Does opening an incubator reduce the hatch rate ?

I have researched this online and the general impression is yes, it can affect the hatch rate, even in the early stages of incubation. Commercial hatcheries certainly do not allow opening of incubators until day 18, when eggs are removed from turners and placed in increased moisture hatchers then not interfered with until hatching is complete, this is sometimes refered to as lockdown of the incubator.

It also appears that opening incubators to candle eggs at day 8-10 will also reduce success rates. Most hatcheries candle at 18 days at the same time as removing the eggs to a hatching area and stopping turning.

Eggs like a constant temperature environment with minimal fluctuations and an during the critical hatching period a reduction in the moisture increases the risk of the membranes drying sufficiently to harden and effectively trap the chick within the egg, unable to break out and hatch. Some hobby keepers suggest a sqirt of warm water from a mist spray if you open theĀ  incubator to remove hatched chicks. It can take 30minutes to an hour to stabalise the water vapour levels inside the incubator compartment depending of the volumn and design. I suppose in theory incubators with larger heaters and fans stabalise faster, and those with digital control settings for temperature and moisture levels will be better able to adjust to sudden changes.

I have read reports of hatch rates dropping for 90% down to 40% with the only variation being frequent opening for inspection, candling and chick removal. these reports are all casual and there have not been any formal scientific studies I can find.

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