Incubating chicken eggs

  • Incubating chicken eggs

    Posted by 3ADscout on September 10, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    Hello all, just joined (9/10/22) and am excited about the site. So I have a question about incubating chicken eggs – I normally put about 30 eggs into the incubator at a time. I have only got about 4-5 to hatch at one try, until this last time when I got 10 to hatch. I am very good about watching the heat and humidity. My neighbor said to cut back on the oyster shells a few weeks before collecting the eggs the eggs for the incubator. I did this the last time and I think that is way I got 10 instead of the 5 I was getting. They are fertile and developed. My only thought at this point was to take them off the oyster shells for about a month before collecting the eggs. These are Rhode Island reds. Anyone have any thoughts/suggestions? Thanks in advance! 3ADscout

    Sunstone replied 1 year, 1 month ago 10 Members · 14 Replies
  • 14 Replies
  • Kika-Jo

    September 11, 2022 at 2:48 am

    Are you adding more humidity near the hatch date? I read something interesting on an e-bay sellers egg listing. They said they use a spray of hydrogen peroxide and water before incubation and improves hatch rate. I didn’t look into it any further. Might be something to look into. I know opening the lid before the hatch is done has killed a few of my hatching chicks. I have to resist that urge to take babies out!

  • pturner72

    September 11, 2022 at 3:55 am

    I bought an inexpensive incubator and only hatched eggs the first time this year so I’m definitely no expert. I did a dry hatch and sprayed the eggs with hydrogen peroxide a week before hatching and had all fertile eggs hatch. Only 1 hatchling died.

    • 3ADscout

      September 11, 2022 at 12:21 pm

      Yes I increase it from 55 to 70%. I’ll have to try the hydrogen peroxide: Thanks

  • JessicaTryingToFarm

    September 11, 2022 at 4:30 am

    I only have a small incubator and I can only get about 10 eggs in there at a time and I have gotten all but one to hatch. All I know is that I use VERY recently laid eggs (no more than like 4-5 days), give them a day or two extra after the 21, don’t open the incubator at all after the 18th day and to stay on top of the humidity in the last few days. It does have to increase a good bit. Helps soften the shell. Do you candle your eggs after a week or so? You are certain they have begun forming babies? I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble. I hope someone here has the exact answer you’re looking for.

    • 3ADscout

      September 11, 2022 at 12:24 pm

      Yes I candle and when I dispose the unhatched eggs I break them to check, very smelly! Thanks for the reply!

  • jeannie34

    September 11, 2022 at 5:42 am

    Is it a self turning incubator?

    • 3ADscout

      September 11, 2022 at 12:25 pm

      Yes it is, do you think I need to manually turn the eggs too?

      • jeannie34

        September 11, 2022 at 2:59 pm

        We didnt but got 5 out of 12. My husband said it was because we got a cheap incubator. Oh fyi if the bottom of incubator is slick put down cabinet liner so they dont get sprawl leg

  • JerseyGiantChick

    September 11, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    All you can do is to follow the hatching program as good as possible, so that the temperature and moisture are right. And keep closed at lockdown, let the chicks hatch do not open up to peek. And do not take the chicks out to early, let them rest and dry up. Start the time from the first one that hatch, so you know how long the other ones still have to hatch.

    We do not help them to hatch, if they do not make it they are to weak. But we do control the temp, moisture and time as perfect as we can.

    We are hatching a few eggs each year, and saved years towards professional incubators like MS and Hemel. Glad we went that route, and now the incubators can do their job for a few years.

  • CrazyCats

    September 11, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    I keep 2 incubators. I had one die right in the middle of incubation. I have quail but incubating is the same pretty much Chickens just 4 days longer. Lockdown is last few days with no turning and humidity 65 to 70 percent for either bird. I started dry as the humidity was spot on without water added at the time. It varies whether dry or add dampened foam depending on time of year. Winter need to add more humidity.

    Never heard of using hydrogen peroxide for either myself. Satisfied with hatch rate as I do around 50 as I expect losses. Hard to candle quail eggs so I don’t.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by  CrazyCats.
  • MaBear

    September 11, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    Your favorite incubator please.

    • JerseyGiantChick

      October 15, 2022 at 5:14 am

      Ms is Dutch brand and hemel, heka is like hemel and both German brand.

  • Jen-in-Ok

    October 14, 2022 at 6:58 pm

    I’m in n-e Oklahoma, and I can only ever get a good hatch (with ancient incubators ) in the early spring and late fall. it’s too humid and the temperature swings too much throughout the day the rest of the year (i don’t have central heat/air) even then i never put water in my incubators even when hatching – otherwise they drown…

    so, you may have to take a hard look at WHY the chicks aren’t hatching. are they dieing at a couple weeks in? (not enough turning, poor flock nutrition, temperature swings)

    are they dying at pip? Are they gooey around the chick? does the chick look big? it’s legs look ‘puffy/swollen’?(high humidity) are they dried to the membrane and unable to turn? (low humidity) are they positioned weird in the egg? head under a wing, head pointed to the narrow end of the egg? (not enough turning or bad position in incubator)

    crack them open when they fail, and learn why. if you are afraid of cracking one open that isn’t dead yet, it is safe to crack open the area over the air sack. it won’t kill them and they can still hatch out – you do have to put some cooking oil on the exposed membrane to keep them from drying out too much – then put them back into the incubator.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Jen-in-Ok.
  • Sunstone

    October 20, 2022 at 8:12 am

    Have you tried putting a couple other thermometers and hygrometers in the incubator to check? Sometimes the built-in meters don’t work very well and you could be running it too hot or too cold or too dry.

    Also, how old are the eggs your’e putting in? Past a week the fertility really drops off. I would probably not let them get more than 3-4 days old before starting them honestly, because the hatch rate is so much worse if the eggs aren’t really fresh.

    Final suggestion, have you cracked open the eggs that dont’ hatch? You can tell a lot from those. I’ve used this reference ( as a guide in the past. If you notice a pattern you may be able to isolate your problem. If I do everything right I can get a 80-90% hatch rate, so you can definitely get it up.

    I’ve never heard of taking away oyster shells before collecting eggs for hatching – I’m no expert but I can’t imagine that’s the cause of the problem.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Sunstone.

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