First time incubating! 11yr olds 4H project...any advice?

featheredmom

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 5, 2012
79
2
41
Well, my daughter set us up well this year in 4H, as a middle schooler, projects become more difficult(did I mention this is her first year of 4H and she chose a "difficult" project?-that's my daughter).

She is raising ducks, bantams, fancies(top hats that appear mostly polish), egg layers, and hatching eggs...yeah mom! We get to compare and see the difference in laying times, feathering, growth, etc. It is actually an interesting project, just very involved for her age-good thing we have acreage and she has a tolerant mom who's willing to help ;-)

Well, our 24 egg assortment from MPC arrives this week, we are borrowing an incubator from my father in law who has only used it for guinea chicks and has had mixed success(he's previously hatched many others in homemade incubators and with broodys, but this incubators success-or these guinea's success has been about 50/50).

If anyone has any tips for us, they would be well received. I will have my daughter following the thread as well as she is trying to do everything "right"...she's read all the books ;-) We have learned quite a bit from this site already...her chicks are now drinking ACV water ;-)

Good thing my 3rd grader is less ambitious(and the clover bud projects less involved), he only has to raise a chick, any chick-LOL.

Thanks for any help!!
 

phoenix912

Songster
8 Years
Jan 7, 2012
288
1
101
Indiana
More info on the make, type of incubator will help us answer better. Is it forced air or still air? Where do you have it set up? Do you have a thermometer and hygrometer? Are you going to try a dry hatch or wet hatch?
 

featheredmom

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 5, 2012
79
2
41
WOW-you have proven just how little I know on this subject ;-) It took some time to get all the information together(sorry). We just picked up the incubator tonight.

The incubator is a Still Air observation Hovabator. It has an included thermometer, I do not have a hygrometer, but if I need one, I will get one, where would I do so?

I was planning on doing a wet hatch(I had to look this up) on the advice of my FIL, it is winter here and we are running our heater, so the ambient air will be quite dry. If it was summer, I might have a different answer, but I believe we are best doing wet(unless someone has other advice for us).

I set the incubator up between the kitchen and living room so it would not get drafty from the front door, plus the kitchen and living room are the warmest rooms in the house so that should help avoid any temp changes during egg turning. My FIL HAD the egg turner, but said it did not work properly so he suggested I manually turn eggs as he did with his 2nd and 3rd hatches(I guess the 1st with the turner did not hatch a single egg, he deduced that it was the turner because it wasn't gentle and would sometimes do a "full turn" rather than a partial as well as often being inconsistent with turning times).

We have set up a chart for egg turning so it doesn't get repeated and the eggs stay in one place too long(the kids will be in school and asleep at night so those are my shifts and the kids will turn them 4P-9P), I read every 4hrs is about right...is this correct?

Just want to make sure we have the best chance for chicky success! Its a great learning experience for my children as well as a great 4H project...and we get babies out of the deal :)

After everything Ive read, I REALLY wish we had a broody hen!! I never realized how much went into successfully hatching an egg, those hens are something!!
 

MarineCorpFarmr

Songster
7 Years
Mar 9, 2012
1,767
37
153
AL/TN Stateline
My Coop
My Coop
WOW-you have proven just how little I know on this subject ;-) It took some time to get all the information together(sorry). We just picked up the incubator tonight.

The incubator is a Still Air observation Hovabator. It has an included thermometer, I do not have a hygrometer, but if I need one, I will get one, where would I do so?

Get a digital thermometer, dont rely on what came with it

I was planning on doing a wet hatch(I had to look this up) on the advice of my FIL, it is winter here and we are running our heater, so the ambient air will be quite dry. If it was summer, I might have a different answer, but I believe we are best doing wet(unless someone has other advice for us).

I set the incubator up between the kitchen and living room so it would not get drafty from the front door, plus the kitchen and living room are the warmest rooms in the house so that should help avoid any temp changes during egg turning. My FIL HAD the egg turner, but said it did not work properly so he suggested I manually turn eggs as he did with his 2nd and 3rd hatches(I guess the 1st with the turner did not hatch a single egg, he deduced that it was the turner because it wasn't gentle and would sometimes do a "full turn" rather than a partial as well as often being inconsistent with turning times).

turners usually work fine, and prevent having to open the incubator nearly as often

We have set up a chart for egg turning so it doesn't get repeated and the eggs stay in one place too long(the kids will be in school and asleep at night so those are my shifts and the kids will turn them 4P-9P), I read every 4hrs is about right...is this correct?

3-4 times a day is all they need. more then that and again youll be losing alot more heat. You could also use egg trays ans turn by hand, again making the open time as short as possible.

A broody hen gets off the nest a few times a day to do her thing, and for those few minutes the eggs are fine, but remember your incubator is using warm air to warm the eggs, not a warm hen
 

phoenix912

Songster
8 Years
Jan 7, 2012
288
1
101
Indiana
You can get a thermometer hygrometer combo from walmart. Even with adding water I would still try to keep the humidity around 30 to 40%. If you go to high on the humidity the first 18 days you can drown the chicks before they hatch. Do a search on airsac charts and how to candle. Hand turning isn't to bad. Just be careful not to drop any. Read up on this site you can find lots of good info. When in doubt do a search. If you cant find what you need just ask.
 

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