Gonna try Incubating


5 Years
Sep 28, 2014
I lost my favorite BO, and realized I still had a dozen of her eggs left in the fridge. I also only have two chickens left, and feel like they are rather lonely. So I'm on a quest to try hatching some chicks before these eggs go bad. My other chickens are RIR's, which I think are ugly compared to BO's, still I'm gonna put a few fresh RIR eggs in the bater too.

So I've been doing some research, and I think the basics are pretty easy--rotate eggs, candle once a week, lockdown at 18 days (and add humidity). I'm not aiming for a high success rate, just experimenting more than anything.

My concern is not whether I can hatch chicks, but how difficult it will be to keep them alive over the winter here in Indiana. I will keep them in the outbuilding, and I've got two large dog crates, but I'm still worried they would go stir crazy without being able to go outside. If anyone has any experience with this sort of thing, I'd be interested to know how it worked out.
I raise my chicks in the house until 6-8 weeks depending on the weather and my tolerance for teenagers in the kitchen. lol

THey must have a heat source like a heat lamp-- you can raise them in the barn if they have 2 heat lamps in case one fails.

As for incubating, please be sure to understand how to candle and monitor the moisture levels of your incubator and understand the need to candle at days 7, 14 and 18 so that you can adjust the moisture levels in the incuator. THis can mean success or failure. Truley.

I dry incubate my eggs generally but monitor the size of he air cell and add moisture if necessary. TIme of year and natural moisture levels affect my LG so I do watch the eggs closely. ANd turn them often, the more the better; but dont fret if you mis a turn.

Good luck. I like my BO too.
Keeping them alive shouldn't be much more of an issue now than getting chicks in Feb or March. Brood them with a heat lamp, so they have a warm place available but most of their living space is ambient temp. Once they're feathered, around 6 weeks, pull the heat lamp. This also depends on how many chicks you have. If only 1-2, they'll need some supplemental heat as there's not enough to snuggle well. More than that and they should be able to keep each other nicely warm, as long as they're dry and out of the wind. They don't have to stay indoors, my birds have the run of the run (ya like that?) all the time. I get mine outside asap. Only problem I see is keeping the older hens from picking on them while they're little. You may need a separate enclosure, or an enclosure within the current run.
The resurrection of my BO (xRIR) has begun! I picked up a water heater thermostat at the hardware store for $8 and built a bator in about an hour. Spent another hour or so dialing it in (most of that time figuring out that the thermostat shouldn't be mounted to the wall of the bator the normal way, since it reads heat from the back). I have a 110v fan, so I just wired it with the light. Humidity is at 45, temp is at 100F, and all looks well! I even put a straw through the wall to syringe water in in case I need to raise humidity without opening the lid. I have 9 eggs total, and I'm hoping for about 50% hatch rate, but wouldn't be disappointed with less necessarily (more concerned about keeping whatever does hatch alive).

My fan is quite large, so I'm worried about it drying everything out. And it isn't blowing on the thermostat or the eggs directly because I'm afraid it would lower the reading. So hopefully the ambient temperature will not be skewed too badly. I'm mostly just unclear about where to set the eggs in relation to the light, and hot/cold spots, such as under the light or near the fan.
Last edited:
You are doing great!!

I have built one home made cooler bator and it works well enough . . .

fan on thermometer should not alter reading.

use several thermometers to get the range of temps

move the eggs around to decrease the effect of high or low areas

track the humidity near the eggs

make a print out of the development of the air cells at day 7th, 14th and 18th --- and candle those eggs. I start at day 5 because if the egg already matches day 7, then the RH needs increasing. Otherwise recheck at day 7 and if air cell is too small find a way to reduce the RH. Does this make sense???
The fan I have is weird. I should probably get a smaller one and just plug a separate wire for it, but...you know, global warming et al. Anyways, I'm getting drastically different temperatures throughout the bator, anywhere from 109 under the light, to 91 at the opposite side. I've been trying to put the thermometer down where the eggs are, but I really need multiple thermometers, and I think this digital thermometer is just crap, and might have already ruined my first go.
IT takes practice using a homemade incubator to get good results. I applaud your effort to try to save those last eggs.

Try to keep the eggs in the area that is 100.

THe right size fan, the right size light bulb, the location and angels of everything plays a part. Kudos to you for giving it a whirl-- you might still have some success you wont know until 25 days-- yay 25 incase any are late.
What I did was move the thermostat in with the eggs, and it is set to 99. I have the fan blowing directly on the bulb now, and while it isn't ideal, it seems to be much better. I keep my digital thermometer off to the side of the furthest egg, and it measures from 91-95 most of the time, but I'm fairly confident the eggs are all between 97-100 most of the time now. My second candling is next weekend, so I guess I'll know if I did a total crap job by then.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom