I am documenting my first hatch attempt as a way to hopefully help others and myself learn from my mistakes. I honestly never thought that I would be even trying to hatch chicks. I only got my first chicks six months ago. This all came about because the hatchery did not have all the chicks I wanted available at the same time. So really, it's all their fault! I was able to order all the chicks except the Ameracauna. These were, of course, the most likely for me to find better stock elsewhere. So I ordered the others and went on a search for AM hatching eggs. This was becoming more difficult than I thought. I ordered an incubator. This is a risky leap to take. Not only was it a risk to try to hatch chicks, but it was also a piece of equipment that could hatch a limitless amount of eggs.
At this point, I had to find eggs. So with days of searching, I decided that EE eggs were a suitable first hatch. I ordered four EE eggs and two barred rock for good measure. Then, this weird thing happened. I couldn't stop searching for AM eggs. I bid on several eBay auctions. Before the auctions were over, I finally found someone on BYC with the perfect eggs. I ordered them. Then I was becoming worried that I'd be hatching 30+ chicks. I was so relieved to have been outbid on those eBay eggs. PHEW!! With my BYC eggs ordered, I was up to 16 eggs. In only a few days, my BYC eggs were waiting at the post office for me.
The other set of eggs were delayed. Uh oh! This was going to be a staggered hatch.
So I spent days doing nothing but studying the hatching process. I decided a dry hatch was the way I wanted to go. Not only do they seem to have a better hatch rate. The fact that the other set of eggs would be late, also made me think a dry hatch would be more successful. So I let my BYC AM eggs rest. I cut the bottom out of each cup of an egg carton. I set each egg fat-side-up and let them rest at room temp for 12 hours. The incubator was already running, coming up to temp, and stabilizing. From reading the crazy stories of foam incubators, I decided to insulate it a little bit. I used a cardboard box and set it on its side. The bator fits snuggly inside the box with lots of room to breathe at the top. The box is just enough to eliminate drafts and provide a small amount of insulation. Either the box is working or the bator isn't as touchy as I've read. I think it's the box. I numbered the AM eggs 1-10 to help keep track of them.
Day 1: I cannot see aircells. I have no idea what I'm doing when candling. Temp is 101 and humidity is 37%. I'm pretty satisfied with that.
Day 2: Turned auto turner on. I left it off the first day to help any detached aircells reattach. Temp and humidity are stable.
Day 3/1: The motto "Set it and forget it" is working great. I don't stress over this like others seem to (LOL-this will change). Oh, the second set of eggs arrived. The EEs are numbered 11-14 and the BR 15 and 16. They rested for eight hours and went into the bator.
Perhaps this was a hasty move, but I don't want the two sets to be too many days apart hatching. There is no way I'm buying a second bator to use as a hatcher!
Day 4/2: Temp and humidity are still very steady. Candled three eggs.
#1 has a dark mass in it
#7 looks like there is no air cell
#16 looks clear
but it's alone day 2 for this one.
Day 5/3: Still steady. Got a new flashlight! A 226 lumen mini maglight. I highly recommend this. Oh, and somebody explained to me the right way to candle. I can actually see what's going on in there. I see veining in most eggs, but #10 might be clear. I'm leaving it in, just in case.
Day 6/4: still steady
Day 7/5: Yay! Official candling day. With so many different results, I wanted to create a spreadsheet to keep track. I didn't like any that I found, so I made my own! I'd post it here, but it's on my phone. I had to be able to take it with me everywhere. But basically I created a code for each of the things I saw. Clear - Blood ring - Veining - Detached air cell -Movement - Pipping - Zipping - Hatched
I removed the blood ring
and the two I was sure were clear. I candling the one I was unsure about again, and thought I might have seen a few little veins. It went back in. I noticed all the ones that I did not allow to rest as long have detached air cells. I also realized that I put them in the turner, whereas the other set was not turned for the first day. Next time, I will remember this. WAIT, WHAT?! Next time?????
Day8/6: Everything is still holding steady. I did really good and did not candle today. Trying to wait till tomorrow to candle the suspicious ones.
Day9/7: candled only the suspicious ones. #8: V #12: C with leakage-removed #13: C? Day 10/8: Managed to not candle!! Woohoo! Day 11/9: Temp and humidity steady. Day 12/10: candled batch 2 and saw movement in them! Too exciting! Will try to resist candling until day 18. I'm convinced too much handling is killing people's hatch rates. Day 13/11: temp is a little low. Humidity up to 45%. Def affected by outside temp/hum. Day 14/12: Temp and hum back to norm. Day 15/13: I want to...need to candle! Temp/hum stable. Day 16/14: Temp suddenly when up to 104. Just checked it a few hours ago and it was fine. Took the lid off to release heat. Seemed like a good time to candle. Everybody looks good. Some look like they are running out of room already. I love this flashlight BTW. I candled in the daylight and could see through these blue eggs! Day 17/15: Temp and humidity are stable again. Day 18/16: I can hear peeping, I swear I can!! Day 19/17: yay! Those noises are not my imagination. Day 20/18: Chickie #1 #1 running around while the second tries to get out. #2 is out! I cannot believe I don't have pictures of #3 hatching. I was too worried about the humidity spiking. I cracked the bator to lower humidity but it went to low so I added water and it went too high. Next time, don't touch! These are the only three that hatched out of a total of 16 eggs. Three others did internally pip but did not make it after that. They are totally adorable though! ----- All three are boys! It may seem unlucky, but I found a great home for two of them, and the third is such a joy. Peppy is amazing. He's so calm and yet protective. Plus, I think he's gorgeous!!