Advice on Hatching Chicks in an Incubator?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ConfusedTaru, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. ConfusedTaru

    ConfusedTaru Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2016
    I have been reading up on this a lot, but many people say different things. I am hatching eggs in an incubator for a science fair project. It is a little giant still air, no turner. I have been turning the eggs 2-3 times a day and have been keeping the water reservoir full. What is the best temperature for hatching chicks? The eggs are regular chicken eggs from a friend. Am I allowed to open the incubator during lock down to remove the chicks that have hatched? I have hatched chicks before with broody hens, and have done it in an incubator once, but that was not for hatch rates, just to save some abandoned eggs. I am new to backyard chickens, and actually got an account to ask for help on these questions. I need at least a 75% hatch rate for the science fair to work.
     
  2. nchls school

    nchls school Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. Jessimom

    Jessimom Cats Rule Dogs Drool

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    I have a Little Giant with a fan and an auto turner. I keep ZERO water in the 'bator for the first 18 days. My humidity runs around 36%. You should candle the eggs to see if the air cells are losing the correct amount of moisture since you have the channels full of water. What is the humidity?

    I have a second little giant bator (no fan) that I had very successful hatch rates with. I kept wet sponges in there, rather than using the channels to up the humidity for lockdown. I was able to add water through the vent holes to keep the sponges wet. I have since broken that incubator trying to add a fan. I think the temps I ran that at were 99 - 100, but my chicks hatched late - days 21 and 22. I replaced the broken bator with an Incuview and had a HORRIBLE hatch.

    I agree, once you lock down the eggs, don't open it again until most chicks have hatched. They can go 2 to 3 days without food or water.

    Go here to get more info.... https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101

    Good luck!!!
     
  4. ConfusedTaru

    ConfusedTaru Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2016
    Okay,
    So my incubator is at 101, and I have been turning my eggs 2-3 times a day. The eggs have been in the incubator for three days, so I will candle in 3 days. I have hatched eggs before, but with an auto turner. I will not refill the water reservoir then until it is lock down. I do not know what my humidity is. How do you measure that? Also, for future reference, would all this be the same for duck eggs? Bantam eggs? I have all of those species, and occasionally we need an emergency rescue from a new broody. I also wanted to thank you guys for the quick replies, this is my first thread on BYC, and I thought it would be much, much slower. I will give you guys updates in pictures when I candle and when they hatch. I will leave the chicks in the bator until all have hatched. This is my first time hatching full sized chickens, so I am excited to add some more variety to the flock, although I am a bit clueless. Any more advice is very welcome.
    Thanks so much!
     
  5. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    XS 2 I prefer the low humidity incubation and run dry when I am able to stay above 25% dry.

    HI there!! 101-102 is ideal for still air bators. I also hatch in a LG but mine has had the fan added. I have awesome hatches. I highly recommend using a low humidity method for the first 17 days and checking the air cells so you know how and when to adjust if needed. I highly recommend purchasing a hygrometer and checking both the hygrometer and your thermometers for accuracy as that can make or break a hatch. I use this method for incubation: http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com...anuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity Many people using styro bators especially have had awesome results that way. (Note: Higher elevations need higher humidity so I do NOT recommend it if the hatcher is at a high elevation.)

    Now for when to remove chicks. That is a personal choice. Many wait until after the hatch is complete to remove chicks, some wait until they are dry to remove them then there are plenty of us that remove them as they hatch. The biggest factor you need to take into consideration is your humidity. If you have your humidity upped for hatch (I run at 75%) and your incubator recovers humidity easily, then opening the bator during hatch should cause no issues. I remove my chicks as they become active. Sometimes that means they are in there a couple hours, sometimes less than that. Because I run a higher hatching humidity my chicks dry and fluff better under the brooder lamp than in the incubator. I think the longest my chicks are ever in the bator is if they hatch during the night. While theory says that chicks can last 3 days on the absorbed yolk, you have to take into consideration that growth/embryo charts show that chicks normally start absorbing yolk at day 19 and are done by day 20. So if the majority of the chicks absorb "on time" they are already exhausting that supply at hatch. You also have to factor in possibility of dehydration during hatch. I equate the theory of "they can last for 3 days on the absorbed yolk" to I can last three days w/o food too, doesn't mean I want to. I pull my chicks and provide food and water (electrolyte infused) from onset. Normally, the majority of my chicks are drinking within hours. Eating ranges from some eating within the first 24 hours to others that really aren't interested until after 24 hours. People hatch, raise and brood in many different ways. No one way is right. Finding your comfort level and what works for you is the goal. As long as you are meeting your idea of success, that is what matters, no matter which way you choose.

    As for duck and bantams. I haven't done ducks myself but many friends have and they are pretty similiar with exception of incubation period and many people mist their duck eggs during incubation. Bantams are no different than standards, the only thing with bantams is they will often (though not neccessarily) will hatch a day or two early.

    I have an auto turner, but I choose to hand turn and have had my best hatches hand turning. I turn at least 3 times a day, 5 if I can get in the extra couple. I also stop trning at the end of day 13 so that they can start their rotation to the big end w/out extra handling. (I also candle when I want too. [​IMG])
     
  6. ConfusedTaru

    ConfusedTaru Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks!
    When we hatched our bantams in an emergency situation, we were on a trip. Our friends took them out as they became active and we came home to five happy, healthy chicks. My current experiment involves talking to some of the chicks as eggs, so I am probably going to take them out early on from the 'bator so I can see how they respond to my voice compared to the chicks I did not talk to as eggs to finish my experiment in time. This is the result of our hatch that our broody decided she wanted to start and not finish, these are two of the five chicks:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Here is one of the chicks now. Do any of you know what breed they are? They lay green eggs and are bantams.


    I am very excited about hatching some full size chicks. Is there anything different between bantams and regular chickens other than size? I really want to give these chicks everything they need. I know little giants are not the most reliable incubators, but would a homemade one be better for future? Our broodies do not always like to finish sitting. Also, Does anyone know how to get their ducks to keep laying eggs? I started a duck egg business, and of course as soon as I had customers, they stopped laying.[​IMG] I think it might be all the cold weather we have been getting. Crazy ducks. Oh well. Please give me any incubation advice or tips you might have. I DO NOT want anything to happen to these little chicks. Oh, and I am starting to turn the eggs more often now. The incubator has been no higher than 102 lately, and gets no lower than 99. Why do they take 3 whole weeks to hatch?!? I can't wait that long to meet my chicks! This is why we have bantams: I am not very patient. I also love hatching ducklings, but they take longer and make SUCH A MESS!!! Although, their cuteness makes up for most of it. I still cannot wait for these chicks to hatch, or at least get to candling stage! And does this kind of count for the hatch along? I know it is early, but I think it could count. I will post pictures as soon as I candle them. Until then, I will try to reply to anyone who posts. Again, thanks for replying so fast! If anyone has any questions about hatching ducks using broody chickens, I can answer them if able.
     
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Green egg layers are in the ee category. I have 2 nn/ee hens that lay nice green eggs. The ee is from Aracauna line in mine. Does that bottom pic chicken have a bit of a muff/beard? (Looks Ameraucana -ee to me). Are the legs orange or slate? Some home made incubators are great incubators. Depends on how they are built. There are lots of plans and ideas here on BYC in the threads. The biggest tip I can give, is check your thermometers/hygrometers to make sure they are accurate. My very first hatch I bought a new thermometer and never checked it. Ruined my hatch as the thermometer was 6 degreees off and I didn't know it. I started using no less than 2 coinciding thermometers and switched to the low humidity incubation and have had excellent hatches ever since, in a LG no less. As for bantam vs standards, there isn't anything special or much different. I have 2 Black Japanese Bantams and they are right in the flock with my standards. They fly much better since they are smaller....lol but other than that, they are just miniature chickens in my mind...lol Best of luck with the hatch!
     
  8. ConfusedTaru

    ConfusedTaru Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2016
    Thanks!
    Some have green, some have orange-ish yellow legs. The roosters come in red and white and white. Some have puffy beards, others don't. We lost one several years ago that laid pink eggs. I am hoping to a homemade incubator as back up because we are borrowing this from a friend. I was going to buy a little giant, but that was because the auto turner would fit in it. I now know it is not too hard to hand turn, so I don't want to spend $100 if it is this easy. This is one of the chicks our broody hatched this summer:

    [​IMG]
    So cute!
    Also, I am planning on building a larger coop soon. This is my model:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    And here are the types of eggs we get from our bantams, ducks, and regular chicken. The two on the far right corner are from our bantam and our standard brown egg layer:
    [​IMG]
    These are our ducks:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Nice looking birds and eggs. It sounds like you have some ee's from the ameraucana side. I have a puffy gray one that has the standard ameraucana look, but bright orange legs and feet...lol
     
  10. ConfusedTaru

    ConfusedTaru Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2016
    Thanks, I think they are pretty cute, too. We wouldn't have them if they weren't adorable, as they are real slackers with egg laying.[​IMG] Oh, well, gotta love fowl, no matter how foul they are!
     

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