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2 hatched, but I'm not entering our incubator in a contest!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Adri, May 2, 2009.

  1. Adri

    Adri In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2008
    My 11 y.o. son and his buddy got my husband to build an incubator with them for their science fair project. They found plans for a large still air incubator made from wood. My husband bought all of the parts that it called for, costing him about $50 to build it (the other boy's family contributed to it as well). I collected eggs for them, we had 16 in there. We candled them at 7 days thought that maybe something in there, but with no experience and only blurry photocopies from the school library to compare to, we were wrongly optimistic. We turned them 4 times a day, and waited. We were extremely disappointed when nothing hatched. We wondered if perhaps our nasty rooster Benny was infertile. But after reading some posts here, my son and I got a few more thermometers and checked the temperature and found that we had a lot of temperature variation in the incubator and our thermometer was off by about 4 degrees (we had been roasting our eggs at 106 or more). The boys did a great write up about their procedures and despite the poor outcome, they learned a lot. We were impressed at how much the boys learned about egg incubation, but even more impressed by some of the other science and math skills that they utilized.

    So maybe I'm a sore loser, but once my son brought the incubator home, I called the local hatchery and asked if it was possible to get any hatching eggs. My plan was to incubate a dozen of his eggs and a dozen of my own eggs. He said that he didn't generally sell them, but maybe he could come up with some odds and ends for us. I waited and waited for him to call, but eventually, I couldn't stand the waiting anymore and started 12 of our own eggs. This time, at 7 days, we were all amazed at what a real embryo looked like, nothing like what we saw the first time. We had embryos in 5 of our 6 white eggs. We couldn't see inside the 6 Ameraucana eggs though. We turned the eggs 4 times a day again. On Wednesday, day 21, we waited and waited for a pip. Nothing. We lost hope and the boys started trying to figure out what went wrong and made plans for Friday night when they would turn off the incubator and throw out the eggs inside. My husband was reminding me of how much power that incubator was wasting, without producing a single chick, not to mention all of my efforts in turning them regularly. On Friday afternoon, when I walked into the kitchen, I was greeted by a wet chick cheeping and flopping all over the floor of the incubator. There was a little hole in one other white egg. My son arrived home from school and called his friend who arrived within minutes. A crowd of us sat in front of the incubator for hours and watched chick #2 hatch, quietly cheering him on. It was wonderful.

    So now, it is day 24, and none of the Ameraucana eggs has done anything. I'm guessing that once I move these chicks out of the incubator tomorrow I am safe to turn it off and toss the eggs inside. We are delighted with our 2 little chicks, but a little embarassed by our dismal hatch rate. I'm glad we did it, but I think from now on I'll just order chicks from the hatchery.

    In the meantime, we picked up 100 White Rocks and 10 Turkeys at the hatchery on Tuesday, so once these little guys are steady on their feet at least they'll have some more bodies to keep them warm for the next 8 weeks. Then we'll keep them in a cage in our layer flock's coop.

  2. giasmom

    giasmom Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    Woodville, Al
    Congrats on the 2 chicks, guess 2 was better than the none. However it was a good project and everyone learned alot. Thats what counts!
  3. gabrielle1976

    gabrielle1976 Crowing

    Feb 21, 2009
    Columbia river gorge
    Good for you to build and try again . Alot of people seem to have good luck with there homemade bators but I think the trick with that may be people that have better thermastates in theres, I hatched out 18 babies out of about 40 eggs on a few diffrent tries , I ended up decideing sence most of these babies made it past day 10 and a lot to day 18 or so befor dieing I wasnt gonna use my homemade bator anymore , the temps were just to unstable no matter how much I moved stuff around and used heat sinks and diffrent watt bulbs ect.
    You may have better luck if you can find a little electonic like reptile thermastat though.
  4. Keisha

    Keisha Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    Hmm you said its a still air?
    Maybe if you put a computer fan or something in there you will have better luck. Even when incubators you can buy forced airs are usually better.
    Atleast you got two eggs to hatch though [​IMG]
  5. FrenchHen

    FrenchHen Chicken Ambassador

    Jan 26, 2009
    Bagshot Row
    Enter it anyway! The criteria for winning is more on how you do the page and explain the steps (as far as I know).
    Besides, some of us have to enter to give others a shot at winning!
  6. Adri

    Adri In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2008
    Thanks for the encouragement. Keisha, yes, I think you are right that if we added a CPU fan we would probably have better results. DH and I noticed that a lot of homemade plans included one, but left the final decision up to the boys who didn't understand why we would need one. I think that after the first try they discovered that the fan might have eliminated the temperature variations. Good point FrenchHen, if I get my page done in time maybe I will help somebody else win. [​IMG]
  7. kingmt

    kingmt Songster

    May 1, 2009
    Mason WV
    Quote:What? You had success & now your giving up? It is time to dig in & see if you can improve on what you now know. You went from 0% to 20% that is a big jump. Just think if you have that much improvement each time the 5th time would be 100%.

    I have been told that the ameraucanas are hard to hatch. Something about cross breading to get the fertile. I'm not sure but I've been told that two of the same kind & of the same parent won't hatch.
    Last edited: May 7, 2009

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