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Possible Causes

Chicks hatch late

  • Large Eggs
  • Old Breeding Stock
  • Eggs have been stored for too long Weak embryos
  • Inbreeding
  • Incubator Humidity too high

Slow (drawn-out) hatch

  • Mix of eggs (different sizes, different aged breeding stock, different storage times)
  • Poor egg handling
  • Hot or cold spots in the incubator
  • Incubator or Hatcher temperature too high or low

Sticky Chicks, smeared with Albumen (Egg white)

  • Low incubation temperature
  • High incubation humidity
  • Poor egg turning
  • Old eggs
  • Very large eggs

Chicks stuck in shell, dry, shell fragment stuck to feathers

  • Low humidity in storage
  • Poor egg turning
  • Cracked shell or poor shell quality

Premature hatching, bloody navels

  • Temperature too high

Small chicks

  • Small eggs
  • Low humidity
  • High temperature
  • High altitude
  • Thin, porous shells

Unhealed naval, dry, rough down feathers

  • High incubator temperature or temperature fluctuations
  • Humidity too high when hatching
  • Inadequate nutrition

Weak Chicks

  • High hatching temperature
  • Poor hatcher ventilation
  • Contamination

Chicks malpositioned

  • Eggs sat small end up position
  • Inadequate turning
  • Excessive turning at late stages
  • Too high or too low temperature
  • High humidity
  • Old breeders
  • Round shaped eggs
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Retarded development
  • Poor egg handling or storage conditions


  • Poor storage conditions
  • Jarring of eggs
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Inadequate turning
  • High or low temperature
  • Inadequate ventilation

Crooked toes, bent legs

  • High or low temperature
  • Poor nutrition (especially vitamin B)

Short down, wiry down

  • Nutritional deficiencies (especially riboflavin)
  • High incubation temperature

Eyes closed, down stuck to eyes

  • Temperature too high in hatcher
  • Chicks remain in hatcher too long after hatching
  • Excessive air movement in hatcher

Exploding eggs

  • Dirty eggs from nest
  • Eggs not washed properly
  • Water condensation on eggs
  • Water sprayed on eggs
  • Contamination from earlier exploders
  • Contaminations from handling with dirty hands

Dwarf embryos, runts in growing chicks

  • Egg contaminations
  • Breeder diseases
  • Nutritional deficiencies


  • Incubator or hatcher temperature too high
  • Rough handling at transfer
  • Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin K or E)
  • Contamination

Swollen head and back of neck

  • Nutritional deficiencies

Small air cell, egg weight loss under 10%

  • High humidity
  • Very thick shells
  • Low temperature

Exposed brain

  • High incubation temperature
  • Low oxygen levels



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