On February 15, Kelsi and I loaded our incubator with 42 eggs. All was well at our first candling.
We noticed a problem at our second candling. Nearly half of the eggs were not fertile. This wasn't an unexpected finding, since our rooster to hen ratio is low, but still disappointing.
On day 21 of incubation we were anxiously awaiting the pips and Cheeps!
We started out with one right away!
Then two! It was a twin Araucana to the first chick!
And that was it. No more pips, no audible cheeps. 2/42 eggs hatched! We were pretty devastated.
So we did what we always do. We took care of the ones that we have.
After any incubation I always break open every single egg to inspect the contents. This helps determine fertility rates, as well as helping us know if any chicks were stuck in their shells.
I found 5 eggs that had partially developed, but then had stopped for some reason or another. This is normal, and we see it every hatch.
We had nearly half of our eggs with no, or very little development, which typically means they were not fertile.
Then the bad part comes.
I found 14 eggs that had fully developed chicks inside. Not underdeveloped, these guys were ready to break out of their shells and didn't.
There are only two reasons known to us why chicks fail to break out of their shells after fully developing: Too little humidity, or too much humidity. We have done everything right. We carefully monitored the water levels daily, we added a sponge to ensure the minimum humidity was met, and we were always adjusting the temperature to keep it at an even 99.5 F.
We won't be using the Little Giant Incubator again in the future. It isn't acceptable to sell a product that can kill 14 baby chicks when everything we did was according to the instructions.