Experimenting with my Little Giant bator

Lynn725

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
41
2
24
Kentucky
Ok, so some of you know I'm not exactly new at raising chickens, but I'm no where near being a pro at it, either. I've been around them all of my life because my Dad has been into raising them as far back as I can remember. He used to raise pheasants, too, and even had his favorite pair of them stuffed when they died.
Dad stopped raising them and I got to missing them something awful. So I started the "business" back up, bought my TSC chicks, (who are all 6 doing wonderfully, btw!!) and built my coop. The chicken population has expanded and I couldn't be happier with everything I've done. The one thing I was missing was experiencing incubation. I've been around bators my whole life, and I know how they work, know all about the temps, humidity, all that jazz. I've just never really done it myself. Dad's always been the operator, and he'd yell for me to come look when we had a pip or a hatch. It was fun to watch them, but I wasn't ever allowed to touch anything.
I went into my Dad's storage building, pulled out and dusted off his old Hovabator, only to find out something's horribly wrong with it. The temp is staying ridiculously high! We've determined it needs a new thermostat. I remember him having decent hatch rates years ago with it, so I figure something's gotten screwed up during being banged around in storage by other things or what have you. Being EXTREMELY impatient, I went and bought a new Little Giant Still Air. My best friend has one and she's been getting decent hatch results, so I figure, why not, right? (We are going to fix the Hovabator, so we can have two).
I set the new bator up, regulated the temp over night, put water in it, etc. I've got 13 eggs in there right now; 1 banty, 6 RIRs, 3 Leghorns, 1 Columbian Rock, 1 Australorp, and 1 mystery egg (I put it in there for fun, because I'm not sure which hen laid it).
I'm not really going anywhere with this, other than I just thought I would share it with everyone. I'll keep yuns updated as much as I can, if I don't forget or something. I've got the worst memory ever, lol.
 

ky chicken mom

In the Brooder
6 Years
Good Morning...I thought i would see how your doing with the brooder and eggs...i guess we all have outside catch up chores to do...I know I do...I had 1 chick die the other day it was kind of expected...the little cross beak..I will hopefully get my 15 babies tomorrow...or next Tuesday at the latest...I know you live close to me in louisville...this past weekend watching my 8 week old chicks I think but am not sure I have a few too many well summer roos I cant remember if it was you or another person wanting a couple more roos...anyway on the 19th they will be 3 months and ready to go out...If your interested in them I think there are 2 more than i need...you are welcome to have 1 or both...Im going on what I have read that 1 roo per every 8-10 hens...they are from npip ...TTYL...have a great morning
 

Lynn725

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
41
2
24
Kentucky
My little Droopy died. I was expecting that, as well. Then, I bought some more chicks and had a few of those to die. I expected that, too. I'll buy anywhere from 5-10 of them at a time because I know I'll lose at least one, it happens. I just don't think the people I've been buying my chicks from have taken the measures to ensure their health...idk.
I appreciate the offer on the roos, but I have entirely too many roos right now
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I honestly think I have more than I can eat this year, haha.
I have 40 eggs in my bator right now. I actually ended up buying another bator to use as a hatcher. I will be transferring about 10 eggs to the hatcher tomorrow evening for lockdown! The first clutch is due to hatch on Friday, so let's say a small prayer that everything works out just fine!
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Everyone seems to be developing well, growing, moving, etc.
We're going back to London tomorrow morning to the stock sale, to get a few turkey chicks. They'll be quite yummy come Thanksgiving and Christmas, lol.
Thanks for your interest and for checking up on us!
 

Lynn725

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
41
2
24
Kentucky
***UPDATE***
I did not get my turkey chicks, for the record. There is not a single turkey baby for a million miles when I decide I want some.
Anyway...
I currently have 14 eggs in the hatcher. I'm conducting an experiment of sorts, because I have heard so many different opinions on lockdown. The biggest thing is opening your bator during lockdown. I've heard you can open it no more than once a day, that you should never open it, and that you can open it all you want. Idk. I'm kinda on the fence about it, to be honest. You hear so much, you just don't know what to believe. I figure I'll see what works for me, and everyone else can do what works for them. Fair? Alright then.
So on 5/14, I transferred 11 eggs to my hatcher at 7pm. On 5/15, I transferred 1 egg to my hatcher at 7pm. Today, 5/16, I transferred 2 eggs to my hatcher at 7pm. Tomorrow, I will transfer 2 more eggs at 7pm.
Today, I have very active, rocking, peeping and pecking eggs. I have two pipped, they did so within about an hour of each other. Things are happening fast right now. The peeping is so loud, it's like we have hatched chicks in the house already! The first batch of 11 is due to hatch tomorrow. We'll see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed that this transferring eggs each day works out and everyone comes out healthy & happy.
Oh, also, I'm talking to my eggs. Yes, you read right. I'm talking to them and peeping back at them. Every time I talk to them, they rock. Good sign? Or just a sign of a crazy chicken lady?
 

Lynn725

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
41
2
24
Kentucky
***UPDATE***
I personally think talking to them worked wonders.
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I have 3 rambunctious chicks this morning! Two more are fighting to work their way out of their shells, that I can see. It's kinda dark in there and I don't want to blind my babies with the flashlight, so visuals are limited for the moment. That is the one thing I really hate about a Hovabator--the windows are so very tiny, unlike the large display windows on my LG. But, I felt like the Hovabator needed to be the hatcher, considering it's taller, keeping the coils further above the chicks, and also, I was able to put extra bowls of water in there with sponges. The height allowed me to put taller bowls in there that my babies wouldn't fall into and drown. So, all in all, I'm very grateful for my Hovabator hatcher. It's serving its purpose truly well.
So, obviously, opening the hatcher once a day to add eggs has not affected my chicks (as of yet/knock on wood!!). Of course, I have only been opening it just wide enough to fit my hand in there with an egg. This evening, at 7pm (I choose 7pm because that is the last time I turn my eggs in the bator. I just go ahead and transfer what is due at last turning), I'm going to have to open it a little wider for three different reasons. First reason, I'll have to add another egg, of course. I thought I had two to add today, but no, just one. Second reason, I'll have to clear out the eggshells & any completely dry chickies and move them to the brooder. And third reason, I'm going to have to add water to keep up my humidity.
Also, I've just been winging it with the humidity. I have three tall bowls full of water, two of them have sponges in them. I can't get my hygrometer to tell the truth. It said 50-52% with just two bowls of water, and when I added another bowl, it changed to 40%. Idk. I'm going to pretend one full bowl is 25%, two full bowls are 50% & three full are somewhere around 75%. That just makes sense to me, even if it might be wrong.
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Ok, whoever is reading this (I know of at least one person, Miss KY Chicken Mom!!!), I'm going to try to update every time something changes, so watch for me! haha. Keep your fingers (and toes!) crossed that my babies continue to hatch!
OH, and that they don't contract coccidiosis...I lost 4 to that last week. Spent one full day sanitizing EVERYTHING. It was tiring, but so worth it for my babies. I do believe my efforts saved lives!
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Lynn725

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
41
2
24
Kentucky
Five chicks out and chirping....several more still pipping!
Took the two driest chicks out and put them into the brooder. Everybody seems happy.
 

Lynn725

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 21, 2013
41
2
24
Kentucky
***UPDATE***
Went out to my broody hen this morning to check on her progress and out popped a little puff of black squirmy fuzz. He's currently resting with his big brothers and sisters in the brooder box I made. Took the other two hatched chicks from my hatcher and put them in there as well. Everybody's getting along well.
As for my eggs, 6 of the initial 11 have not pipped. Some of them I suspected may have been quitters late in development, because the eggs never rocked (4 of them, and they are all brown eggs, hard to see in candling) and the other 2 are very large leghorn eggs which rocked the first day I put them in there, but have stopped. Haven't seen any movement out of them since yesterday morning. Is it possible they may have suffered injury from being knocked around by their hatched siblings? The 5 of them were pretty darn rough on the eggs. If they haven't hatched by Tuesday, out they come and eggtopsies will follow. Also, they were along the sides of the bator. I've noticed that the ones in the middle all hatched while those close to the sides have not.
The one that was due to hatch today pipped yesterday, but one of the hatchlings knocked it upside down. Since one of the hatchlings had pipped at the bottom of the egg and it survived just fine, I left it be. No movement since yesterday.
One due tomorrow has pipped today already, no movement from the other since I put it in the hatcher.
Another note I wanted to add is that 9 eggs from my first clutch (supposed to have hatched yesterday) were from someone else's chickens, and they had been stored at room temperature for about a week before I received them and placed them in the incubator. The other two were from my own chickens and I put them in the incubator within just a few hours of them being laid. Both of my eggs hatched, and only three of the others did. Coincidence? Or is it possible that the others may have been weakened due to long storage before incubating?
 
Valley Hatchery

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