Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Temperatures Kill In An Incubator?

We all know the ideal temperature for incubators range from about 98 to 100.3 depending on the stage of incubation.  But what happens if your incubator becomes too hot or too cold?  Of course each circumstance is different but I can tell you some of my experiences and maybe this will help you in case you have a problem in the future.

Low Temperature:
We remove some of our fertile duck eggs at 17 days of incubation and sell them as balut (a Filipino and Vietnamese delicacy).  Recently we set aside 160 large balut on Thursday for a customer that was to pick them up on Friday.  On Saturday we realized they were not going to be picked up.  I decided to put them back in the incubator but first I checked their shell temperature.  The surface temperature of each egg was between 71 and 73 degrees.  Remember, these eggs had been out of the incubator for 48 hours in flats in a case at room temperature.

We monitored those eggs and ten days later 75% of them hatched!  They were a day late but we still hatched 120 ducklings!  This was only 13% less than if they had not sat out for two days.

These eggs were old enough that they were putting off more heat than they required, so development was slowed but not stopped.  So if for some reason your incubator has a problem and cools down for a period of time, don't worry.  It probably will not adversely affect your hatch.

High Temperatures
High temperatures in an incubator are an entirely different matter.   Injury or death depends on how hot it gets and how long it is hot.  Hot temperatures for brief periods usually cause no problem.  But sustained higher temperatures allow the entire interior of the egg to become hot and that is when injury and death occurs.  And if it is an older embryo, it is generating heat and this makes overheating even quicker.

There are no black and white limits with overheating.  Years ago I lost all the eggs in an incubator when it was 105 degrees for six hours.  But on another occasion, I had no losses when the incubator was 102 for four hours.  An interior temperature of 103 almost guarantees death.

What To Do When You Discover Your Hot Incubator
Immediately cool the eggs with water.  If you have lots of eggs, spray with a garden sprayer or hose.  If you have just a few eggs, dunk each egg in cool, not cold, water.  Blow air over the eggs to more quickly cool them.  Each time the egg dries, wet it again.  Remember that as you cool the eggs, the shell will cool faster than the interior - but it is the embryo in the interior that must be cooled.  Therefore, you want to cool the shell lower than the ideal temperature.  And as I described above, don't be afraid of cooling them too much as temperatures below ideal will not be a problem.

If you have an infrared thermometer, I would cool the shell to 80-85 degrees.  If you do not have a thermometer, hold it against your eye lid.  Once it feels slightly cool, put it back in the incubator and turn it on (assuming you have fixed the problem in your incubator!).

Don't Give Up On The Eggs
Once you stabilize the temperature, wait a day and then candle the eggs.  If they have died, you will know as there will be no movement and all blood veins will have disintegrated.  Only then should you throw away your eggs.  If you are not sure, leave the eggs in the incubator.  You have little to lose keeping them in the incubator.

What experiences do you have after finding incubators colder or hotter than they should be?

101 comments:

  1. On the subject of incubation temperature, I would like to know if you have discovered how to manipulate the temperature to achieve the stunning ratio of 95 males to 485 females in your Rouen hatch. I know temperature determines the sex in some reptiles, and wondered if that may be possible in ducks. How else could that happen, unless you have some trainees sexing that don't quite have the knack yet...

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  2. For breeders, we keep one male for every five females. We did that for all breeds, I just broke the count down into males and females for the Rouen. This comment relates to the weekly breeder pictures on our website. http://www.metzerfarms.com/GrowingDucklings.cfm

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  3. mmmmm!!!!yummy!!!!in my tummy!!!!lol

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  4. My only comment on balut or any other animal people may eat is I wish people wouldn't say that animal does or does not feel pain. Until we and every living being speaks the same language, we cannot conclude that a living being can't feel pain. If it doesn't cry out in pain, it must not be in pain, right? The flaw there is not every animal can vocalize in a way that we can hear....or understand. Wouldn't it be better to err on the side of caution and assume something can feel pain rather than assuming it didn't and later find out it did indeed? I'm not saying people shouldn't eat balut or any other animal; however, leg that animal die quickly and painlessly-whether we can hear their cries for help or not.

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    1. I agree. Doctors used to perform open heart surgery on human infants without anesthesia because it was believed that human babies were not neurologically developed enough to feel the pain. Google it. And then, think about what it would feel like to be a creature - of any size or species - and be boiled to death? It's cruel.

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    2. True, but if that's the case, why are so many of you pro-choice? If you want to follow that logic, then you should go pro-life. Fetuses are frequently ripped apart, have their innards dissolved, etc., all while they are alive. You would have to be a major misanthrope to support abortion but go against balut.

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    3. True, but do you support abortion? Can you say that it's cruel to rip a human fetus to pieces alive just to enjoy an orgasm?

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    4. Do you care if the mosquitoes feel pain?

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    5. You open up the top of the shell...then suck out the "juice"...then eat the egg with some vinegar...there isn't really anything more to it than that and there aren't any recipes!

      I've had balut a couple times and it tastes like slightly crunchy liver..I'm not a fan of liver, so I don't like it so much.....but to each his own.

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  5. Personally I think balut sounds a bit icky, but who knows? I eat both duck eggs and ducks so why should I not want to try balut? I never knew it existed until I read up from here. Back to the main subject of critical temperatures, just early this morning my make-shift incubator stopped working because the power went out! When I awoke to discover this dilema I surely thought that my eggs were done for! Quickly I gathered my eggs and used my own body warmth to warm them and after an hour I candled them and was indeed shocked to discover that they were still alive. The power is back on now, but I must wait for the temperature to rise again in my make-shift incubator.

    Thank you John Metzer, your website is an inspiration and I enjoy reading from it.

    From a waterfoul enthusiast in Australia.

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  6. Thanks for the great information! I put 42 chicken eggs into the incubator we use to hatch (no turner and a terry floor), five hatched at day 20, five on day 21 but early and then it stalled. I candled and didn't see movement but only found one dead. I replaced the thermometer and discovered the temp had dropped to 94.5 This morning (after taking it back up to 99.5) three more have hatched and we have some pipping!

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  7. A question:
    In a very humid country like the Philippines, how does one control the humidity inside a homemade still air incubator?

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  8. I don't think you can reduce the humidity when the environment is very humid. In large commercial incubators, they have dehumidifiers. But those are not reasonable for a smaller still air incubator.

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  9. You can go to Vietnamese and Chinese supermarkets to buy baluts or order directly from Metzer here. Usually you need salt and pepper and a special fresh herp(you can ask people at these markets) to go with this. It's a culture things in some of the Asian countries.

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  10. balut started in ww2 when people want to survive fond duck eggs not knowing its been for several week and boil it.for hungry stomack somebody has to eat it and pass along to new generation and its been a culture to some countries

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  11. I have nine peking eggs (bought locally in tuscola county, Michigan) in my incubator, first batch this summer from this springs pekings ducks and male, same age about 5 months old, and Monday was the 25th day so I stopped turning and mistings(once per day) the eggs. On Tuesday Morning at about 5:30 am, I heard the first sounds of pipping noises and was very excited but through out the day I didn't hear them any more. This morning, Wednesday, the 27th day, I still don't hear any more noises, althoug before I got out of bed, I thought I heard a chirp sound in the living room but everytime I put my ear to the eggs, I hear nothing. The eggs have discoloring to them now. Am I doing something wrong or is it normal not to hear any noises the day before they should hatch? The eggs are various sizes including 2 double yolked eggs. Thank you.

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  12. I also turned the temperature down to 95 degrees. Thank you

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  13. If the eggs have started to discolor, that is not good. Normally you hear peeping continuously from the time they pip until they hatch. I would not try to incubate double yolk eggs in the future. Though it occasionally happens, rarely do they hatch. In addition, I would only turn the temperature down to 98 degrees, not 95 for hatching. Hatching is very difficult so if something was not right during incubation, they can live to day 25 but one of the many changes that occur those last three days does not happen and they do not hatch.

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  14. I had my hen to hatch Duck balut eggs, but if the eggs hatch, will the ducklings know how to swim without a mother duck?

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    1. I had a little Old English hen (tiny game chicken, the size of a pigeon) who jumped into a nest of abandoned muscovy duck eggs, hatched them and raised them. She nearly had heart failure every time they went to water- but she saved 8 ducklings, never taught them to dust bathe or scratch, and they did grow up knowing they were ducks, somehow. She was an amazing old hen- wasn't even broody, but took those eggs and was a happy momma until she died this past winter- her name was "Mama Duck".
      As for Balut eggs- I think it's gross personally. But at 17 days incubated that embryo isn't viable on it's own- it can't live, cannot breathe on it's own, has not absorbed it's yolk sack, so to me, I guess it's ok as long as it's dead before being cooked. My rule of thumb for culling live chicken eggs is as long as it isn't past 17 days, I will freeze the eggs before disposing of them (not for balut) to control population. That seems the most kind way to do it.

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  15. They will learn on their own. They do not need instruction.

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  16. It is very cruel! And the difference between day 1 and day 17 is that the chick has a heart and knows whats going on! To take the effort in incubating an egg just for consumption half way through the processs is disgusting! Never buying off you, sorry!

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    1. Do you eat chicken or duck? As in roast chicken or roast duck? You must be a vegan, because guess what. . . chicken, duck, pork, beef all "have a heart" and know what is going on.

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  17. OUCH...Really? It's food. If you don't like it, simply don't eat it! I would buy from him without a doubt. Just go have a salad and keep your negative opinion to yourself...

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  18. Yes this post helps a lot of newbies to learn more about Incubator, i would love to share it

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  19. yuk ! yuk ! yuk!
    This akes me think of worms in your wine.
    But O suppose different strokes for different folks
    Julie

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  20. could someone tell me if i have had chicken eggs in an incubator for 5 days,would it be ok to add some more?Or would the later stages for the first batch and the higher humidity harm the second batch?hope to hear something back.....new hatcher

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  21. Thank you Mr. Metzer! I am trying to hatch 2 duck eggs that my dog brought to me. I was unable to find the nest, so I have been trying to help them along with a blanket, a heating pad and a few spritzes from a water bottle. I bought an incubator today but I was worried that they might not still be alive because the temps weren't exact for the first few days. Your article gives me hope. This is something I have not been able to find anywhere else online. It is a shame that this turned into an animal rights/abortion rights argument when you were only trying to offer honest, helpful information. So, I wanted to get back on subject and say "Thank you!"
    By, the way, my eggs are on days 4 and 5 but I do not yet see any veins or movement. I can visualize the orange color and the air sac and liquidbut no red veins. At what point will I see the veins? Thank you, again

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  22. All you can do is try. I hope they are viable and are growing for you. For pictures of candled eggs during development, go to our website at http://www.metzerfarms.com/Candling.cfm You should see something within the next several days. Good luck!!

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  23. Some of these comment are just crazy!!! Some are really helpful! But most of all I wanted to see am I the only one that is almost to the point of not being able to eat eggs anymore? Lol about grossed out never thought about all the stages and stuff until my husband decided to build a chicken yard

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  24. Just noticed that the heat bulb in my homemade incubator has blown, it has a fan in it& the eggs were cool. Think it's been down for about 3hours. Temp was reading 25'c. Put them on a warm hot water bottle and covered with my hands to try and help warm up for a few mins. Bator is back up to heat and eggs have been back in for about 20 mins but are still cool. Reading this info has given me abit of hope, they are duck eggs at day 20 at the mo. Reaaaaalllly hope they make it.

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    1. Shouldn't be a problem for the incubator to be off for that period. Have you candled them to see if they are moving? They are generating a lot of heat at 20 days so cool much more slowly than at 7 days, for example.

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  25. My pekin duck eggs are about 17 days old. When I candled them last night both were alive and well. Apparently while I was at work today the light in the incubator burnt out and instead of calling me, my husband replaced the bulb. He replaced it around 230pm and I did not get home until 5:00pm. My incubator is normally around 100/101 degrees. It is a homemade incubator with no fan. When I got home it was reading well above 110 degrees but I am not sure how long it had been at that high of a temp. I ran to your website and I have cooled the eggs down, and hopefully I have figured out how to manage the temp with a new bulb. I did candle them and surprisingly one is still alive. But there is no movement in the other egg. Is it possible that the still egg is still alive? Is there anything else I can do to "perk" the ducky up if he is in fact alive?

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    1. There is nothing you can do at this point. When they are too hot, you can spray them with water to cool them more rapidly, but now that they are back to the correct temperature there is nothing you can do - except cross your fingers.

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  26. Hi john thanks for the reply, I posted on april 11th about the blown light. Thankfully all were alive. I'm on day 28 now and into lock down but I'm not sure if they've internally pipped and so have definately no pipped externally. Risked a quick candling and all are alive and there's a lot of movement near the edge of the air sac and slightly overlapping into. Wonder if they haven't actually broken into it yet. I can't hear anything either. Sorry for the questions I'm a first timer - amazed I've got them this far!

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  27. Hello, my chicken eggs are 6 days old. I normally have my temperature at around 99.5 degrees but today it dropped to 98.0 so I changed the bulb for one with higher power. I didn't know it will rise fast, so one hour and 20 minutes later I went and check the temperature and it was at 111. So it passed 1 hour and 20 minutes to go from 98 to 111, but I don't know exactly how much time they were above 103 (or the risk temperature). Do you think these eggs could have died?

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  28. hello......... my chicken eggs are around 1 week.The approximate temperature form 98.2 to 104.And average humidity is 40%.Is it problem to egg?It is a home made incubator with small fan.how to build low cost home made incubator?can you guide me with any website?

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  29. That is a wide variation in temperatures. 104 is too hot. You will need to narrow the variations if you want any success in hatching. I have no instructions on building an incubator, nor do I know where to refer you. You will just need to Google it. Good luck.

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  30. The Humane society of the United States says that goose eggs must not be addled after fourteen days (read their CANADA GOOSE EGG ADDLING PROTOCOL online). Since goose eggs take on average a week longer to hatch than duck or chicken eggs, this suggests that allowing your eggs to go for balut at the age you do, 17 days, is inhumane and in fact yours should not go for balut after 11 days max.
    The Humane Society of the United States
    Wild Neighbors Program
    2100 L Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20037
    (202) 452-1100
    humanesociety.org/wildlife
    January 2009
    ©The Humane Society
    of the United States.

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    1. For clarification, chicken eggs take 21 days for complete incubation, duck eggs 27-28 and geese 30-31. Thank you for the reference to the Addling Protocol. However, there is no information in the protocol on how they selected 14 days as the cutoff for humane vs. inhumane killing of the goose embryo.

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    2. To Sweffling - please review the blog here that you have posted on. over temp of the incubators, will kill the eggs. that has been established. There are numerous incidences on this blog of overtemp at different stages of the incubation process. Also my experience with incubation is that the longer you incubate, the hotter the incubator gets if it is not managed and is succeptable to over temp, thus killing the duckling inside.

      I understand your concern for the baby duck but in nature stuff happens. also in incubation stuff happens. i have ducks that "play" with the idea of hatching ducks and then just give up half way through. This is nature. Artificial hatching has its issues also. Lots of ways for baby ducks to die in the egg. Just wanted to give this bit of data that nature is not fair.

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  31. Hello, I've got peacock eggs on the incubator. We are at 14 days and the temp hangs out at around 99-100°. Temp was fine this morning when I turned them, 6 hours later when I got home from work the temp was down 75. It couldn't have been longer then 6 hours. I've got it back up to temp now. Do you think they will make it? And do you know the incubation period for peacock eggs.

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  32. I have no personal knowledge of peacocks but the charts say 26-29 days. Your eggs might be okay. I would just candle them after they have been back to the correct temperature for six hours and see if there is movement. If in doubt, leave them in the incubator for several more days and candle them again.

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  33. Hello I am currently helping Swath a Hay field here in southern Saskatchewan, I am amazed at all the Ducks and their nests in this large open field, but im sad that two ducks were injured after being struck by the large swathers reel, one was unable to fly and was hiding from the hawks over head circling it, the injured duck went under the mowed row of hay. one nest left behind I discovered 9 eggs and am in the process of trying to incubate them. I wish all ducks had better places to nest and raise families. Thanks, Mark.

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    1. In parts of California, there are volunteer organizations that walk a hayfield prior to cutting in the spring to find any Mallard nests. They collect the eggs and put them in an incubator. They raise them to about 4-5 weeks, I believe, and then release them back in the wild in ponds with plenty of natural food.

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  34. I raise Great Danes and give them a free range chicken egg every day... we want to do meat chicken in the future so we can have our own meat for us and them ... I want to go all free range, farm raised organic in the future..... but this is taking time ! haha :) but I was wondering if Balut eggs would provide a portion of meat for them... and I would not have to wait 5 months and all that feed before I could use them..... do you know how they differ from a raw egg nutritionally? I know it is a closed system but it gets changed around once it starts to develop....bones, blood, meat.... or are raw eggs the same nutritionally? any help or information would be wonderful
    Thanks

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    1. I don't have a nutritional comparison of fresh versus balut duck eggs. I doubt if it would be significantly different and feeding fresh eggs would be much easier than making balut or raising birds for meat. I would boil the egg as there is a compound in all fresh eggs (not just duck) that binds a vitamin (biotin?) and makes it unavailable to the animal.

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  35. I have really appreciate the things been shared here. I have gained lots of information regarding how to make an incubator and the exact temperature for an incubator. Keep this up and thanks again for all the things you have shared and it is really been helpful to me!

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  36. Question... I have 6 eggs in an incubator...small, cheap one that was given to me. It's gotten over 110 according to the thermometer. I've tried holes in the cover and taking the cover half off or loose. I tried candling a couple of them a few days ago, but I couldn't tell anything. Should I just leave the cover off? Should I take out the reflective padding on the bottom?

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    1. If it was over 110 for several hours I doubt if the eggs are any good. If it is heated with a light bulb, I would try a smaller wattage light bulb. Is it turning off when it reaches 99.5 or does it stay on? If it is not turning off, then you have a control problem. I would not leave the top off.

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  37. Hi, I am purchasing some balut eggs for a Halloween party. I was wondering how long after I receive them do I need to cook them. Because of shipping times I will have to get the eggs about a week and a half before I actually use them. Should I refrigerate them when I get them?

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    1. I would cook them as soon as you receive them and then leave them in the refrigerator until you re-warm them for the party.

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  38. We are incubating 10 eggs from our 2 babies we hatched from Metzer eggs received last April. We only got 2 Mallard ducklings from our 12 eggs we originally incubated. I'm hoping for more success this time around. Just candled the eggs, looks like 8 of 10 are viable. Our male flew the coup on Xmas eve and we discovered the nest and eggs on Xmas morning. (this helped with the kids' anguish over our male flying away.) Any suggestions on more hatching success? I'm using the same incubator which stays between 98-100. Should I be spritzing the eggs with water? If so, how often? We didn't do that last time around. Also, these eggs are much smaller than the ones our ducks came from (that we ordered from you.) It's her first batch, could this contribute?

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    1. Yes, the early eggs are normally smaller than the eggs laid later in the season. You can spritz them starting at about 10 days of incubation. For more information on incubation, go to our website at http://www.metzerfarms.com/IncubatingAndHatching.cfm?

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    2. Thank you! We have 7 alive for sure. Our female is very lonely since the male flew away. She needs some of these babies to hatch so she has some company! She also keeps laying eggs. The male has been gone since Xmas eve so I know they aren't fertile. How long do the females lay eggs?

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    3. It is hard to say how long they will lay. It all depends on nutrition, lack of stress, age, genetics, health and day length. Sometimes one of these will be lacking but they will continue laying. They will typically lay every spring until they pass away. Of course each spring will have fewer eggs than the preceding spring.

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  39. Wat is wrong with eating anything. God created most of this animals for consumption by humann...

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  40. Mr. Metzger, I am trying my first hatch in a still air incubator. I have had several instances now where the temp has gone as hi as 104 - 106 for 30 min to 4 hrs. I have figured out the problem and candles all my eggs. I still have living embryos (at various stages of development) with red veins and intact air sacs. 2 of these eggs are at 22 days tho and have not hatched. They are alive, I can see them moving. What should I do? What do you think the likelihood is that they will still hatch and be viable?

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    1. You do not indicate what type of eggs they are. If they are chicken eggs, I am not optimistic. If they are duck eggs, obviously they can still hatch as they are not due to hatch until 28 days.

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  41. I wish people would stay on topic. This is a forum to discuss incubator temperatures and since my eggs will be here soon, I really want this info. Mr. Metzer there is nothing wrong with deleting certain comments due to the comment being "off topic". I wish more sites would do this. This is no place to discuss "abortion" duck, human or otherwise.

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  42. Dear John, The recommendations within for single stage incubation are to close all vents at the start of incubation. Is it possible that for older incubators, such as the classic Brower metal "goose egg incubator" -as the old time setters refer to it, because of it's size and depth- that the temperature must be regulated after closing the vent holes, even before putting the eggs in it, as opposed to regulating, putting the eggs in, and then putting coins -or such- over the vent holes? I ask because I regulated my Brower to 99.5, put 18 Sebastopol & 8 Buff geese eggs into the incubator mid evening, then first covered the vent holes. As it takes a considerable amount of time to return the incubator to original temperature with that many geese eggs in it, it still was below setting at bed time. The next morning, to my horror, the temperature read nearly 106 degrees! While I immediately cooled the eggs down, it has take quite a bit of time to gradually readjust the temperature to 99.5. The only factor I can think of for the maladjustment is the difference in temperature that 6 closed top vent holes make versus open top vents. What do you think?

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  43. I wouldn't think closing the vents would affect it in that way. The only possibility is that the heat stays on until it reaches set point, 99.5. But if there is residual heat in the coils, it continues to heat the machine. If there are vents open, that excess heat would be vented out. But if that were true, you could never stabilize it with the vents closed. But I am guessing for a machine for which I am not familiar.

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    1. on the first try with my incubator i tried everything to make the temp correct. the temp was the correct temp and stablized before putting the eggs in, then afterward, too hot, then too cold then ok then too hot again. alot of it was the effect of the draft around the incubator i think. my second try was great, one setting, one temp the whole time. i even candled eggs a few times and the temp went right back to where it should have been.

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    2. How often is it a good idea to candle eggs?

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    3. I would definitely candle at 8-10 days to remove any infertile, early dead or infected eggs. You can candle after that date if you want - especially if you see any darkened eggs that you suspect are infected.

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    4. Here's what I do- I am not a professional hatchery, but I have hatched thousands of different speices using either a humble sweet broody hen who has hatched for me before, or my little forced air Hovabator. I candle at 4 days. At 4 days- you will see the yolk has almost doubled in size- that tells me it's fertile and alive. You MIGHT start to see the beginnings of life if you're lucky enough to be doing white eggs, mine are dark brown and hard to see through. At 7 or 8 days, you will see a small air cell, and you will see the spider veining of the developing embryo and the eye will be a black spot. After 10 days- as John said- anything that isn't growing or has pulled back it's veining and now has a ring of blood all around the egg- is dead or infertile. Chuck it. For chickens- around day 15 I start tracing in pencil where the aircell is, so it's easy to see it's growth day by day. I don't lock-down- hens don't- they get off to feed and defecate for a few minutes so I stop turning but continue to candle till they have pipped externally. I will probably do the same with geese as I understand they are tougher to hatch and if they need intervention I want to be able to see exactly what's going on with them.
      .

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  44. I had a goose sitting on her eggs in the barn. My other goose had already lost her entire hatch due to the freezing temperatures about 2 weeks ago. I went out friday morning and to my horror goose #2 had gotten off her eggs and was sitting beside them. They were pretty cold when I picked them up. I candled and only 5 were fertile out of 10. She was due to hatch them out this weekend. I put the eggs in the incubator before work and when I got home I candled them again and there was movement in one egg at least. Today is day 31/32. There is still movement in the one egg. My eggs under a goose last year hatched at day 30 and the ones in the incubator hatched at 28. What should I do with this one live egg. Should I carefully open it and see if its just not strong enough to pip or leave it be and see if it hatches on its own. I don't really want to have to wait another year for eggs from my geese again and this hatch was a special project that I was working on.

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    1. I hope it hatched for you! They can often survive very cold temperatures. You cannot open the egg and hope for success if the chick/duckling/goslings inside has not started pipping and circling inside the egg.

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  45. I have purchased several Cayuga Duck Eggs and I am using a home made incubator (Styrofoam with 15 watt light bulb). Before I purchased the eggs I worked out the balance to maintain humidity and temp perfectly for several days prior to my eggs were ready. We had a heat wave during this period and the radiant room heater (for my canaries) had not been turning on because it was warm enough... Now that we have the eggs set up the first 2 days the temps fluctuated drastically and I just realized why-my room heater causes a "Brown Out" with the outlets and the 15 watt bulb has apparently been browning out for extended periods of time. :( I have stabilized the temp again but for at least 48 hours the eggs have bounced back and forth. I am only on day 3.5 of the process and I understand the first 4-5 days are the most critical. Should I wait and see in a couple days if I have veins or have I already damaged the embryos. My only worry is I would get them all the way to near hatching only to find the damage done this early has ruined their chances of making it to hatching... :( And thank you for offering this forum with such up front honest responses)

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    1. I would definitely wait several days before deciding on tossing the eggs. Give them some time. If they survive, it will have little if any affect on their ultimately hatching.

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  46. This is the first I have incubated chicken eggs..I am on day 10 and my electric went out in the middle of the nigh. Around 1:30am to 6:00 am.. I keep it on 99 and it went down to about 80 when I seen it was not to sure if it went Any lower..i tried to candle them but it is to hard to see much it looks like there still is vains. I don't see any movement. In there yet..do you think they could still be alive in there..Please help...

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  47. There is nothing we can do or you can do now. Just keep them in there another day or two and recandle. At that point you should know if they are alive or not. Refer to our candling pictures so you know what the veins should look like. Good luck. http://www.metzerfarms.com/Candling.cfm

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  48. Hi, so I have two duck eggs, we ordered an incubator online before the eggs arrived and it didnt work, sent it back for a new one but the eggs came so we used a heat lamp. We were doing exactly what the book says. Everything was going great for 3 days with the temp at 99-99.5. Today I woke up at 5:30am to turn and check the temp, it was at 150 degrees... I feel so awful!! I have no clue why the huge change in temp all of a sudden. Are my eggs dead?? Is there any hope at all? Im not sure what the eggs are suppose to look like when candled this early. I immediatly cooled them off and pulled the lamp to a higher spot. The temp has been back to normal all day but I dont want to keep incubating the eggs unless a 100% certain they are dead. One egg was closer the the heat than the other and it has some weird orange stuff on it, the other seems fine and even looks a bit different when candled. Advice please, without rude comments, I really do feel awful, these were going to be our pets with our chickens. =(

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    1. Gee, I never intend to leave rude comments. I will have to be more careful. All I can advise you to do is candle them. It is highly unlikely, however, that they survived a 150 degree temperature - even for a brief time. I am sure it took awhile to build to 150 and anything over about 105 is deadly within 60 minutes.

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    2. Hi John, i dont think he ment to infer you would leave a rude comment, i think he ment for no one else to spam or slag his/her request for guidence. There seems to be some cut throat posters on every website ever invented.

      Cheers

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  49. Hello, i tried to add a doozey of a story to this thread but explaining all the circumstances was too long for the thread. Is there any way to email it to the metzers or moderator, and have them add it as a new item, topic or thread, its extensive details on a massive incubator fail that could be educational for a bunch of folks. I can email it to someone and let them decide if its worthy of publishing in its whole. Thanks and let me know by replying.

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    1. Email it to metzer@metzerfarms.com
      Thank you.

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  50. We live in north Texas we are incubating Perkin eggs for the first time ever due to a dog issue that has been resolved. We had 15 good eggs yesterday my first egg hatched I have 3 more that have piped. And we have lost power I have warm water bottles in with my duckling but what will happen with the eggs? The tempature is now down to 85 and I am afraid may drop more before the power comes back.

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    1. If you have valuable eggs- my suggestion is to keep chickens as your broody backups- mine have saved nearly frozen chicks, cold eggs, and raised pheasants, ducklings, and hundreds of chicks over the years. A good broody hen is a beautiful thing.

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  51. There is nothing you can do other than to keep them warm as best as you can. Those in the shell might be better off than those that hatched as they are insulated in that egg!

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    1. Have we lost the ones that already piped they were chirping like crazy yesterday but its pretty quiet today. Up until this point we really were thinking about ordering a batch of eggs after this set to do again. Now I am not so sure

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  52. Hello John. I have been hatching chicken, turkey, duck, and pheasant eggs since 1977, but in the last two months I have been mystified and stumped over goose eggs. I have tried Grey Saddleback Poms, Sebastopols, Brown African, American Buff from all different sources with 100% failure. I have used many different types of incubators over the years, and my current model is a GQF 1502 Sportsman. I have hatched hundreds of eggs thus far in it this year, but goose eggs are totally stumping me. What am I doing wrong? Tomorrow I am taking my last failure batch outside to crack open and check them out.

    P.J.M.

    I have used the egg racks for turning. I have laid them in the bottom hatching tray and hand turned them 3x a day. I have tried sprinkling them.Tried them dry. Putting damp paper towels over them. IF they look viable, they seem to die about 5-7 days prior to their hatching date.

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    1. It is very hard to diagnose incubation problems. The next time you try incubation, weigh the eggs when you set them. Half way through incubation, weigh them again. At that point they should have lost about 7% of their weight. If they have lost more than that, increase the humidity. If they have lost less than that, reduce the humidity. If the eggs do not lose sufficient weight, they will not hatch well at all. I think this is the most common problem in incubation.

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    2. Thank you very much, I will give that a go.

      Pjm

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    3. My suggestion- get a broody hen and see if she is more successful. This year has been bad here in Canada for hatch rates on everything- don't know why, I just know everyone has had crappy luck and low hatch rates- was a long cold winter and cold spring.

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  53. I was taking care of two mallard eggs--the mom had abandoned the nest after a raccoon came and ate/stole six of the eggs--and we haven't been using an incubator because it was more of a rescue effort on our end. One of them had broken through the air sac two days ago and accidentally, last night, I turned off the lamp that was providing the heat--I noticed an hour later. The one that broke through the air sac piped last night but died just an hour ago--there was no more breathing and it's dead. The other egg, before I left the light off had some movement in the dark spaces of the egg (but felt cold last night when I turned the light back on and wasn't moving when I checked it against a flash light) and when I checked it again today, there is a small minor pulsation at the bottom of the air sac and I could still see some of the thin blood vessels (though they weren't as red as they used to be). Could it still be alive or is it most likely dead? They were really close to hatching. The mother started sitting on the eggs June 28 according to my mother. I don't have any real way to control the humidity on the eggs but I'm trying to keep the room warm as best I can. I just feel awful that the little one that piped died...and I'm at least hoping this one survives...

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  54. I have my 2nd incubation project going now sand I'm experiencing some bumps! We purchased 14 fertile chicken eggs from a farmers market and he "threw in 10 quail eggs and two duck eggs. He told us to put all into the incubator at the same time, but they require different conditions for hatching so I am concerned. Also, he said that the temperatures were very cool at night when his chickens were laying, so none of the eggs may be viable. We are now on day 7. The eggs are all colored (a few are off white) and I read online that colored eggs are hard to candle. I am having issues keeping the humidity at 55% as it is creeping higher. This seems like an ill fated project, but my daughters are getting so excited at the prospect of playing with little hatchlings, I don't want to abandon the project...any suggestions??

    Thank you!

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    1. Next time I would set the eggs at different times so they all hatch at the same time. Then you can increase the humidity for hatching and they will all benefit. I assume you are speaking relative humidity when you say 55. There are two ways of measuring humidity, relative and wet bulb. Yes, colored eggs are more difficult but they can still be candled. You will need to increase the humidity when the quail and chicken eggs start to hatch and then I would reduce it quite a bit when they are done hatching until the duck eggs start to hatch. Then increase it again.

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  55. I see several comments about temperature run-away, or bulb failure. I use styrofoam containers for incubators, which alone provides a tremendous amount of insulation and keeps temperature changes slowed down. For those that have experienced over-temp. for various reasons, what about an inexpensive digital thermostat? You can get them all day long on ebay for under $15. They are often listed as aquarium thermostats. You can get them in F or C. I have several of each. I set to 100F and 1 degree deadband, yielding a perfect average of 99.5F. I use a golf ball to hold the remote probe, and put it with the eggs.

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  56. For a heating element, I use a mini-ceramic type rated at 100W and 220 volts. On 110 volts it is 25W and is very slow. Unlike heat lamps or 110V ceramic heaters (which are fast), it is impossible to get a rapid temperature swing with this thing. And running at 1/4 of its rating, it will probably never burn out.

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  57. I use the very small computer cooling fans, 40mm 12 volt, and run them on 6 volts. They last forever and just adequately keep the air moving.

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  58. Holy cow!! reading the first few comments of people with the animal cruelty. That is so funny. They are obviously not real farmers. Anyways, thank you Metzerfarms for all this info and your hard dedicated work! I'm just starting in the chicken and quail incubation business... had the power go out ones with internal temperature of the incubator down to 24 C for about half a day and still hatched me a good 65 to 70 percent of that which was fertile. last time the power went out about twice and cooled to 34 for both 4 to 5 hour periods and still good. Also I am running humidity a little high 69 percent since I rotate the eggs due to not enough hatching room.

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  59. I seem to remember a study done by, I think Berkley, where they had 3 cabbages growing in a classroom with electronic reading devices attached. A non-student came into the room and shredded one of the plants and the readings went wild. Several days later the same individual came into the room and the cabbages started reacting again. Vegans eat plants alive and screaming!

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  60. Question? I have a goose egg that I believe is near hatching, however, when I picked it up this morning and turned it over, gently, I could feel a small thud as it rolled. And then when rolled back to the original position, another small thud from inside. Has my gosling died?

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    1. I have not seen that. But I would just wait and see if it hatches. You could also candle it to see if it is alive. But since you have gone this far, you might as well wait to see what happens.

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  61. Hi John I have a hovabator 1602n with fan and I also bought 2 incu therm plus - thermometer / hygrometers . I also have a standard mercury style thermometer and a Essick air thermometer / hygrometer , the 2 incu therm plus read 2 degrees higher than the others , so for about 4 days my temps where at 97.5 -98.5 f ! I realized they where off and adjusted the temp , I have 17 Muscovy duck eggs in the incubator now ranging from day 5 to day 20 . I have candled them and they all seem ok so far , but could I have done damage to them ? There is not much talk about temps that are to low ! Also when candling the eggs you talk about movement , when I turn my hand it looks like the small black dot is moving away from me , kind of like its floating in liquid . Is that correct ? A Better description of candling would be helpful ! Thank you so much for your time !!

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    1. It is unlikely any major damage was done with the initial low temps. When I speak of movement, I mean the embryo moving its body. You normally start to see this at 10-14 days of age.

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  62. Thanx John !! 1 of my muscovy ducklings just hatched @ day 33 1/2 the other 2 eggs that I put in incubator at the same time have not pipped yet , hopefully this lil guy that hatched was just really ! Also what do I look for when candling egg after day 30 , to make sure it's still live?

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    1. All you can do at that point is look for movement in the air cell end of the egg when candling eggs that are that far along in incubation.

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