Monday, April 20, 2009

incubating puzzle

i turned off the incubator last night and took the eggs out today and smashed them one by one to determine fertility rate. it turns out, there were 19 more eggs with almost fully developed chicks. that means, out of 42, we had 38 fertile eggs.

i'm puzzled. why did they stop? did i stop turning them too soon? the literature said stop 3 days before hatch and i did. then i had eggs start hatching w/in 24 hours of stopping. perhaps i should have kept turning them for another 2 days and stop it 1 day before hatch? it really is sad that we lost out on 1/2 of our chicks because of possibly the last 48 hours.

if anyone can help me out with this or point me in the right direction i'd really appreciate it. while i'm happy we got 19 this year, i'm sad that it could have been double and they were snuffed out so close to the end of the cycle. (there were 2 chicks that were very tiny and died a few weeks back it seems but the rest were full size).


Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

I don't know anything about it, but that sure sucks! :(

Stephany said...

I don't know much about incubating, Dad always bought live chicks from the local farm store. I do remember that we would even lose a few of those so perhaps it is just the nature of raising chickens.

MMP said...

I use a similar incubator and had similar results.

I think there is more temperature fluxations than is optimal.

I can't say I have a lot of experience, but I think anything you can do to stabilize the temperature (without eliminating the natural airflow through the intened holes) would probably help. Keeping it a draft free area, avoid opening it more than absolutley necessary. You could even put a box with some holes in it over the incubator.

I sprang for the fan and the automatic turner, and I think I get better results than I did without them.

Gina said...

Sorry I am late to reply!

I second MMP on the temperature fluxations. I read in the Storey Poultry book last night that fully formed chicks with no pipping can be caused by the temp flux, humidity issue, or hereditary problems. They recommend (like MMP) stabilizing the temps and humidity (the latter especially during the three non-turning days) and the last is just trial and error on inherited hatchabilty rates.

I put a dozen eggs in a new incubator last night (I ordered a R-Com which has a digital temperature & humidity gauge and auto turning. It was expensive, but I want to start heritage turkeys program. I found a distributor out of AZ that had the best prices and after pricing the fan, turner and main styrofoam type unit it was only a $150 or so more and seems more sturdy). I'll let you know how it works. Maybe i couold 'rent" it to you for the cost of shipping (LOL!!)

This is another reason where local "community sharing" would come in handy. A group could go together and buy a pro-incubator for multiple families. Sigh.

Gina said...

O, I'll add to that if I get to the point where I can get a better hatching rate, I think the R-com will pay for itself. Ordering chicks from the hatcheries with shipping is really expensive! And, the local TSC is so weird about chicks in the store now (they claim they can't carry them here due to cock fighting, but I am not sure how that affects the pullets and ducklings).

Ok, enough sounding like a commercial!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear this. We had poor results too this year. Our eggs were mail order though.

Our hatch rate:
24 eggs
4 hatched
2 dead in shell about 1 week before hatch.
rest were clear liquid when broke open. infert.?

I have been told the same thing, about our incubator (the same as yours) the temp and humidity can't be controlled well enough.

tansy said...

mmp - we do have the automatic turner and the fan...

i may try the box trick next time. as for the heat fluctuations, i wouldn't think that would matter as much during the incubation since the hens usually get up at least once a day to eat and drink and the eggs cool off then.

i wonder if the problem happened when i opened it up to remove the hatched chicks? they hatched 2-3 at a time so it was opened quite a bit.

Gina said...

Just a suggestion (I am definitely no expert), but I think fluxations in the opposite manner (too high at times). However, I don't now for sure.

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