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Incubator problems
11

LaBelleDameSansPatience · 26/05/2012 22:01

I split some eggs with a friend and put mine in the incubator 3 days later. Some of hers are hatching and I am looking at the problems she is having and trying to avoid them. One obvious problem is that the eggs are a mixture of bantam, chicken and turkey eggs. I wouldn't have done that, but too late now. Would welcome any advice.

Her chicks seem to be too dry - they are sticking in the eggs and she is helping them out but several are dying in the process. Any ideas? Gently spraying individual eggs with tepid water for a couple of days before hatching?

Chicks are huddling together in her brooder box, but in the corner furthest from the heat lamp. Too hot or too cold?

I have only ever hatched from broodies before (and may go back to that in future!)

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MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe · 27/05/2012 13:28

Bantams/chickens are ok as they have the same hatch times etc Turkey hatch at 28 days so having them together is not great because of the differing humidity requirements and also if eggs are hatching earlier they release bacteria into the incy.

At 18 days (pipping) you need to get the humidity up to 75% so spraying is fine. This softens the eggshell and makes it easier for the chick to hatch.

Somtimes chicks do find it difficult to hatch, some people say that if they can't manage it themselves they they are not fit enough to survive. I don't subscribe to that and have had a number of very good birds that I've helped hatch but it needs to be done VERY carefully otherwise they will bleed to death. Once they have broken through the shell, leave for 24 hours - if no progress (i.e hole in the egg is no bigger has been made at that point pick away a bit of eggshell. Underneath it there are 2 membranes - a thick leathery one and a gelatinous one which contain blood vessels. Pull a little bit of the leathery one away and see if the gelatinous membrane is bright red - if it is or there is bleeding, leave the chick alone for a few hours - it may not be ready to hatch. If the membrane is not bright red - the blood looks slightly brown then I give the whole shell a slight squeeze as this usually means that the chick has pecked round the inside of the egg and severed the blood vessels, which means that it can hatch more easily. The egg will start to split. I don't split them entirely on the first go - usually a little help to the chick is all that is needed. If necessary I pick away a little from the shell every 4/5 hours - keep the leathery membrane moist. If the chick looks like it's getting weaker then you may need to speed the process up. Take it very slowly.

The chicks are too hot if they're moving away from the lamp - lift it up a bit. Good Luck!

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 27/05/2012 20:29

Fantastically detailed answer - thank you! I really hope I don't need it. Hmm

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 30/05/2012 21:07

21 days and nothing hatching ... maybe not going to have a problem as no chicks!

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MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe · 30/05/2012 21:37

OK - can you hear any pecking/cheeping when you hold the egg up to your ear?

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 31/05/2012 22:44

One chick hatched (sprayed eggs). Under light now, at 35C+, with cooler space available, a dish or chick crumbs and a dish of water. How on earth do you show one tiny chick how to feed?

And yes, egg was cheeping late last night, so was hopeful.

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MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe · 01/06/2012 06:48

Well done Smile

Dip the chicks beak in the water and tap your finger in the chick crumb. Chicks don't need to feed for the 1st 24 hours after hatching but it's always better if they can start earlier.

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 01/06/2012 07:07

Dipping and tapping .... my God this thing is dense. Just stands there and cheeps!

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MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe · 01/06/2012 07:40

Grin some of them take a while to get it. Also try sprinkling a bit of crumb on a piece of paper directly in front of it.

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 01/06/2012 12:47

Will try that.

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 05/06/2012 21:35

Update - four turkeys just hatched and another looks hopeful! Sprayed with water and didn't help. Chicken chick is doing fine.

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LaBelleDameSansPatience · 05/06/2012 21:45

I mean five turkeys now hatched!

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