A Shot in the Dark

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Wingleader, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Wingleader

    Wingleader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi all! I'm going to try to be more active on here, so I figured I'd share my most recent escapade (or maybe eggscapade? hurr hurr).

    So, a few days ago my queen B of the flock, Lydia the never-broody white leghorn, started laying eggs again after a few weeks off (the cause of which I'm unsure of). She laid one, and the next day she laid another just as I was going in to check on the featherbutts so I scooped the egg up and kept it nice and toasty. The King of our coop is Dovah, and he's also a white leghorn and he is... ahem... quite an active fellow, so I figured "Hey! This is probably fertile. Why don't we try to hatch this little thing!"

    So, a frantic google search on hatching an egg without a proper incubator ensued (and usually linked me right back here to BYC ;) ) and now the egg is in a box with a lamp socket stuck into the side, a cup of water, and a digital thermometer. The temp is a pretty consistent 100 to 101 degrees and my future mother-in-law is eggsitting it, making sure it's turned frequently during the day and that the humidity and temp stays constant.

    HOWEVER, the first night we didn't have a proper set-up and ended up using a few of those sore muscle air-activated heat pads inside a styrofoam container to keep the egg warm. It worked well enough, though it dropped to about 90 degrees by the morning. I'm hoping to invest in a hova bator next spring, but until then I'm stuck with this hilariously awkward-looking box.

    So the question I'm posing to those of you who know their junk is do you think this egg has a decent chance of hatching (though I won't even know if it's fertile for about 5 days)? And are there any tips you'd like to throw at me in general about hatching eggs and keeping chicks?

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. SilkieSensation

    SilkieSensation Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 25, 2012
    Baltic, Ohio
    Hatching a single egg by itself is not really a good idea. Chickens are very social & need company. I would really wait until you have 6-12 eggs to put in at once so you don't end up with a lone chickie driving you nuts with it's peeping because it has no company.

    As for the homemade bator, a styrofoam or plastic cooler works much better than a cardboard box. The box will not hold the humidity levels needed for hatching.
  3. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I have no idea if the egg will hatch or not, though if it drops that low for any period of time, I'm going to say it won't. Also, if it goes above 101 for any length of time it won't either.

    I can however give you advice on raising chicks. The main thing being, you need to keep at least 2-3 chicks at a time. One chick will be very lonely and will cry whenever it is away from you.

    Chicks need a warm environment with a decreasing amount of warmth each week until they are fully feathered. They need chick starter, and clean water. They also need a cool off space in their brooder if it gets too hot for them under the heat lamp.

    good luck! :)
  4. Wingleader

    Wingleader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Cool cool! Good things to know! I cracked one of Lydia's eggs open today to see if it was fertile and it turned out it was not, so I'm going to go out on a limb and thing this one isn't either, but I'm going to wait a few more days and candle this one just to be sure.

    I did, however, find out that one of my far younger hens IS laying fertile eggs! So I'll probably wait to get a few before I try to hatch them, as per the suggestion up there. Now, how do I store the eggs before putting them all in the incubator at once? The fertile one was on the counter for a day or two and had a red spot when I cracked it open earlier, so is just plonking them on the counter acceptable? I don't want one egg to get too much of a head-start on the others.
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    The red spot happens when a blood vessel breaks off when the yolk is released from the ovum (can't think of right term for this...) and has nothing to do with fertility. These blood spots are nothing to be concerned about either.

    You should be as gentle as possible with hatching eggs, but really it doesn't usually harm them. Put them all in at once. You don't want a staggered hatch.

    Store your eggs in the basement if possible. Best temps to store them at is between 55 - 65 degrees. I have stored them between 70-80 with not much of a hatch issue, but just to be safe, store them in the basement. Your eggs will have more challenges to go through than most, as your incubator fluctuates. Better to handle and store them properly prior to incubating.

    Let eggs come up to room temperature before putting them in the incubator.
  6. Wingleader

    Wingleader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hey, thanks! The house they're stored in is actually currently under construction, without a proper heating system, and we haven't moved in yet (though we're out there every day, all day, practically). so the temperature stays in that 55-65 degree range. Good thing to know about that red spot. I didn't think it was a problem. But aside from that, one of the other eggs I cracked DID have that little white "donut" instead of just the spot.

    I know which chicken has been laying these eggs, which are green, and I think she is an ameraucana (she wasn't labelled very well at auction). We have three little EE roos (that may need to find new homes soon) that just hit the point where they're crowing, but I'm absolutely positive it isn't those boys who knocked her up. Has anyone seen what a cross between an ameraucana and a white leghorn looks like?
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    If she's laying green eggs, right away tells me she is an EE and not an Ameraucana :)

    Ameraucanas must lay blue eggs. Easter Eggers can lay blue as well, but to be considered pure Ameraucana they have to fit the standards (be blue Wheaton, blue, white, buff, brown red, Wheaton, black, and silver) they have to have slate legs, reddish bay eyes, and not have any yellow on their beak. They also have to breed true 50% of the time.

    It's a tough standard, but they are really rare - and are so often mislabelled.


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