We needed an incubator for our very first attempt at hatching so we rented one from the extension office. It is pretty a homemade job but pretty nice. Wood box with glass top and front, light fixture with two bulbs, expanding disc that shuts the lights off when the temp is right, raised floor made of hardware cloth, water tray under that is just an aluminum cake pan. I told them this was our first time and I told them what kind of chickens we were hatching.
Everything went OK until the hatch. We were told that at lock down we should make sure the water tray was filled all the way so we would not have to mess with it. We did have to pull it out and switch it for a cake pan we had in the house since we found the aluminum one had a hole and was leaking and ruining the table we have the incubator set on.
We locked down 8 eggs. On Wednesday I noticed there were 3 little chicks and only 4 eggs. I was super confused and just assumed that my daughter and I must have been wrong about the number of eggs - even though that seemed impossible - I mean we can count to 8.
Anyhow, Wednesday evening when we got home from a meeting the humidity was a little too high so we opened it up and pulled the tray out (were going to remove a sponge that was in there) and there was a drowned chick! It was awful. I am still miserable about it. I know these little things can die and we will have to deal with it but it should not have drowned in the dang incubator! There is a gap at the front where the floor doesn't meet the glass. It is bent up and has a lip of a couple of inches high but these little chicks climb.
Obviously we removed all the chicks and I put a cloth in to block any chance of any new hatchlings from a similar fate. I really feel like a warning of some sort would have been nice. I am obsessive and would have done anything I could think of to keep that from happening. I had no idea how active the chicks would be or that they could fit in that gap. I think when I return the incubator I will include a note telling them that we had a chick drown in there and strongly suggest that they warn others of that possibility.
These are my daughter's chicks and we paid a pretty penny for the eggs but more importantly it was heartbreaking and we can't help but feel guilty for the short, unpleasant life of this little fluffball. As of today we have 6 happy healthy sebright chicks in a brooder and one unhatched egg that we decided we would give the weekend before we give up on it. Obviously I will never use this incubator again even if they have been using it for 40 years. Hubby said he will get us a better one. I don't know what to get but I want the poor little things to be safe once they finally break out of their shells.
If you read through this thank you for allowing me to vent.