Originally Posted by Naliez
Oh! I love them! I can imagine the size difference. When Singleton hatched, he was driving us crazy with the peeping! We had the silkies, who were only a week older, but we didn't want to put Singleton in there with them too quick. One unfortunate housefly gets in the brooder, and it was like a mosh-pit of Titans! Singleton would've been trampled for sure! Lol They're all together now, and the Seramas run that brooder. They're emasculating my poor Slimy Bob by making him sit on them...
Aww, your silkie babies are adorable! We may have been mistaken to mix the serama chicks with the 3 larger chicks. The smallest serama didn't seem to be perking up and when I checked closer I saw one of its toes was bent underneath its other toes. It could have been congenital but seems just as likely it was damaged in the brooder (all the rest of the chicks were constantly bowling over it). I removed that chick, used bandages to set the toes correctly and now have it in a separate box with the next smallest serama chick (my only dark one). They appear much better now. Here are those two:
Our final 3 serama eggs never pipped internally. That gives us a final hatch rate of 50% of viable eggs. I am not intellectually satisfied with that percentage. This was my first hatch but I controlled parameters carefully and there weren't any snafus. All data and visual indicators suggested I got the humidity right, but the three eggs that failed were 3 of the 4 freshest so it's possible it was just a bit too humid for those eggs (I believe the 4th one was my initial pipper who took the longest from pip to zip).
After performing the necessary tests to conclude the remaining three eggs were no longer viable I conducted an eggtopsy. One had died a bit earlier than the other two and wasn't in position yet. The other two looked good to go. Of most interesting note all three had dark feathering. Of the six I successfully hatched only one had dark feathering. This could be coincidence but also makes one at least a bit suspicious of genetic defect.
I'd like to get a camera set up on the nest box so I can better track who is laying which eggs since we've got 1 roo covering 5 girls. Just in case it wasn't the humidity.
To conclude, we set 12 serama eggs. 1 quit in the first few days (blood ring), 1 quit a few days later and 1 quit around day 14. 3 made it to lockdown and failed to internally pip. The other six hatched upright, successfully with no help-outs.
My broody is on day 16 and sitting on 5 eggs (7 originally, 1 was clear and 1 died within first 10 days). I'll be interested to see how her hatch rate goes. She's managed to smear bits of feces on most of the eggs but then I've read hens also transfer something (antibacterial?) to the eggs via their skin that helps protect them.
My next hatch will be a doozy. I'm planning to set all the eggs I've collected since starting the last batch (minus the seven I gave to broody). That should include eggs up to 3 weeks old. I am testing the common wisdom that viability sharply decreases after 1 week of age. I've been storing mine in a cabinet at around 60 degrees, 80% relative humidity to keep the eggs from losing too much moisture. One wishes, however, for an incubator that could stagger humidity such that fresher eggs could be kept drier than the older eggs.
I'll also set a few eggs that were sat on for probably one to a few hours by a broody (at this point all but one of my serama hens has had at least a several hour stint at being broody, it's like they could smell the incubating eggs on me). I have no idea how long an egg would have to be heated up before it would begin developing (one imagines that any eggs laid in warm months would immediately incubate if it's an immediate thing).
I expect a low hatch rate this time around due to the experimental aspects but hope to be pleasantly surprised. And I hope some others here will find it entertaining and perhaps we'll even learn something cool together. ;)
Edited by dotm8rix - 10/27/15 at 11:17am