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1st Time Incubating - Timing Question on starting eggs - Multiple batches

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Is there an issue with putting a batch of eggs in to start and another batch of eggs a week later?  The obvious downside is that you can't really get into the incubator to clean it out if there is any mess on the bottom after the first eggs hatch - seems like this could be solved by putting the eggs on little paper trays before hatching.

 

Rational for this is that I have one chicken I'd like to incubate a dozen eggs from.  From my reading - it sounds like your success rate drops on the eggs making it after they have been sitting for a week.  Therefore to get a dozen eggs - it seems like i'd have a better shot putting in a half dozen now and a half dozen more when they are gathered.

 

Any thoughts?

post #2 of 4
How you store them has a lot of effect on how fast the hatchability drops off. If you can store them in some place with fairly high humidity in the mid-50’s, store them pointy side down, and turn on a regular basis you can get decent results storing for longer than a week. The further you are from the ideal the faster hatchability drops.

We call what you are talking about a staggered hatch. How do you handle humidity and turning during lockdown for the first batch? People manage it but it can hurt your hatchability in the later eggs.

The chicks that hatch make a mess. They poop and there is goop in there from the eggs. In that high humidity that will start to stink pretty soon. In my opinion you want to take the incubator apart and clean it up once the first hatch is over. You could make clean-up easier by spreading non-slick paper or some type of plastic or rubber covering, but the chicks that hatch will be crawling all over the place. It would need to cover the floor. And if you have the open water reservoirs to boost humidity under the chicks you might need to empty the water. Still, it should be doable.

Since they crawl all over and are really messy, poop and goop, they will get the unhatched eggs dirty. That can let bacteria get into your later eggs and destroy that part of the hatch. The solution is to stop them from crawling on the later eggs. Maybe put a barrier across the incubator made out of hardware cloth or form a basket out of hardware cloth and put that over the first eggs to hatch. Some people use mesh plastic baskets some fruit or veggies come in.

The ideal solution is to get or make a second incubator to be used only as a hatcher. Most serial staggered hatchers have more than one incubator.

It can be done but I’d concentrate on getting everything right for the first eggs. Anything from the second hatch would be considered a bonus.

Good luck!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

How you store them has a lot of effect on how fast the hatchability drops off. If you can store them in some place with fairly high humidity in the mid-50’s, store them pointy side down, and turn on a regular basis you can get decent results storing for longer than a week. The further you are from the ideal the faster hatchability drops.

We call what you are talking about a staggered hatch. How do you handle humidity and turning during lockdown for the first batch? People manage it but it can hurt your hatchability in the later eggs.

The chicks that hatch make a mess. They poop and there is goop in there from the eggs. In that high humidity that will start to stink pretty soon. In my opinion you want to take the incubator apart and clean it up once the first hatch is over. You could make clean-up easier by spreading non-slick paper or some type of plastic or rubber covering, but the chicks that hatch will be crawling all over the place. It would need to cover the floor. And if you have the open water reservoirs to boost humidity under the chicks you might need to empty the water. Still, it should be doable.

Since they crawl all over and are really messy, poop and goop, they will get the unhatched eggs dirty. That can let bacteria get into your later eggs and destroy that part of the hatch. The solution is to stop them from crawling on the later eggs. Maybe put a barrier across the incubator made out of hardware cloth or form a basket out of hardware cloth and put that over the first eggs to hatch. Some people use mesh plastic baskets some fruit or veggies come in.

The ideal solution is to get or make a second incubator to be used only as a hatcher. Most serial staggered hatchers have more than one incubator.

It can be done but I’d concentrate on getting everything right for the first eggs. Anything from the second hatch would be considered a bonus.

Good luck!

Thanks for the reply.

 

So to be clear on holding the eggs before putting them in the incubator - You turn those eggs regularly and keep pointy side down?  What are the ideal conditions?  For now I am keeping them in my basement which is around 60 degrees and 50%/60% humidity.  In those conditions - how long would you recommend storing the eggs before the yield starts to drop?  

 

The multiple batches make sense.  I have a hova-bator with the plastic tray in the bottom.  I put 1 egg in the incubator on Christmas - batching the rest.  It sounds like I can wall that one off in a little bowl for hatching - but doing that with more than 1 chick would end up making a mess of the incubator.  

post #4 of 4
Try reading this. In my opinion they go overboard on some of the stuff but it gives you really good basics for “ideal” conditions.

Texas A&M Incubation site
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/organic/files/2011/02/Lee-Cartwright-Incubating-and-hatching-eggs.pdf

Pointy side down keeps the air cell where it is supposed to be. Turning keeps the yolk centered. If it touches the inside of the shell, it can get stuck and that ruins it for hatching.

The biggest problem with longer term storage is the humidity. They lose moisture as they are stored so older eggs need higher humidity during incubation than fresher eggs. There is no perfect humidity for incubating eggs anyway. Some eggs are more porous than others and some have thicker or thinner whites. These cause them to lose humidity at different rates during storage and while incubating. There is a fairly wide band of humidity that will work, thank goodness, but different humidities work for different ones of us. You’re trying to get an average that works pretty well for you. Sometimes that is a trial and error process.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
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