My first lockdown started yesterday. I stay up waaaay to late but got to see my 1st and 2nd chicks hatched. =) Checked this morning and have a total of 4 hatched and cheeping, running all over the place.
15 eggs left, all of them have teeny cracks(I'm assuming here most are internal pips because those don't have full holes yet, 2-3 do have external pips.
No questions really, I've read everything I could, bookmarked at least 6 excellent reads(including assisted hatching link, float test for day 23-24).
My temps were not spot on! I know this! But under the circumstances I think its went well, and honestly if I don't get many more I will be happy with the 4 fluff butts. I have no idea what they really are, mutts pretty much but for $10 for 36 eggs(eating eggs really but he said he had roosters and the 3-4 I cracked open all had the bullseye) and the experience I'm thrilled.
So, before I share pictures I'll share the experience. Aug 30th, picked up the eggs, it was almost spur of the moment(day before I had contacted the egg seller, lived 30 mins from my home), decided they were worth trying to hatch(not turned, not refrigerated prior, but all less than a week since laid). I did ask him to start turning them(with book method under half a carton).
Plugged in my still air reptibator(a year old but brand new in box, never used for my geckos), found all my thermometers/hygrometers, plugged everything in, made a wire shelf since reptibator doesn't have one. To my disappoint me I couldn't get the shelf at egg level over 96F even turning the thing up to 108(under close supervision). I imagine with a homemade computer fan it might have worked better so I manually turned the eggs first couple days and they didn't get above 96! By the way I did let them sit pointy end down for a day since I only got 12 in an egg carton, the other 24ish were stacked to almost overflowing in a flower egg pot! Yikes, I did not have the most positive mindset but I figure why not try? Most of the ones I opened were from the bottom of the flower pot since I figured those for being the oldest since laid.
Added the eggs to wire shelf(horizontal) and manually rolled them around using the X and O method. Now day 3-4 I had failed to manually turn them at least one of the three times per day that I should have(due to having to go out of town on a 9 hr trip or getting home late, etc). But I had to go to Tractor Supply and I convinced hubby I deserved an egg turner! So I bought one, & earlier that day had scrubbed down my forced air Petiatric Brooder (made for parrots, around $500 new and I've been using it for 4+ years sometimes for months on end). Plugged everything in(brooder has a lovely feature, a plug INSIDE the brooder exactly for egg turners). Got temps up to 98-100 depending on which thermometer you were looking at(2 digital hygrometer/thermometers and 1 brooder wall thermometer) candle some eggs, noticed some development and put everything pointy end down in the turner. I realized a day later I failed to add water when I moved them to the brooder/turner! But I was aiming for dry method of incubating and had some water in the reptibator in the beginning, 55-60% I believe. And hygrometers were reading 35% ish without adding any so again I decided it was ok!
Now I had noticed I had I think 2 porous eggs(didn't know thats what it was at candle or I would have just used it to add to dog food, also did not know it isn't good for hatching) and an egg with a "saddle" air cell, I later found the wonderful link on how to hatch shipped eggs. So time goes on and a few times(to my distress) the brooder got up to 103-105! Oh no! I'd immediately fiddle with the thermometer, open the door & blow the hot air out. I feel like this was very much partly from room temps(which will vary 5-10 degrees), maybe once from a toddler although (this was unconfirmed) and over 20 developing eggs.
Day 14 candle was partially because the temp had spiked to 104 so brooder needed opened anyway & I thought I may have cooked some! Confirmed movement in 21 eggs moved to the left side of the turned(away from hot spot on the right) and 4 unconfirmed yet shadowy-ness, and 1 oozy one that had been close to hot spot and 2-3 that werent fertile. I read its not the best idea to candle days 12-16(after having already done it no less =). By the end of candle temps had dropped to around 95 ish(prob a larger swing than desired).
Late Day 18(also Sept 18th), Lock down!
Candled again, all stressed I had cooked babies, saw several movements, even what I think was an internal pip(chick def looked like its beak was in the air cell or poking at it. it was the first to hatch). Discarded 2 more oozy eggs, rather annoyingly as they were stuck on turner so hard they popped - ick! stunk so bad - yes I had already removed and placed in brooder the others. Fought with egg turner tray which I couldn't get off(shrug) cleaned off goop with clorox wipe and rinse, returned egg turner to box. Added water and sponge in top humidity tray opening. Humidity was not rising so I added more water...oops! now its 75% And the egg cartons I had eggs in got wet. Alright regroup! Had also read around that time that some people had better hatch rights when placing pointy end slightly down, with the lowest air cell point facing up(most likely pip spot). Ok so I moved the eggs over, pull out some wet paper towels I had laid on bottom, added more dry paper towels, held flashlight over each egg again and turned them so lowest part of air cell was up and pointy end slightly pointed down(yes i leaned a few on the side of the brooder to achieve this). Plenty of room and 19 eggs going into lock down! Humidity of 65% achieved! Yes!
Lots more time spent reading, tending to toddlers, etc right after 5pm I notice I have 2 eggs with teeny tiny cracks! Oh my! Day 19! Due to temp spikes, possibly mal-position from it as well. It was a eeeeek and yet a yay moment all in one.
Hubby had left my pencil at the barn, next time I do plan to mark where the air cells are and lowest point but since I had a general idea I didn't worry too much about not doing it, they look right on track at day 18 candle, although I would say a couple eggs looked closer to day 14-15 pics I've seen. Around 1145pm I got up to check and to my excitement, one is actively zipping! Couldn't make out the entire zip but I had good timing I guess, after a few tapping exchanges(me on the glass, then it on the egg) and waking of a toddler, we have a hatch! Awesome! I saw my first chicken egg hatch AND got it on video(even if it was a terrible angle I'm satisfied). Several more teeny cracks in a few more eggs and what I think will be a sleepless night. Now by 2am this morning I had one more to hatch, it pipped midway compared to others but was in a hurry, also was one of the two smaller eggs of the group. It has a cute pinkish beak tip with a tad more light coloring on its face. Well by 5am I was getting sleepy, 2 eggs with movement periodically at pip but not very excitable when I tap so I go to sleep.
Hubby wakes me up around 8am and I've got 4 hatched baby chicks, 13 more eggs with cracks, some teeny, some definitely external pips. And now I'm wide awake even though I only had about 3 hours of sleep! Going to need some coffee!