Bid on my first hatching eggs!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by KDailey, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

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    Bronson, Tx
    I've been wanting to try hatching eggs so I could get better quality birds than hatchery and also get a better selection since hatcheries usually sell out of the "good breeds."

    So I've just placed a bid on 18+ hatching eggs. When I go to town saturday I'll be picking up my little giant incubator and maybe the automatic turner. I've been reading on here about hatching eggs and it all sounds so complicated! I hope I don't mess up.

    Of course BF probably won't be very happy but [​IMG]

    I'll probably volunteer to build the new runs myself to make him happy but knowing him he'll probably still do it himself. lol. I've assured him that any more runs that are built won't be as intricate as the one he's already made me. The existing coop will be moved closer to the house once the house is built and will house my "pet" chickens, aka: the friendly ones, while the rest of the runs will be for the experiaments (Mua hahaha) and the "for sale/eating" chickens. These will probably be more of a run with a cover over half of it for shelter.

    Wish me luck on winning the auction! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  2. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    Eggsciting, what kind of eggs are you trying for your first?
     
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    If you can find some fertile eggs locally to "learn the ropes" on you'll be better off in the long run. Shipped hatching eggs a gamble in the best of circumstances.
     
  4. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

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    There are pretty much NO chicken people in my area. At least not any that I can find or that don't just have barnyard mix laying hens and no roosters. I've got a neighbor that has lots of chickens and does hatch eggs but she doesn't have what I want. Plus I'd like to have some different bloodlines than hers because we'll more than likely trade and sell between each other so I don't want there to be more inbreeding than necessary (yes I know about linebreeding) She'll help me with the incubator and things though.

    It's an assortment of Blue Andalusian, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington,Blue/Black Ameracana, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Golden Lakenvelder, Easter Egger (blue /green eggs), Welsummer, and Wheaten Marans.
    The pics the seller had of their breeders are very pretty and they had really good positive feedback about their eggs that had shipped. A couple got 100% hatch rates.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  5. Ann Lotten

    Ann Lotten Out Of The Brooder

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    Exciting times! I use the HovaBator (styrofoam) incubator which is pretty close to the LG you described. Since these small incubators aren't the easiest to get a good hatch from, I would encourage you to buy the turners as well as a hygrometer/thermometer and fan, if possible. The less you have to open the incubator, the better and these items will make your life so much easier! Also, you may search out the "dry incubation" technique found here on BYC. Many have gotten really good results! I'm trying it on the batch I have in the Bator now. Best of luck on your hatching experience!!! Can't wait to here how it goes. [​IMG]
     
  6. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

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    I've seen something about dry incubation but wasn't sure what it meant so I didn't pay much attention to it. I may take a look though and see what it's all about.
     
  7. Ann Lotten

    Ann Lotten Out Of The Brooder

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    This article was written by ChooksChick's, a BYC Member. Hope it helps, I know others who swear by this method.

    Henthusiasts' Still-Air Styrofoam Incubation Cheat-Sheet



    ***The first, most important rule is: get the temp right with an empty incubator, and make sure it's stable for 48 hours- without the plugs, without you touching it- BEFORE you add eggs.***

    This is the hardest part, and if you can be good and do it, you have a much better shot at success. Do it before you order eggs, even. That gives you time to get it perfect.


    Use 3 (yes, 3!) of the sealed-in-glass aquarium thermometers from Wally World ($1.70 each, I always have at least a dozen on hand for my 6 incubators).


    They have a little green suction cup- I leave it on and move it to the weighted end for one thermometer, the top end on another and the middle for the third. This makes them a slight bit different in elevation in the incubator as the turner moves, so you can average them for the true temp.



    Place them where it will be easy to read from the windows, and turn them in the suction cup so they're angled correctly to read the red line through your windows. They need to be on the turner, wedged between eggs so you can read what the center of the egg is, internally.



    This is the only reliable way, as the thermometers that come with the incubators on cardboard change as humidity changes, and they tell you the eggs' top temperature or the temp on the floor! Took forever to figure out my incubator wasn't really spiking as badly as the thermometer said, but that the temp spikes were due to the cardboard shrinking and swelling from humidity!


    When you put eggs in, it will take hours to get stable again- ignore it!!! Walk away for a day!!! The temp will drop when you first add eggs. Don't adjust it at all. After a day with eggs, you can put a plug in to go up a degree or two. You can add another plug if you need to. If you're over 101.5*F 24 hours after you add eggs, you can turn the thing down A HAIR.

    That's all. Don't adjust again for a day- be patient. **Don't dismiss this recommendation.** You can go up a degree or two per plug you add at this point, too.

    Try not to use the knob to adjust. Being a bit off in the beginning as it takes your eggs up to temperature internally is less destructive than yo-yo adjustments. Stability is only accomplished with real patience.


    AFTER the first 2 days, during which the eggs are being brought up to temp:

    If the temp isn't too hot- like 102* consistently for 2 hours, I don't turn it down.
    If it's not below 98* consistently for 2+ hours, I don't turn it up. I add a plug and wait 24 hours. I haven't adjusted my thermostats in 6+ months.


    You can get it stable. My incubators are always full. **So are my brooders.**


    Ignore humidity until day 18. Do I need to repeat that? No water, no worries. Ignore it completely.



    For lockdown, roll up paper towels and stuff them in the water channels, then fill the channels. Lay another paper towel across the wire. I use them because they're disposable, so they won't harbor bacteria, and they increase the surface area of the evaporative substrate while wicking moisture up through the channels from the PT swelling up out of them. You'll then have BOTH sides of the paper towel exposed on the wire, plus the surface of the ones rolled up in the channels, which swell to rise over the channels themselves. You'll easily hit 75% if you follow my instructions. It may even fog up. It's okay, as it will settle down, and since you used no water previously, the high humidity will not pose a threat, as they have already evaporated the majority of the egg moisture- no drownings!

    Put the eggs on the now damp paper towel which will have absorbed water from the paper towels poking up out of the water channels, and make sure the whole lot stays wet for 3 days while in lockdown. If you must add water (which is likely) use tubing through the holes on the top of the incubator or open a window to do it. Don't open the lid, if you can help it. I do go in through a window sometimes on the LG. Actually, I do a lot!! I'm not very good about that particular discipline. I have often used a small funnel to ads a bit of H2O at a time through a vent hole, just letting it fall on the paper towel on the wire. Sometimes the eggs get dribbled on- it doesn't matter, so long as you use lukewarm water.


    I've hatched hundreds or thousands of eggs this way- YOU MUST GET THE INCUBATOR STABLE BEFORE YOU ADD EGGS.





    ACK!! One more thing. If you only have one machine, it's best to use egg cartons to hatch them, with the bottom cut out of each little cup for air movement. Otherwise, when you take out the turner the eggs are laying so much lower than they were in the turner that the temps are no longer appropriate and they're way too cold. This is important! Even a tiny bit of difference in height can mean a big difference in yolk-temp so you might wipe them out in the last 3 days if you don't use a carton or prop up the wire. You can mark the turner edge on the styrofoam and use that line to help you position the wire on shallow bowls or compote cups to get the middle of the eggs at the same height they were for the first 18 days. Put the wire back in and you're good to go. Egg cartons are easier. This doesn't affect hatchability, but you won't want the paper towel on the wire AND cardboard cartons, as this will be too humid.

    If you have had both plugs out the whole time, you might be able to get the right temp for them lying on the floor by just plugging both holes, but that's an unknown factor until you've tried it, and you don't want to find out with eggs that are about to hatch. I use a separate machine as the hatcher to avoid this conundrum.



    Hope it makes sense!

    Let me know if you have any questions. ChooksChick at gmail dot com.



    I'm adding this Q & A section for frequently asked questions. Let me know if there's something you'd like to see here.



    Q. Can you describe your feelings on the humidity portion and why you suggest no water at all?



    A. The method I describe is also referred to as 'dry incubation' and it's the only sure way I know of to decrease the embryonic mass by enough in the first 2 1/2 weeks to make the baby small enough to negotiate getting in the right position to pip properly. Many times if there isn't enough evaporation, the chick can't get into the right position to get enough leverage to pip and they never make it out. The chick is just too big.
    If there's substantial evaporation, this seems to be less of a problem. You do need to have adequate humidity for the chick to not get glued in, however, so you increase the humidity to prevent the remaining moisture from dying as the chick opens the shell with first the pip and then the zip. That's why it's important to watch the humidity at the end. There's a whole host of various opinions about how to incubate, but this has worked for me a zillion times and I encourage folks to at least read it, even if they choose another method, just to get some ideas about shat they observe and have a bit of background so they can make educated decisions as they go through their chosen method the first time.



    Q. Will this work on a forced-air incubator?



    A. Yes, many have used it on a forced air incubator, but I suggest you don't let the humidity dip below 20% for more than a few hours, adding a tad of water through a straw if it's that low for more than 8 hours. I also advocate using the paper towels on the last three days STRONGLY, because anytime a pip is large but the pipper is slow, gluing can occur more easily with the fan and air movement.

    If you can turn off the fan for the lockdown period, that would be ideal.
     
  8. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
  9. SimplySplendidSilkies

    SimplySplendidSilkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2010
    Adairsville, GA
    I would go with a hova not an LG. The Lg is a bit touchy especially if you are new to hatching. Just my opnion I have both.
     
  10. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

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    Bronson, Tx
    thankyou! I'll look up some more stuff too so I'm sure to remember it all. lol.
     

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