Incubator problems : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I've always had poor results with my Little Giant styrofoam incubator, but this year I've been getting eggs to hatch more, but about half of the babies are deformed in some way. Their feet are permanently clutched up under them and they walk on the sides of their feet, or their necks are almost as long as their bodies are. I'm sure it is my fault. Most everything is. But tell me, is it too low humidity, or too much or too little heat? Does anyone know?

-- Green (, April 22, 2001


what kind of chickens are you trying to hatch? This sounds like a genetic problem not your problem. We have never had good luck with a styrofoam incubator- low hatch rate. We lucked into a 600 egg redwood montogmery ward one that works great no problems. That is untill someone wanted game eggs set and we got all kinds of wierd things hatching out of those eggs. The cronish cross eggs I set came out deformed to. Think they are playing with genetics to much in some things. We are in central tx.

-- jd-tx (, April 22, 2001.

Hi, try a new wafer. I had the same problem when my incubator was about a year old,I think it is the temp varying to much.I hatch out about 50 eggs a month and every 6 months I put in a new wafer (about $6.00). It has been 3 years and no more deformed chicks. Daryl

-- Daryll (, April 22, 2001.

I've had low hatch rate and deformed chicks with my incubator, too. Assumed it was a humidity problem, but will be more careful with the heat next time too. Same eggs the hens hatch without problem chicks.

-- mary, texas (, April 22, 2001.

Is this like the styrofoam one that Jeffers sells? About $30? I haven't incubated chicks, but I really intend to as my hens hatch rate was abyssmal after all the time she spent on twelve eggs only two hatched out. I figured an incubator would do a better rate than that.

-- Doreen (, April 22, 2001.

I don't know if an incubator would do better or not Doreen. Yes, it is a styrofoam similar to what Jeffers sells. The mice absolutely love the thing. Chew on it every chance they get. They completely ate the one before.

I am trying to hatch some of the old style Barred Rock eggs. They may be too close genetically, as the hatchery the parents came from keeps small flocks. They look like the regular Barred Rocks, but are almost twice the size and lay larger eggs. I am also trying to hatch some bantam Aracauna eggs. The mother was run off the nest and some of the eggs eaten, so I gathered them up while they were still slightly warm and put them in the incubator. Now I think something has caught the mother. She was my last hen of that type, too. I had gathered some more of her eggs a few days ago and have been holding them to start hatching today or tomorrow. Maybe I will manage to save a few of her type. Thanks all.

-- Green (, April 23, 2001.

Doreen, I have a number of broody type hens and the hatch rate seems to depend alot on the weather. If it's rainy the whole brood time, or extra hot, the rate is low. If the weather is nice, with not more than a few wet days, most of the eggs will hatch. Also depends a little on the experience of the mother, as some first timers will leave the next when one or two hatch out and just not wait long enough for the others. One of my hens recently got down from the nest with two chicks, leaving a couple to die overnight, and a few more to die almost hatched. But they usually do better on the next hatch. My best broody hen left the nest with only one her first time. But a few months later(after disappearing for a few weeks) she turned up with ten chicks. Raised several more clutches after that.

-- mary, texas (, April 23, 2001.

She was sitting on the nest when it rained nearly constantly and was cold to boot. She sat last spring and nothing hatched, but she doesn't get off the nest, she's very diligent about it. I have another question, but I guess I will make it a different thread since it goes off on a tangent from this one!

-- Doreen (, April 23, 2001.


Darryl's advice about a new wafer is good. Keeping a good thermometer in the incubator at the same level as the eggs and watching it several times a day can give you an idea if temp is the problem.

You should be sure to keep the humidity higher toward the last few days before hatching. Chicks who break out too early suffer from the effects you mention and also chicks who do not get enough oxygen, so make sure you have the vent holes open during the last half of the incubation period. The reason the big cabinets do so much better is that they are fan forced and the temp swings are less due to the high volume and they also can hold more water and hence have steadier humidity.

Here's another styrofoam trick that works good for me: wash the incubator out with gemicidal dishwater liquid and hot water. I put the two halves into the shower and use the hottest water. I've got an old shower massage unit on a hose and it pulses the goo and shell pieces out perfectly without any hard scrubbing to break up the fragile styrofoam. Then I dry the incubator and screens out on the dashboard of my pickup on a sunny day with the windows up and heat and UV kills any remaining pathogens. Make sure to do this between each hatch.

-- Rags (, June 10, 2001.

I bought a little giant forced air incubator with a digital thermostat. I also bought the egg turner for it. I also bought a digital thermometer hygrometer from walmart for 15.00 I never hatched an egg before and out of 30 quail eggs I hatched 17 healthy chicks and 2 sickly ones. I had to kill 1 chick the other one is comming along. I hear my hatch rate is about what you can expect with this type of incubator. I usually don't read instructions but I did for this I also searched the internet for help, the eggs were mailed to me from rocking T ranch it took 3 days.

-- tony altese (, June 01, 2002.

I have a little giant still air incubator a friend gave me and I have had no luck at all with it. I fallow the instructions and keep a close watch on temp and all but still not one hatch. I was wondering if any one out there is haveing sucsecss with one of these can you mail me what you are doing exactlly? I keep the temp around 100 degreese. thank you all, Katie

-- Katie Chaney (, December 06, 2003.

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