A few questions and concerns, feel free to add your own

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ziL, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. ziL

    ziL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2011
    Oswego County, NY
    I am expecting a hatch next week, but I encountered some questions that will help my next batch.

    I have heard that the way an egg is incubated affects gender. Is there any truth to this or is it just a myth?
    If I have a power outage, how long do I have until it harms the eggs?
    What are the maximum and minimum temperatures for incubation?
    I have heard that brief periods of cooling in artificial incubators are beneficial. How often and for how long?
    How cold can an egg in storage get before incubation?
    To my fellow New Yorkers, especially Central, do you have any tips for incubating in our climate?

    As some of you may have heard, winter has finally arrived here, and it brought winds that threaten a power outage tonight. :/
     
  2. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Gender is determined by the rooster's sperm and not the incubation.

    Power Outage. I think a few hours is fine. It takes a while for the eggs to cool down, but I would wrap the incubator with a towel to help keep it warm.

    Max and min depend on the incubator. Still air incubators are set from 99 to 100.5F. Incubators with fans are generally 99.5F. YMMV.

    I've heard about the brief periods of cooling too. Don't know about that.

    I've had the eggs in the refrigerator and had them viable. I don't recommend that, though.

    I'm in Montana, which is usually colder than NY. The trick is to find a fairly constant temperature place free from drafts to incubate. Since temperatures fluctuate often in my house (woodstove heat), I have chosen the bathtub for the most consistent place to incubate. Again, YMMV.
     
  3. patty12

    patty12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2011
    Skywarrior, at the risk of trouble I disagree about the rooster determined sex of the chick, I read of a study a few years back that said the hen determined the sex of the chick. this was a study preformed on caged birds. They said under good conditions , correct amount and right feed a hen would produce 50/50 on sex of young but under stress the hen produced more males than females.
    stress being not enough feed or essential nutrients of feed and the hen would produce more males.
    I realize that in most animals the male determines the sex but this is not the case in birds at least that was this studies conclusion.
    using this I always maintain essential nutrients for my hens that are producing setting eggs and i do get about 50/50 in the sex of my birds. My sister who does not feed as well got so many males in her hatches she gave up trying to hatch and gets her hatchlings from me.
    Read..http://people.eku.edu/ritchisong/avianreproduction.html
     
  4. champer

    champer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2011
    San Martin, CA
    Patty12, thank you for posting that link. Quite interesting!
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I have heard that the way an egg is incubated affects gender. Is there any truth to this or is it just a myth?

    It is just a myth. In chickens it is the hen that determines sex, not the rooster. The hen is the one that passes on the sex linked characteristics by giving a copy of all her genes ot her sons but withholding some from her daughters. So the sex of the ovum is determined even before a rooster's sperm gets involved.

    I've read a lot of different things about incubation determnining sex. One that sounded partially credible was that supposedly you would get more roosters from a warmer incubator, not because the heat changed a female to a male, but because males could survive the warmer incubation better than the females. You would just get fewer to hatch, but more that did hatch would be the males. I don't believe that one either though because my incubator runs a little warm. Some hatches I do get abut 2/3 male, but some hatches I get 2/3 female. And some hatches I get about half and half.

    If I have a power outage, how long do I have until it harms the eggs?

    That's a little hard to answer. It depends on how much "thermal mass" you have in the incubator (How many eggs or other things to hold heat), how well it is insulated so maybe it does not lose heat too fast, whether you open it or not, and how warm the room is that it is in. Usually quite a while. It takes quite a bit of time for the center of those eggs to actually cool down enough for it to hurt them, even with a fairly low air temperature. When my broodies leave their nest for their daily constitutional, they may be gone 15 minutes on a cold day or over an hour in the midddle of summer.

    What are the maximum and minimum temperatures for incubation?

    Again, hard to answer. There is not a magic number where everything automatically switches from absolutely no problem to shucks, all is lost. Different things can happen if you get too far away from the "perfect" temperatures. The further away you are and the longer you away from those perfect temperatures, the higher the possibility is that something bad might happen. So your goal should be to calibrate your thermometer so you know what you are dealing with and try to get it as close to the right temperature as you can.

    I have heard that brief periods of cooling in artificial incubators are beneficial. How often and for how long?

    I saw that Brinsea write-up yesterday. You can probably find it at their website and read it yourself and draw your own conclusions. I don't know if there is really anything to it or if it is just a marketing ploy. As much study the commercial hatching industry has put into it, I suspect more of a marketing ploy, otherwise I would expect that recommendation be all over the extension service websites. But draw your own conclusions. Brinsea has people that are more expert in hatching than I am.

    How cold can an egg in storage get before incubation?

    Obvioulsy you don't want it to freeze. There is no magic number for this either. You'll get a few different numbers for the "perfect storage temperatures, usually somewhere around 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The further you are from these optimum temperatures and the longer you are away the less likely you are to get a good hatch. But many if us vary a fair amount and still get a good hatch. Just do the best you can and don't stress about it too much.
     
  6. idahodebra

    idahodebra Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 14, 2008
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
    What patty12 said. Hen determines gender. Incubation temps might affect which gender hatches better, but it doesn't actually change the gender of the eggs. In humans, females get 2 copies of the X chromosome, making us XX. Males get an X and a Y. Males, then, can either pass on an X or Y, but females are only able to pass on an X. This is how the male determines our gender. In chickens, it is the other way around. Roosters have 2 copies of the Z chromosome, making them ZZ. Therefore, they can only pass on a Z chromosome, whereas females are ZW, and can then pass either a Z (making a male) or a W (making a female).
     
  7. ziL

    ziL Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2011
    Oswego County, NY
    Thanks eveyone! I have been stuggling to find most of my information, and I'm still looking for a book on genetics so I don't have to ask you all of the time.
     

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