Emergency winter hatch thread (Partridge Orpington x Easter Egger)

countryladyNH

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Feb 22, 2016
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Day 7 today. I candled all the eggs. They are all infertile beyond a doubt :hit Meanwhile my friend got two more eggs from that hen, and gave them to me as the absolute last chance. I really doubt they'll be any different, but I lose nothing to try. The eggs are free, the incubator is free... I already have it set up and running. She have me a full dozen eggs actually - those two and a whole bunch of extras from her main flock, just in case one of the special eggs makes it but the other doesn't, so I don't end up with a lonely chick. Her main flock's rooster is old and produced a whole bunch of infertile eggs that I tried incubating for her last spring, so those don't have much of a chance either... So now I have 6 loser eggs in there getting warm. I won't look until day 7 again. Slim chance anything at all will come out of them, but we'll see.

This has been SUCH a disappointment. All of it. The low success rate hatching Partridge Orps in the spring, my lone survivor dying prematurely, and failing so miserably to perform his duties given that he had only two females to take care of, and had them all to himself... Those would've been some good looking babies, too. Ugh.
So sorry....
 

paloozaparty

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Apr 28, 2020
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I found myself needing to do a very impractical emergency winter hatch, after the family’s favorite chicken died suddenly and for no apparent reason. We want him to live on, so we decided to hatch some eggs from one of his girlfriends. We were planning on doing that in the spring anyway, but his sudden death has changed our plans. I'm dreading this a little bit, being that we're at the start of winter in the Northeast, but the kids really loved that cockerel, and even my husband (otherwise indifferent to the chickens) said we should do it, so we're doing it.

I set the eggs this morning - 11 beautiful green eggs, in a Little Giant still air incubator, the same one I used last time. I added a handheld fan to it again, two calibrated probe thermometers, and one calibrated hygrometer. Aquarium tubing to add water through with a syringe without opening the lid. I learned a lot of lessons from my previous hatch with this finicky incubator, so I’m feeling more confident this time. Day 1 was smooth sailing, unlike day 1 last time when I wanted to throw the whole thing out the window :lol: If you want to check out my previous hatch thread, you can find it here.

A bit of context. The departed cockerel came from said hatch, and was instantly everybody's favorite. Full of character and hilarity, very social, smart and friendly. The perfect pet chicken, sweet until the end with not a drop of aggression for the whole 7 months of his life (which is why we want more of him). He was a Red Partridge Orpington that came from Papa’s Poultry in CA (the eggs flew coast to coast to MA). Sadly, we couldn’t keep him because we can’t have roosters where we live. We rehomed him about a month or so ago, after he started crowing, with a friend of mine who lives on a small farm. The kids missed him, but we went to visit him occasionally. My friend was temporarily keeping him in a tractor coop with two females - one that she says is an Ameraucana (I'm no breed expert at all but after looking it up, it looks to me like she's actually an Easter Egger) and her grown chick (who is about the same age as our boy). They’d free range with the main flock to get used to each other, but then go back to the tractor. Our boy was in love with the chick, but she’s not laying yet. He was trying with the mom, too, but she wasn’t always letting him. The only eggs we have now to work with are hers, and it’s not clear if they got fertilized or not... He certainly tried, but I guess we’ll see.

Last time I brooded the chicks in what I called a "chicken TV brooder" in our upstairs hallway for 3 weeks, and everybody loved the experience. We had no problems with dust or smell. The kids loved having the chicks right next to their bedroom, and even my husband said he enjoyed the peaceful sound of birds chirping in the hallway. So we’ll do that again, but with a bigger box so they can stay in it longer. With winter already here, these chicks will need to spend several months in the house. When they outgrow the box, I can section off part of the basement for them. And then deal with integration gradually, after the weather starts warming up...This isn’t an ideal situation and I’d much rather hatch in the spring, but we want chicks from this cockerel for sentimental reasons, and the family is committed to making it work. I’ll probably have questions as the saga unfolds, and would appreciate your feedback!

Here's a picture of our beloved:

View attachment 2421874

And the mom of the eggs:

View attachment 2421876 View attachment 2421878

I'm so curious to see what the babies end up looking like! (if we get any babies 🤞). What do you guys think about mom's breed? I'm thinking she's an EE? Lays green eggs - here are the ones I set:
View attachment 2421879

She seems to have a dilute gene because her tail is blue. I'm not sure how chicken dilute genes work. I know on cats they affect the entire body, but on this hen the beard is unaffected and still quite black. Do they affect only parts of the body? What would that mean for the chicks?

As for the beard, I thought I could figure out how many copies of the beard gene mom had, by looking at her daughter, who doesn't have a beard. So I was thinking mom was heterozygous (one copy) and the babies would have a 50% chance. But then my friend said she's not 100% sure the daughter came from this hen's egg, as another hen might have snuck into the broody's nest and laid one of her own eggs there. Looking at the daughter though, I'm thinking she might have a dilute gene too, just by the looks of her - whoever her mom is, we know that her dad is a Whiting Grizzly (the kind used for fly fishing). So she has a bit of the grizzly pattern, but the blacks are blue-gray-ish. Here's a picture of her with her mom:
View attachment 2421883

I'm not sure if my friend has any other chickens with a dilute gene, I can ask (or go visit and look at the chickens again... She has a lot so I haven't paid attention to any specific ones). But maybe that means that this is indeed the EE's daughter, and the EE has one copy so we might get a mix of beards and no beards.

Does anybody have any experience crossing the partridge pattern with this kind of EE pattern? Any guesses on what the chicks might look like (beards and dilutions aside)?

This is going to be fun :D

OH OH OH I can so relate to your situation! I had to rehome our beloved Roo Paul (yes, his name) at the beginning of quarantine (we live in the city, can't have roosters) and found a GREAT home for him (I looked for 6 solid months after he revealed himself at 2 months). Anyway, we had 4 hens, burt one died totally unexpectedly the month before rehoming Roo Paul, so I also got the hair to incubate his (obviously fertile) eggs from our remaining 3 hens. I've never done this before, but had bought a Little Giant (with auto rotator) like 8 years ago, but didn't even et our first batch of 5 chicks from a local feed store (1 out of 5 turned out to be a boy) until last summer. So, I'm VERY new to livestock, let alone chickens, let alone roosters, let alone incubation.

What I wanted to tell you is that I went through 3 batches, NOT knowing what I was doing, and lost all eggs (7 in total I think) to then getting 100% success--and, all because of finding a couple university papers on "how to increase hatch rate" type study papers. I'll cut to the chase on the magical "recipe" that I concocted, finally, AND, the bonus info that I thought to share, since your situation relates to mine... also, I've been in BYC since we got our first chicks and I've NEVER seen all this info in one spot before, so sharing... So, keep in mind, that I tried all the other "norms" of settings and whatnot, and got ZERO results...

I set my temp at 102 for the entire 21 days. Humidity set and maintained (with TWO hygrometers) at 50% for first 18 days, then set to 75% through hatch. The KEY was that I sprayed off ALL eggs before setting, with hydrogen peroxide. I let them drip off excess before setting, but hydrogen peroxide was KEY. Dollar Tree literally sells the spray bottle hydrogen peroxide. I also sprayed off before using, the insides of the incubator, and would wash my hands before candling the eggs (which I did every day--I read all over that you should not do this, but I DID and had NO problems. When I didn't candle every day with the previous batches, it didn't matter anyway, as I had 100% failure rate--I wanted to track movement and growth of the fetus AND the air cell during incubation, and I didn't keep the eggs outside of the incubator for more than 10 seconds or so each time).

The BONUS info is that I'd also read that eggs can be fertilized IN THE oviduct for up to 4 months. I thought this was a ridiculous fact, until our NEW chicks hatched (4 out of the 9 were hens) and I didn't have the opportunity to rehome the roos until they were 4 months old--then, when the remaining hens laid their eggs for the VERY FIRST TIME, their eggs were fertile--8 weeks AFTER rehoming the roos--and, for a MONTH afterward. The one thing that I can identify is a fertilized egg. So, now I get it, and believe the stats that I'd previously read (from those same university study articles) that it's possible for a hen to produce fertilized eggs well after a roo is not around.

So, I just wanted to give you the tip about the hydrogen peroxide (because it kills the bacteria almost entirely--that causes the infamous "ring of death"), and about the fertile egg longevity in case it relates to your situation to try more eggs to hatch...
 

K0k0shka

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OH OH OH I can so relate to your situation! I had to rehome our beloved Roo Paul (yes, his name) at the beginning of quarantine (we live in the city, can't have roosters) and found a GREAT home for him (I looked for 6 solid months after he revealed himself at 2 months). Anyway, we had 4 hens, burt one died totally unexpectedly the month before rehoming Roo Paul, so I also got the hair to incubate his (obviously fertile) eggs from our remaining 3 hens. I've never done this before, but had bought a Little Giant (with auto rotator) like 8 years ago, but didn't even et our first batch of 5 chicks from a local feed store (1 out of 5 turned out to be a boy) until last summer. So, I'm VERY new to livestock, let alone chickens, let alone roosters, let alone incubation.

What I wanted to tell you is that I went through 3 batches, NOT knowing what I was doing, and lost all eggs (7 in total I think) to then getting 100% success--and, all because of finding a couple university papers on "how to increase hatch rate" type study papers. I'll cut to the chase on the magical "recipe" that I concocted, finally, AND, the bonus info that I thought to share, since your situation relates to mine... also, I've been in BYC since we got our first chicks and I've NEVER seen all this info in one spot before, so sharing... So, keep in mind, that I tried all the other "norms" of settings and whatnot, and got ZERO results...

I set my temp at 102 for the entire 21 days. Humidity set and maintained (with TWO hygrometers) at 50% for first 18 days, then set to 75% through hatch. The KEY was that I sprayed off ALL eggs before setting, with hydrogen peroxide. I let them drip off excess before setting, but hydrogen peroxide was KEY. Dollar Tree literally sells the spray bottle hydrogen peroxide. I also sprayed off before using, the insides of the incubator, and would wash my hands before candling the eggs (which I did every day--I read all over that you should not do this, but I DID and had NO problems. When I didn't candle every day with the previous batches, it didn't matter anyway, as I had 100% failure rate--I wanted to track movement and growth of the fetus AND the air cell during incubation, and I didn't keep the eggs outside of the incubator for more than 10 seconds or so each time).

The BONUS info is that I'd also read that eggs can be fertilized IN THE oviduct for up to 4 months. I thought this was a ridiculous fact, until our NEW chicks hatched (4 out of the 9 were hens) and I didn't have the opportunity to rehome the roos until they were 4 months old--then, when the remaining hens laid their eggs for the VERY FIRST TIME, their eggs were fertile--8 weeks AFTER rehoming the roos--and, for a MONTH afterward. The one thing that I can identify is a fertilized egg. So, now I get it, and believe the stats that I'd previously read (from those same university study articles) that it's possible for a hen to produce fertilized eggs well after a roo is not around.

So, I just wanted to give you the tip about the hydrogen peroxide (because it kills the bacteria almost entirely--that causes the infamous "ring of death"), and about the fertile egg longevity in case it relates to your situation to try more eggs to hatch...
Thanks for taking the time to write this! My problem isn’t in the incubation process though. I’ve incubated eggs before, with great results. The problem this time is that the eggs are just not fertile. The hen wasn’t keen on letting this young cockerel mate, and I guess his attempts were all rebuffed. And I only had her eggs to try with, so there’s that.
 

K0k0shka

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The plot thickens... 2 of the eggs are developing, but not the ones I want ☹️ Two of the extras I put in there to keep mine company, should any hatch. I don’t particularly want to go through the hassle of a winter hatch for just any eggs... the point was to hatch from my boy. So now I’ll have to “kill” them. Ugh. His two eggs still look clear. It’s day 5. I’ll give them 2 more days and toss everything out if his are still clear 😭
 

K0k0shka

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My experiment is officially over. Day 9 of the second batch of eggs today, and my boy's eggs were completely clear. He did not produce a single fertile egg. I wasn't hoping for much, but I have to say, I did not expect a 100% failure rate either... I was hoping he got the job done at least once or twice in all that time, but I guess he didn't. Total disappointment. Two of the extra eggs from the other rooster and his hens did start to develop, but I aborted them because the point of this was to continue my boy's legacy for sentimental reasons, not to hatch chicks in winter just because. I was sad to kill the babies, and they were quite developed - fully chicken-shaped with all their appendages and everything - but I kept reminding myself that I've killed full grown chickens I had bonded to, so this is nothing new or out of the ordinary. I fried them up and fed them to my chickens, so they wouldn't go to waste. Still though... Everything about this experiment has just been sad. I'll order more eggs from my boy's breeder and try again in the spring, and hope to get one or two females to keep. His "sisters" 🥰
 

K0k0shka

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I did not give up after failing to hatch eggs from our beloved cockerel. The family still misses him, so we decided to order more eggs from his breeder and his original flock, and hatch them this spring. That way he'd live on through his siblings. They are in the incubator right now, set to hatch late Friday and into Saturday. If anybody is interested in checking out the hatch thread, it's over here.
 

paloozaparty

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Apr 28, 2020
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My experiment is officially over. Day 9 of the second batch of eggs today, and my boy's eggs were completely clear. He did not produce a single fertile egg. I wasn't hoping for much, but I have to say, I did not expect a 100% failure rate either... I was hoping he got the job done at least once or twice in all that time, but I guess he didn't. Total disappointment. Two of the extra eggs from the other rooster and his hens did start to develop, but I aborted them because the point of this was to continue my boy's legacy for sentimental reasons, not to hatch chicks in winter just because. I was sad to kill the babies, and they were quite developed - fully chicken-shaped with all their appendages and everything - but I kept reminding myself that I've killed full grown chickens I had bonded to, so this is nothing new or out of the ordinary. I fried them up and fed them to my chickens, so they wouldn't go to waste. Still though... Everything about this experiment has just been sad. I'll order more eggs from my boy's breeder and try again in the spring, and hope to get one or two females to keep. His "sisters" 🥰

I found a university study after a 0 percent success with 7 known-fertilized eggs... that concluded that either dunking or spraying fertilized eggs in standard HydrogenPeroxide, RIGHT before you set them in the incubator, significantly increases hatch rate. And, all but eliminates the ring of death--which is caused by bacteria. And, to spray hands with HP if you manually turn your eggs, or any time that you handle the eggs once in incubators--including on day 18 / day you go into lockdown. Same university also did a study about incubator set temperature and humidity--and, that if you set temp to 102 degrees, and maintain 50% humidity, and position eggs either fat-end up or on their sides during the entire incubation period--that the combo of settings will not only actually speed up hatch by up to 2 days, but also will increase hatch rate. I went from 0 to 100%. In case any of this info would affect your process / settings.
 

K0k0shka

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I found a university study after a 0 percent success with 7 known-fertilized eggs... that concluded that either dunking or spraying fertilized eggs in standard HydrogenPeroxide, RIGHT before you set them in the incubator, significantly increases hatch rate. And, all but eliminates the ring of death--which is caused by bacteria. And, to spray hands with HP if you manually turn your eggs, or any time that you handle the eggs once in incubators--including on day 18 / day you go into lockdown. Same university also did a study about incubator set temperature and humidity--and, that if you set temp to 102 degrees, and maintain 50% humidity, and position eggs either fat-end up or on their sides during the entire incubation period--that the combo of settings will not only actually speed up hatch by up to 2 days, but also will increase hatch rate. I went from 0 to 100%. In case any of this info would affect your process / settings.
I don’t see how this is relevant to the thread, but okay.
 

K0k0shka

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If you felt up to the task, it’s easy to manually inseminate the girls. You’d probably want to check out YouTube, but basically if you push on the Roo’s vent he automatically releases his sperm and you can suck it up with an eye dropper and put it in your hens’ vent. Plenty of people who breed extra fuzzy breeds like Cochins have to rely on this form of insemination.
Ew! Also, irrelevant to the thread.
 

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