Hatching for display at the county fair

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
5,379
213
303
North/Central Florida
I have been tasked with providing the hatching eggs for an incubation display for my 4-H club at our county's fair coming up in April. The idea is that I'll incubate them at the house until about day twenty then carry them to the fairgrounds (only about eight miles away) then set them in one of the Styrofoam incubators from the county extension office that will serve as the actual hatcher.

The fair itself runs from April 7th-10th (Thursday through Sunday). I reckon they'll get their most people on that Friday and Saturday so that's when I'd want the most eggs to be hatching. Usually in my box the show is largely over and done in 48-60 hours with most of them out within the first twenty four hours. With this in mind I figure to set about half the eggs on March 19th and the other half on March 20th to try to spread things out a bit. This will mean running up the humidity on the second set about twelve to eighteen hours early but I suspect this shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'll leave the chicks in the box at the fair as long as I can since they won't be going very far once I take them out and the weather should be pretty warm by then.

I've never done this before. Ordinarily I would not transport eggs at that point, but it's the only way I can think to make this work because we can't do the whole incubation there. Does anyone see any problems that I'm not seeing?
 
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Gypsy07

Songster
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
2,286
66
193
Glasgow, Scotland
I assume you'll have the fair's hatcher-bator up and running and temp checked for 24-48 hrs before transfer day? I was wondering if you might be better doing the whole incubation in the same bator? So you could just carry the whole bator to the fair and plug it back in. If you only have eight miles to travel it should all keep temp pretty well. Might be easier than swapping all the eggs over. Just a thought...

BTW, it all sounds like a very exciting project. if your chicks start to hatch out on schedule I imagine yours will be the most popular stall at the whole fair. Good luck with it! And better pray they don't run on till day 24 or you'll just be a great big let down. LOL!

Do you normally have a pretty good hatch rate?
 

happyhensny

Brown Barns Farm
11 Years
Sep 23, 2008
2,939
18
221
near Albany, New York
At our local fair they hatch every year. The person that does it starts them at home and the fair has a big, custom made hatcher with a huge plexiglass top. After they hatch there a small brooder to put them in. He also orders chicks from a hatchery and at the end of the fair give them to the 4-h kids to take home. The ordered chicks go into the "Chick Follies", 4 different handmade amusement rides. One is a ferris wheel that spins with feed on each seat for the chicks to ride on, another is a scrambler type. Pretty nice guy and neat set up.
 

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
5,379
213
303
North/Central Florida
Quote:
Yes, typically in the 85-90% range with my Dickey at home.
I was wondering if you might be better doing the whole incubation in the same bator? So you could just carry the whole bator to the fair and plug it back in. If you only have eight miles to travel it should all keep temp pretty well. Might be easier than swapping all the eggs over. Just a thought...

The extension office will be using one of their Styrofoam incubators for the actual hatching at the fair. I've never used one before and seeing as how the resulting hatch will be so public I'd rather not try them for the first time under those conditions.
I assume you'll have the fair's hatcher-bator up and running and temp checked for 24-48 hrs before transfer day?

Yes, I'll pick up the extension office box a few days in advance. Take it home to make sure everything is working properly then take it to the fairgrounds about a day before I take the eggs over to give it time to come back up to temperature and settle down before I put the almost-ready-to-hatch eggs in.
BTW, it all sounds like a very exciting project. if your chicks start to hatch out on schedule I imagine yours will be the most popular stall at the whole fair.

I suspect it will be too which is why I'm nervous about this. At home I'd have no qualms, but this seems fraught with potential to go wrong...​
 

Minniechickmama

Senora Pollo Loco
10 Years
Sep 4, 2009
7,135
703
391
Minnesota
I set 100 eggs last year for our fair. I have two incubators, a Brower Top Hatch and a Hovabator 1602N. I took my incubators down with the eggs because the set up they have wasn't the best for hatching, per se. I am not sure how it was done in the past, the fellow who used to do it died about 5 years ago. So, I just took them down (about 3 miles) just before fair started and they were staggered enough to start hatching the first day and then throughout the fair (5 days). I ran into a problem with a couple of things 1.) It was our hottest fair since 1947 and I thought for sure the chicks were going to cook in their shells, so I had to constantly check on them; and 2.) I had a rotten one that exploded about the 3rd day and ruined about 40 eggs. I still hatched 45 or so and things worked okay. I am building a cabinet style incubator/hatcher that I will take down this year (In August). I have looked over AL6517's page on building a cabinet style bator and will be putting it together this summer before fair.
If you are transporting them, I suggest taking them down in the incubators they are in and making sure they don't get rolled around or a jostled. If you are going to put them in the hatcher that is there, make sure you have it up and running and have it regulated for humidity and temp (shouldn't be too hard there in FLA
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), a couple of days ahead of time so you aren't trying to mess with that once you have the eggs there.
At ours, there is a separate case/brooder set up that the top is acrylic and can be raised for kids to hold the chicks and see them easily enough, but the chicks are comfortable and can be fed and watered easily too. Then the last day, I sell them for $1 a piece. Last year they were pretty much all mixed breeds, but this year, I will have plenty of purebred chicks for the 4-Her's to get on the cheep, I mean cheap.
A word of caution, smell each egg before lock down
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I know I will not forget that step again.
Good luck.
 

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
5,379
213
303
North/Central Florida
Quote:
I've seen a similar such hatcher at the Florida state fair. I'd love to see photos of this fella's set up.
Quote:
That's something to think about. Weather here that time of year is always a toss-up. I'll have to keep an eye on the forecast.
and 2.) I had a rotten one that exploded about the 3rd day and ruined about 40 eggs.[

My box has become a part of our living room furniture. I live in fear of a rotten egg exploding inside so we're for sure going to candle at day 10 and 19 to eliminate those. My wife would throw me and the incubator out the door if I filled the house will rotten egg stink!
If you are transporting them, I suggest taking them down in the incubators they are in and making sure they don't get rolled around or a jostled.

I'll pack them in egg cartons which will go into a pre-warmed insulated box for the trip to keep thermal shock to a minimum.
At ours, there is a separate case/brooder set up that the top is acrylic and can be raised for kids to hold the chicks and see them easily enough, but the chicks are comfortable and can be fed and watered easily too.

I hadn't planned on brooding the chicks there, but it's certainly worth thinking about. At least a few anyway. Should be easy enough to set up something.
Then the last day, I sell them for $1 a piece. Last year they were pretty much all mixed breeds, but this year, I will have plenty of purebred chicks for the 4-Her's to get on the cheep, I mean cheap.

There's an idea.​
 

Gypsy07

Songster
9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
2,286
66
193
Glasgow, Scotland
Well, it sounds like you've got everything carefully planned out. I can't think of anything else! Except maybe you could get yourself a secret box of day-old chicks and broken eggshells so that if it does all go tits up due to some unforeseen disaster, you could pull a quick "Oooh look, what's that over there?" and sneakily stuff some chicks and shell pieces in the bator while no-one's looking. Just to avoid disappointment, you know... LOL!
 

rebelcowboysnb

Confederate Money Farm
11 Years
Nov 14, 2008
14,674
665
368
Independent State of Dade NWGa
I would set a few eggs every 12 hours all 4 days with most being set Saturday an Sunday. I would then get the hatchers to my house an plug them in an have them set. Put the eggs in them at home an drive them there plugged in to a power inverter. That way they don't get cold that late in the hatch an you can have everything set before hatch time.
 

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