Hi! I am interested in incubating some silkie eggs in the next week or so. We just lost our rooster (RIP Penguin) to a hawk 3 days ago and hope to hatch some little ones to help heal our hearts. We inherited a Hova Bator with the purchase of our house (styrofoam, no fan, probably from the 80's at least!) and a automatic turner so I don't have much detail on the working conditions of those but am testing them out today and they appear to function. The last owner never used the equipment so the youngest they could be is 20 years or so. I feel like we have a lot working against us- first hatch, hoping hen is still fertile, COLD temps (though have been seasonably high at 40-50 F in zone 6), full time work, old incubator???, last minute scramble etc. so while we hope for the best we are prepared for the worst. We'd love to be successful if we can but are staying realistic
1. I've read that you should store eggs pointy end down in a carton, alternating which end is on a book, etc in order to turn them. We hope to collect the rest of the week before putting them in the incubator. My question is- can they be stored on the automatic turner which completes a cycle every 4 hours? Is this too much turning or will they lose too much moisture being out of a carton? This would alleviate the need to remember to turn then and risk damaging them. We both work full time (plus I am going away for the weekend) and I worry that we will keep up with the turning. I want to give them the best possible head start.
2. There is no fan in the incubator, is this going to be an issue?
3. Do we need to disinfect the incubator/eggs before putting them in there? I was going to use a bleach or apple cider mixture for the bottom of the incubator which has been in a box for the past 20 years so I'm thinking disease is less of an issue then dust.
4. Is there any credence to a higher chance of hatching males in winter? or this an old wives tale? Don't mind 1 or 2 but don't want them to all be male if I can help it.
3. Are we crazy embarking on a hatching endeavor in December!? They'd be stuck in the house for a while before they could go outside with the big girls.
Any and all feedback most welcome!