Help! About to incubate for the 1st time & recevied double the hatching eggs asked for - feeling ov

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by VeggieMinette, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Ok, so let me start by stating that I've fallen in love with English Orpingtons. We have a few breeders in our area but one is dealing with a case of Marek's & has shut down temporarily, the other is really expensive, so I decided to try my hand at buying hatching eggs & I've borrowed an incubator from a friend. (Little Giant still air)

    I ordered 17 total (of 5 different colors) from Papa's Poultry (beautiful beautiful birds!). They generously shipped 35 eggs in total (holy crap!).

    Now I'm panicking! First of all, how do I even use an incubator in the first place (I'm doing my research and working on it). My biggest issue is HOW AM I GOING TO TELL THEM ALL APART ONCE THEY START HATCHING!!!?????? There will be babies EVERYWHERE!

    I have 7 different colors and the eggs are marked but once they hatch, how will I know who is who? It's not the worst problem to have, I know, but I plan on selling the chicks and it would be nice if I am able to know what color they are. Leg bands?

    Confused in California,

    Minette
     
  2. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    15,019
    2,503
    416
    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    First off- using the incubator. Which model of LG do you have? I use the 9200 myself. I can help you with the actual incubating if you'd like and give you the tips and tricks that I have found works for me. As for seperating them. Many people use leg bands and band them as they hatch. Some even sort by fashioning plastic canvas compartents in the bator.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  3. Hi AmyLynn!!!!

    Yes, I believe it's the 9200, but it's not marked anywhere and the person that I borrowed it from doesn't know, either. It's Styrofoam, 2 windows on the top. Little black dial to turn up or lower the temperature. She also gave me the rails & automatic egg turner. It has reservoirs in the bottom Styrofoam piece for water. She gave me a plastic thermometer to place on top of the eggs but nothing to measure humidity. If this is the same as yours, I would LOVE any help/tips that you can provide.

    I'll look into the leg bands. Yes, it's strictly for separating the colors.
     
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    15,019
    2,503
    416
    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    If it has the heating element that runs around the top and isn't digital, then yes, most likely you have the 9200 (which the model number is no where on it that I can find...lol) Which lucky you the 9200 is actually better than the newer digital ones. This is mine:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The last two pics you can see the heating element I am talking about. Mine has had the fan kit installed as well.

    The biggest tip I can give you is have at least 2 independent thermometers that have been checked for accuracy and a hygrometer that has been checked. I lost my first hatch because I bought a new thermometer, never checked it and it ended up being 6 degree off. I now use no less than 2 that are in sync with each other. For still air you do want 101-102 degrees at the top of the eggs. As you can see, I do have the turner. I don't use it any more as I decided I prefer hand turning, but I started out using it the first couple hatches I did. First thing to do is set up the bator, get it running and make sure it holds a steady temp. The adjustment for these bators is very very touchy. A slight turn of the "knob" will have a big effect so when you are adjusting make sure you are going to be there to monitor it to make sure it doesn't spike or dip dramatically after you make the adjustment. I actually wiggle my "knob" slightly and wait and then again if I have to after half an hour. I also leave my vent plugs out for the duration of the incubation/hatch. Many leave them (or one) in until lockdown, others leave both in until day 10 and then remove them for the rest of incubation. Whichever you choose, just make sure they are open at hatch.

    If you are not in a high elevation or very arid climate I suggest using a low humidity incubation method. Low humidity for the first 17 days has gained popularity as hatchers-especially those with styro bators have had more successful hatches running lower than the standard 50-60% that manuals preach. I use this method very successfully: http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com...anuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity

    Now for you, you have lower odds because you are using shipped eggs, and shipped eggs carry a lot more problems than local eggs. Shipped eggs only have an AVERAGE of 50% hatch rates basically because of the handling during shipment. Most people that I know that do shipped eggs candle the egg to check the air cell as one of the major problems with shipped eggs is often detatched air cells and saddle shaped air cells. They let the eggs sit for a full day after recieving them and then if the air cells are loose they set them but don't turn them for the first 2-3 days of incubation. Many people who do shipped eggs incubate upright in cut down cartons and just tilt the cartons 3xs a day for "turning". Theory being because of the stress and damage done to shipped eggs- less is more. If the air cells are large when recieved, low humidity incubation in the first week or so may not be the best thing and going by the air cells will be your guidline. @RubyNala97 has done her share of shipped eggs and can give you her experiences and she's also done a lot of research on the subject of hatching shipped eggs.

    And there are many of us willing to help along the course of incubation too if you hit a snag or have a question that hasn't been answered for you.
     
  5. Guyswithchicks

    Guyswithchicks Out Of The Brooder

    67
    10
    40
    Sep 28, 2015
    Hey.... I have only recently rejoined byc after a long break. I have been breeding and hatching chickens for years and in reading your post there are a couple of suggestions I could make.
    It is important that you have all the equipment you are going to need before you start incubating. At least two calibrated thermometers, a hygrometer to measure relative humidity inside the incubator and I also have one for outside the machine. Incidentally I believe the one outside is more important because I dry hatch eggs.
    I would suggest that you run the incubator for as long as it takes to stabilise it.
    Eggs that have been shipped need to stand for a while. You never know how they have been treated during transit and so they need to settle. If I can I pay extra to have them overnight courier. But New Zealand is a bit smaller than USA... [​IMG].
    Over the years I have learnt not to worry too much but I once was a huge fiddler and my partner used to say it would be less trouble if I made a nest and sat on them myself. Anyway I do check the eggs twice a day.
    In terms of keeping the eggs separate I have used small plastic cages once Lockdown is in place. The chick's hatch in these and don't mix.
    I hope this is a start for you.
     
  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to give all of this info! Yes, I have that exact incubator.

    The eggs were shipped from Northern California to me in Southern California, so it was only an overnight trip (hopefully this helps!). I opened the box last night after picking up from my post office on the way home from work. I unwrapped all of the eggs and they are sitting in egg cartons on my counter small side down. I plugged in the incubator around the same time & fidgeted with the temp dial (indeed VERY sensitive) until it stayed at a pretty consistent 101/102.

    I will take the advice of both you & "Guyswithchicks" (Love the name!) and pick up 2 more thermometers and a hygrometer on my way home tonight. I was planning on setting the eggs tonight around 8pm.

    I would candle them if I knew what to look for, honestly! As I said, I'm a complete newbie at hatching and I'm hoping for the best. I will look at some tutorials on candling and try tonight before setting them. I noticed that most everyone draws pencil lines where the airsac seems to be. I will attempt to do the same.

    As far as the humidity goes, do you have purple sponges in the bator with the hatching chicks?

    Thanks again~ You are AWESOME!!!
     
  7. Your comment about building a nest is making me laugh! I've given that some thought, trust me! I am trying not to fiddle too much, either, but I don't want to be too ignorant about the process & it was just a waste.

    Some of my reply to AmyLynn was addressed to you, as well, if you want to read it. I really appreciate your information :)

    I'll keep you posted - wish me luck!
     
  8. Guyswithchicks

    Guyswithchicks Out Of The Brooder

    67
    10
    40
    Sep 28, 2015
    I do wish you all the best. It is always an exciting time and I never cease to be amazed at the process of incubation.
    Be prepared for the incubator to take time to get back up to temp once you put the eggs in. The eggs have to absorb the warmth so don't be in a huge hurry to fiddle with the temp.
    Try and establish the humidity before you put eggs in. It will help to establish the existing humidity. If it was between 35% and 45% I wouldn't add any water at all. That is with the vents open.
    Anyway you have three weeks to go so plenty of time to tweak. Temperature stability is more important than humidity and lower humidity is more important than higher humidity during the first 18 days.
     
  9. Great information! I thank you very much!
     
  10. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

    15,019
    2,503
    416
    Oct 11, 2014
    Gouverneur, NY
    Yes, I use sponges for humidity. The first 17 days if the bator stays above 25% (humidity) dry I run totally dry. If it does not stay above 25% w/o water I will add a sponge and it usually keeps it right around 30% which is what I prefer. At lockdown I use 75% humidity as I am a major meddler. I remove my chicks as they become active and take out the shells and I assist if I feel it's necessary. To do this safely and keep my humidity adequate I use a higher amount of humidity and the sponges at lockdown help do that plus if my humidity drops due to opening it is very easy to grab out a sponge wet it (I keep a gallon of water by the bator) and stick it back in there to quickly regain my humidity. (At lockdown I also fill the water wells underneath and an extra bowl under the screen as well as add the sponges.)

    Totally agree. The temp will make you or break you right from the beginning. The humidity is most important as an average so that the egg looses adequate moisture and the air cells grow enough, but a drop or spike will not compromise the hatch if your average is over the incubation is good.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by