I get stupid... End of day 18 eggs are rocking and rolling. Ebay eggs show up... uh oh... Day 19 not as much movement Crap! I forgot to add the water (I have no hydrometer). Open it up and quickly add water to the second reservoir. Condensation... Oh no did I add to much water?! Condensation goes away after about 30 min. By the middle of day 20 no more movement. 21 no movement no pipping no peeping... Run to store buy my own incubator. "What do you mean you don't sell hydrometers?!!" Today day #22 nothing. Take them out for a quick candle. Only candle for about 10 seconds each egg. Huge air sac no noticeable movement. Nice veins on one of them no noticeable veins on the other. New incubator has been holding the temp for almost a day so I put the new eggs in it. Getting a hydrometer tonight. :/

    So here I sit staring at eggs no sleep last night depressed and feeling stupid. :( For someone who spent weeks reading up on chickens and eggs I sure did a good job of screwing up.

    What do you think? Is there still hope? The air sacks look way bigger now on day 22 than they were on day 18. :(
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  2. smchickfarm

    smchickfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    986
    2
    133
    Mar 9, 2010
    Waynesville,OH
    I say there is still a chance. Can you hear an peeping? You can slightly tap on the eggs and then see if you hear anything.

    Sometimes they come a little late, especially when humidity and temp have not been steady. I would give them a couple more days and see.

    good luck! and let us know!
     
  3. DirtCreature

    DirtCreature Chillin' With My Peeps

    652
    9
    113
    Aug 8, 2011
    Olympia, Washington
    absolutely! give them time, sit on your hands, and don't open the bator! [​IMG]

    Hopefully you will get some to hatch!

    Good luck, I'm waiting for chick pictures and an update!
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,703
    43
    228
    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Awww... hugs! You're doing fine. These eggs may not make it--that's the hard news. It sounds like they were doing fine on Day 18 & 19. My best guess as to what happened is that they dried out and couldn't escape from the eggs. It's also possible (and about as likely, in my estimation) that they were run at too high a humidity and the air cells never developed well enough.

    So. Moving on. First of all, you are doing JUST FINE. Everyone messes up a batch or two of eggs, especially when first getting started. Sure, some people have a great hatch right away the first time, but anyone who hatches for any length of time is going to occasionally have a group of complete duds. For me, it was in my second season of hatching and I made the mistake of leaving quail eggs in when I knew they probably weren't viable, and then adding duck eggs. I didn't know that the non-viable quail eggs would release large amounts of humidity into the incubator, causing the air cells to underdevelop in my duck eggs, and resulting in babies that developed fully and tried to hatch, but drowned before ever pipping. So sad... but that's life, you know? Mother nature can be brutal.

    Next. What can you learn from the experience? In our family, we don't see failure as a bad thing. I was tickled when I walked in on my 8-year-old with a science set and asked him how it was going. His answer: "Great! I've tried a lot of things and failed a lot of times. I'm making progress!"

    A few questions to see if we can tease out what happened for next time. How big were the air cells when you locked them down? Optimally, they should be close to one third the volume of the egg--think about that. That's HUGE. One fourth is acceptable. Anything smaller than a fourth of the size of the egg, and your babies are going to have a very tough time getting out. If your air cells are too small at lockdown, next time run your incubator on a lower humidity during the first portion and/or spritz them with water daily (counterintuitively, spritzing with water actually helps air cell development, because the presence of moisture on the egg shell encourages the moisture inside to come out--polarity and some other science-speak that I only marginally understand and so on).

    If your air cells were a third the size of the egg (or even a quarter), then your problem may have been humidity DURING lockdown. I don't use a hygrometer during lockdown (actually, I don't use one at all--I measure air cell size throughout incubation and adjust humidity up and down in response). During lockdown, I add water until I get condensation inside the windows. Too high (at this stage) is better than too low on humidity. Make sure, if you add water during lockdown, that it is warm (as close to 99 degrees as you can get it) water. Otherwise, it will lower the temp of your incubator and will not contribute to humidity until it warms up. Water that is too hot, on the other hand, can cause dangerous temp spikes.

    Now, back to the current batch. It's possible that they're still in there. Lower incubation temps can lead to a late hatch. I would give them another day and then take several out and candle them carefully. If there is no movement in any of them, carefully open one at the air cell end and take another close look for movement. Still no movement, then you can carefully open it the rest of the way and see what happened in there. Make a note of the size of the air cells, as that will provide valuable information for next time. You can also look for abnormalities among the babies--sometimes temp spikes at the wrong time in incubation can lead to deformities that may inhibit hatching ability.

    Your ebay eggs: You can probably store them for several days at room temp before you need to put them in the incy. Just sit on them for a bit (not literally, lol!), learn what you can from this batch, and then try again.

    Hope that helps, and hoping for a happier hatching experience next time around!
     
  5. paynesgrae

    paynesgrae Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2012
    Thanks all, Fingers crossed. [​IMG]

    I just wish they hadn't have turned into little jumping beans for two days and now nothing for two days. Not even a little wobble.

    I did put my ear up to both of them but nothing. I didn't listen for but a few seconds. Wanted them back in that incubator asap. [​IMG]
     
  6. paynesgrae

    paynesgrae Out Of The Brooder

    19
    0
    22
    Mar 1, 2012
    Cat at lock-down the air cells were at about 1/4 maybe slightly smaller but not by much. Today (#22) they are about 1/3

    Ebay eggs were set this morning in a separate incubator
     
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,703
    43
    228
    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    So the good news is that your humidity was probably in good shape during incubation (though running it a touch lower next time might improve results). It sounds like maybe they had problems right at the end, which could be due to loss of humidity during lockdown.

    So here's what you need to know about humidity during lockdown. Every time you open the incubator, a flush of dry air rushes into the incubator and sucks moisture out of the membranes. This happens even if the opening is so brief that your hygrometer doesn't register a change in humidity. Best case scenario, set them up at lockdown with plenty of moisture--full reservoirs, warm wet washcloths, cardboard egg cartons pre-soaked, sponges, etc. Then close it up and don't open again. I have a water bottle with a piece of aquarium tubing glued in place to squeeze water into the incubator when the reservoirs get low or the cloths start to dry out. Someone on these boards taught me the design for it, and it's a life saver. You can also just pour water through the vent holes if you position your reservoirs and/or cloths just right.

    Of course, it's not an ideal world. If you MUST open the incubator, the length of time the eggs are out of the incy is less critical than how many times you open it. So it is better to take your time and do what needs to be done ONCE than to rush through and then feel like you need to do it again later. Also, if possible, open it at a time & in a place that is warm and humid. A bathroom with a steamy shower is awesome if you can manage it, but not strictly necessary.

    If you're going to candle, check for peeping, etc., then go ahead and take out whichever eggs you're going to test all at once, and keep them in an egg carton while you test. Temperature is less critical now than during the main portion of incubation, because the babies are generating some of their own heat. So they won't get too cold in the amount of time you'll need to do what you're going to do. Then take your time with them. Ten or fifteen minutes is not too long for them to be out. When you're done, put them all back at the same time and resist the urge to open it again unless you really must.

    Once your system is in place, you shouldn't ever have to open the incubator more than once a day, tops, during lockdown (and preferably, of course, not at all).


    All of that being said, I think it's possible that you put them in lockdown too early. If you were running at low temps throughout incubation, they will take longer to develop. There is a stage at which they are most active and "rocking," and it happens before they are quite ready to hatch. Once they fill the egg all the way up, right before hatch, they are too tightly packed to rock much. So give them a little more time.

    Good luck!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by