Originally Posted by chicapee
Good Evening my feather loving friends, I had to bring this to the PC as it would be too difficult on my phone.
I began my chicken hatching adventures last spring and admit I am a hatchaholic. I wouldn't have been able to achieve my success without the awesome support and experience from every one on this thread. I have appreciated the wisdom given out most selflessly to the rookie I am. My hatch rate has soared and I have racked up some 100% hatches. I can be a perfectionist and I strive to maintain my record. I feel great disappointment if I lose any chicks.
I started my incubating journey being a staunch red team member, but after having a couple of special needs chicks, I feel that I am slowly turning purple. I feel that by the end of this year it is quite possible that I will wind up being a true blue.
My hatches began with some local BLRW eggs, that I drove 2 hrs each way for, then came the Royal Palm eggs from ebay, after that some local Black and Blue BCM, Then my nightmare filthy eggs from Florida, Ravyn to the rescue and I had a marvelous hatch with her eggs Lavender and Black lavender split Ameraucana, BCM and Cream Legbars these are my most special favorites. I have since became a chick grandmother hatching babies from eggs that I have collected from my lovely girls. These are Asian Blue and Marans. I have 7 hatches under my belt, my 8th set was yesterday. Most of my sets have been shipped.
I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where summers are hot and humid and winters are mild and mostly humid, a few dry days during cold snaps where RH can be 30%. I have hatched in all 4 seasons.
I use a Brinsea Octagon 20 advance which is a digital forced air incubator. I use the auto cradle it comes with to turn the eggs. I had to calibrate the temperature after my first hatch as it was slightly low. It has been spot on for all subsequent hatches. The digital read out is 99.6 f.
I use the spot check as a back up thermometer.I check the temp in 4 different spots the average temp is 99.5 with readings ranging from 99-100.5f. I built a coolerbator to use as a back up. I have been using it lately to dry the chicks off before they go to the brooder.
My last 2 hatches have been completely dry days 1 thru 18. These were eggs from my girls so were very fresh with tiny air cells. I check the air cell size on days 7, 14, and 18 and if necessary I would add water. On day 18 I will add very warm water to one channel, on day 19 to the 2nd channel I also add a folded paper towel and drape it in the channels to increase the surface area. On day 20 I add a sponge under the air vent and use a needle and syringe to wet it as needed.
My eggs always start externally pipping at the end of day 20 and the hatch is completed by mid day 21. However, on the last hatch I experienced a strange anomaly where one chick hatched the beginning of day 19 and I was caught with my pants down and added more water in a hurry. The rest of the hatch proceeded as usual. I assisted one egg on each of the first 2 hatches with success, they grew up to be happy and healthy. 100% of all hatches lived past day 3 and beyond, or until I had a hankering for Coq au Vin.