1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

2 hatch dates in 1 incubator... What to do?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by suliah, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. suliah

    suliah Chillin' With My Peeps

    212
    10
    71
    Oct 8, 2014
    Muskegon, MI
    Getting a second incubator is not an option. I've considered trying to build a second, but I don't think I have the time.

    I have a set of eggs due next week Thursday (day 13ish right now).

    And another set that's in the same incubator that didn't get set til the following Sunday (3 days later) because I just happened on another farm selling hatching eggs and wanted to get some fresh blood in my flock.

    I've been checking and eggs are looking good... roughly 15 from each hatch.

    I'm comfortable with opening my incubator during hatch to pull out the chicks (that's what I did last time, because the first time I think they knocked the other eggs around so much that I ended up with a low hatch rate because of it). Even with opening the incubator repeatedly, I still had a 75% hatch rate where everything that made it to day 20 did actually hatch. I will have my brooder set up and toasty warm so they can dry off in there...

    So anyway, can I put the eggs that are going to hatch later in egg cartons in the incubator and let the little guys hatching just roll around?
    Should I cut the bottoms off the egg cartons?
    Will it be ok to take the egg turner out at day 15 for the late batch?
    Will the high humidity from day 15-18 be a huge problem?
    I'm going to basically end up with 2 lockdowns in a row in the incubator and just hope it doesn't kill the second batch...

    Anybody done this before?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,182
    5,026
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    You certainly do have time to do an incubator build if you can spare an afternoon. Google: Rush Lane Poultry. He has some excellent videos that will walk you through your build. You can have a STC 1000 thermostat overnight shipped to you. You'll then need a light bulb and socket. You could even repurpose an old lamp in the name of expediency. You can install a fan with a computer fan hooked up to a 12V phone charger, or you could go still air if you don't want to do that. Now all you need is your box. You can buy a styrofoam cooler, or even use some cardboard boxes nestled inside each other with newspaper insulation in the middle. Steal the glass from a photo frame for your viewing pleasure, add some miscellaneous electrical doo-dads, and some duct tape, and you're in business!!!


    However, if you don't want to do the build (it really is simple. If you could re-wire a lamp with good instructions, you can build an incubator). Ok, I'm off my soap box now.

    Any way, moving on... You can take out the turner for lock down with your first set of eggs. You can put the first set in cartons for a hatch, you can put the second set in cartons for the remainder of their incy time. (Once they are in a carton, you shouldn't take them out, b/c that will interfere with their positioning for hatch. They start positioning at day 14. After the experience I had with my last 2 hatches, I'm a strong advocate of getting those eggs into position for hatch on day 14... if you're hatching upright, get them upright on day 14. If you plan to hatch flat, get them flat on day 14. (JMHO) You can still turn the eggs in a carton by tilting it... depending on the configuration of your incubator and location of the heating element. If raising the carton puts the eggs too close to the heating element, obviously, that's not a good choice. Either way, put a divider between both sets of eggs before first hatch b/c those little nuggets have no respect for the unborn. They'll be climbing all over the later set of eggs, dragging their stinky hatching goo along with them. That IMO is the biggest reason not to do a staggered hatch, b/c of the bacteria load left behind by the first chicks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. RubyNala97

    RubyNala97 Overrun With Chickens

    4,410
    662
    291
    Apr 9, 2015
    Hudson Valley, NY
    I just did the same thing. Set eggs 3 days apart. I've also been taking chicks out after hatch because they were literally rolling pips and pushing them into the sides with the pip being pushed up against the wall. And it worked out good. What I did was lockdown the first batch late. You can always lockdown once you see draw-down happening on the eggs or see your first internal pip. That way you'll be locking down the first batch, a little late and technically locking down the second batch a little early. Then all chicks go in the same brooder. 3 days is close enough that it really shouldn't matter. Plus you can stop turning eggs a few days early without any harm. So that second batch should be fine. Just keep a close eye on your air cells because you'll want them to be on track towards the end.
     
  4. suliah

    suliah Chillin' With My Peeps

    212
    10
    71
    Oct 8, 2014
    Muskegon, MI
    Lazy, so you're saying put a divider in? I hadn't even thought of that, you're so right!

    Ruby, I'm so glad you told me that it'll be OK...


    I haven't posted on here in a while but you are SOOO helpful! THANKS! I'll be putting up a divider (screen to allow airflow) on Saturday and locking down on Tuesday night for round 1 (mine always have hatched 1 day early, so I'll keep my eye out for pips). I've never hatched in a carton, always on their sides, so I'll be removing the turner on Saturday and hand-turning I guess...

    I'm doing a dry hatch (humidity has been sitting between 30 and 35 the whole time) so I'll hold off until Tuesday to add water.

    I'm feeling much better.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,182
    5,026
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Good. Glad you're finding a solution that works for you! Happy hatching!!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by