I've been popping in here recently with incubating questions. This batch (my first) has finished and wasn't especially successful. I want to give a 'report' of everything I did and I would LOVE criticisms and advice about it. I want to be a better egg hatcher! I have a friend who is hopefully bringing me some Trader Joe eggs in a week and I would love to get into Welsummers (which don't seem to be around here, so would probably need to order eggs). I want to improve! Ok here goes...
On May 2 (Monday) I picked up 1/2 dozen Ameracauna eggs from a local lady. I put them in my basement. On May 3 (Tuesday) I picked up 6 LF Cochin eggs and 6 Olive Eggers from another local lady. That afternoon I put them into my LG Still Air incubator. The 'bator was borrowed from a friend who last used it last year. She said it was clean, so I didn't do anything to it.
I laid them on their sides straight into the 'bator.I had an extra accurate digital thermometer in there. I also had an Accurite humidity monitor (but am questioning its accuracy cause it was always the close to the same as the one on the 'bator). I turned them that night and the next morning then went out and bought an automatic egg turner! I also read about adding stones to the base to help distribute heat. I spent about 15 minutes that afternoon messing around with everything.
For the first 2 days I messed with the temp trying to get into be around 101.5 degrees, but this kept jacking it up so I eventually settled for a steady 100.5 It basically stayed this the whole time.
I did not mess with it at all except for candling on Day 7, 10, and 14. I marked the egg cells which followed the chart. One egg definitely did not look good, but the others did. Humidity generally about 45%.
I candled them on Day 17 (as I was going to be away on Day 18). Air cells like the graph and very dark on the pointy end. Also felt heavy. Thought we saw a foot in one.
Day 19 got a little messy. I turned the egg turner off and was planning on putting the eggs into baskets to keep the breeds separate. Except my baskets wouldn't fit in the 'bator! The egg turner also was turned off in mid turn so was leaning one way. I then cut up egg cartons, put holes in the bottoms and arranged the eggs by breed that way. I put them back in, on top of the egg turner and put in a wet sponge. Probably took about 15 minutes. I took out the other vent plug (so now both open). Temp returned to 100.5, but humidity never really changed. Would drip water onto sponge through vent hole throughout the day.
Day 21 (Tuesday) came and went. Day 22 nothing seemed to be happening so we opened the top window and started candling them. My mom noticed a tiny hole in one, so we popped it back in and closed the window (redampening the sponge). Hazel the Ameracauna hatched in the night and is so far doing fine.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Pearl the Cochin followed suit. By Thursday, 3 other eggs had pips now. Mabel the Olive Egger hatched at midnight and another one hatched in the early hours of Friday morning. She stayed very sticky and only lived a few hours (acted oddly the whole time). The other pipped egg had pipped in the wrong spot and we tried to intervene, but think it was dead by the time we did. I did add an extra damp sponge when we went in. And I took out each chick as it dried, but went in through the window and rewet the sponge each time. the only time I took off the lid was to retrieve the chick that eventually died because she had gotten herself stuck in a weird spot (I also didn't think I was going to get anymore living chicks, so was trying to save what we had).
So, out of 18 eggs we ended up with 3 chicks that lived. One of each breed. From different spots in the incubator (post me arranging them in egg cartons).
I have 3 local people who are incubating now using the same 'bator all telling me they're having issues as well and it must be 'something in the air.' But that can't be, can it? We're creating our own environment in the 'bator? Just an excuse for making mistakes?
Thank you for reading this whole thing and PLEASE, any comments are really appreciated!