Incubation and Embryology - University of Illinois

Incubation Troubleshooting

Malformed chicks in poor hatch.

Probable Cause Suggested Corrective Measure
Eggs held too long before setting, even under good conditions, or eggs held any length of time at improper levels of temperature and/or humidity.

Try not to hold eggs more than ten days if at all possible, and then only if holding conditions are ideal.

Eggs chilled before setting.

Gather eggs quickly, cool properly before casing, and hold under proper conditions.

Improper turning or setting.

Set eggs small end down only, in the incubator. Turn eggs hourly, or, at least, at regular intervals eight times daily. Be sure you do not trap eggs large end down on transfer.

Inadequate ventilation.

Provide adequate ventilation of the incubator and hatcher rooms and proper openings of the incubator and hatcher ventilators. Do not recirculate foul air. Supply 100 percent fresh, tempered air.

Abnormally high or abnormally low incubator temperature

Maintain proper temperature levels throughout the incubation and hatching cycle.

Insufficient moisture.

Maintain proper humidity levels throughout the incubation and hatching cycle.

Diseases, contamination, toxic food, or improper nutrition whenever crippled or malformed chicks are encountered.

Use breeder houses and equipment of proper design and in good operating condition. Employ good poultry house ventilation. Observe proper flock management and sanitation practices. Avoid wet spots. Gather eggs frequently. Fumigate or otherwise sanitize eggs before setting in incubator and after transfer to hatcher. Set only clean, uncracked eggs.

Nonporous shell, either from natural causes involved in heredity and nutrition, or from foreign material on the shell.

Careful culling and flock selection, properly balanced feed or high quality, proper care of eggs.

Damage to eggs in shipment caused by jarring or shipping large end down.

Hatching eggs must be shipped in good quality, well-protected egg cases, or equivalent, with small end down. Avoid rough handling.

Return to Resources