Hi from Connecticut - first time hatcher

Patti77

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
9
0
9
Hi everyone,
I have periodically landed on some of the posts from this site and they were great. so when I decided I wanted to try to hatch some baby chicks I knew right where to turn and decided to join up. Now that I did I'm so glad, what a great site, much more than I expected.

We are not new to chickens, I had them as a kid and we have had them now for almost 20 years (though my husband has always been the primary care taker). We actually had chicks hatch once before, many years ago, but that was totally because of the beautiful bantam chicken we had at that time. we did nothing that I can recall.

So right now we have nine adult chickens, 4 roosters and 5 hens. Our roosters are the prettiest we've ever had, they are some specials I got last year, standard cochins, 2 polish (1 female, 1 male), 1 buff, 2 black (not sure what breed they are), a small cochin, and a new hampshire?(brown chicken). I also have 6 chicks just under a month old (not ones that I hatched). these are standard breeds except for a silkie and 2 polish.

I am new to hatching chicks in an incubator. I have build my own still incubator and have gone over 21 days. I didn't learn about candling till about day 22 so I didn't get to see what they looked like. However, I opened one of the eggs just recently and it was a full grown chick, not alive, that did not smell either. Reading some posts on here it looks like I did good when I started with the humidity but then I raised it (for the last three days) and it's probably way too high (60-65%) for the 'younger' eggs.

So I have two main questions right now, and a couple others.
1) I have my own fertilized eggs so I get one or two per day. So I have eggs staggered as to when they will hatch. I'm thinking I'll make a second incubator just for hatching, that is the only way I can mange the humidity, one will have to have low humidity and the other high. How do others manage this. I saw something about "Setting" a clutch. Can someone maybe tell me about that and what that means?

2)If I had the high humidity for 7 days and I now lower the humidity, can I save the the eggs I just started about 7 days ago?

3)I've read the large end of the egg must be raised, is that a game changer? because of the floor on my homemade bator some may not be periodically

4)I work so I only get to turn them 2-3 times a day, is that enough?

Looking forward to looking around and talking with you all.
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You might checkout and post in the Incubating And Hatching Eggs forum for more help www.backyardchickens.com/f/5/incubating-amp-hatching-eggs
Not sure if you have seen it, but this is a great article from the Learning Center on hatching eggs, covers a lot. www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101

A lot of people have one incubator for incubating and another for hatching, for the reasons you mentioned, works really well especially for split hatches.

You do not have to set eggs the day they are laid, you can collect them for about ten days without losing much hatch% (some will actually be viable for 3 weeks or better, but hatch % goes down with age), that is what most people do (and probably what was referred to as setting a clutch). Hatching Eggs do need to be stored correctly to have the best chance of hatching, Brinsea has a nice article on it http://www.brinsea.com/customerservice/storage.html

Yes, you can lower the humidity on the remaining eggs in an effort to get the aircells where they should be, you may be able to save them, depends on where they are at. A lot of people do a "dry" incubation, you may want to check out that article in the Learning Center.

The large end should naturally be more or less up if the eggs are laid flat, if you have them incubating in cartons they should be big side up, if your incubator has uneven floor you want the eggs large side up as much as possible, especially when they are in lockdown so the chick has a chance to position and hatches correctly. It won't hurt them to be small side up occasionally during incubation (a mother hen doesn't check them every minute to see who is where) but you don't want to incubate them big side down and definitely not try to hatch.

They recommend turning eggs at least three times a day, there are a lot of studies and not turning enough will affect hatch rates (check out the Hatching Eggs 101 article for links). But you do what you can do if you simply can't turn them more often, it just isn't ideal.

You might also like to check out the BYC Learning Center, lots of good articles on all aspects of chicken keeping. https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center And it is always fun to check out your state thread for chicken keeping neighbors https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/55/connecticut
 

Patti77

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
9
0
9
Wow, what great information! thank you so much. I will definitely check out the links you reference. I have read parts of the learning area but still have alot to go. Thanks for the info on setting I couldn't find a good explanation of that.

I just checked some of my eggs that are past the 23 day mark, they look fully formed but I see no movement so I guess I'm going to toss them.. I candled some of the remaining ones and they look formed but I don't see any movement. Now I'm discouraged. I will clean out the incubator and keep going with the remaining eggs. I think the second incubator will help as you say. I'll start collecting for a new clutch.

So just to be clear, as I collect the eggs, say for 5 days, I can keep them at room temp then put them all in the incubator at once? then I would lock them all down on the same day even though they were laid on different days?

Thanks so much again.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
40,882
61,404
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BYC!


Kelsie has really set you on a good path with the links and the knowledge! So all I will do is wish you luck with your hatch and welcome you to our flock!
 

Kelsie2290

Free Ranging
Premium member
8 Years
Feb 18, 2011
36,683
4,863
556
Ohio
Sorry about the hatch. Humidity is one of the hardest things to get right, too high is worse than a little too low.
If you have trouble candling eggs, you might want to try weighing them as explained in the articles. It is really helpful if you are setting dark colored eggs.

The eggs won't start to develop when they are stored at the cooler temperatures recommended, so all the eggs are the "same" age when they are set and should hatch in about the same time frame (there are studies that older eggs do take a little longer to hatch but it is a matter of hours) Nice article on the effects of temperature on hatching/incubating eggs http://www.brinsea.com/customerservice/poweroff.html

So...Yes, you can collect your eggs for five days. Ideally you want to tilt/turn them once a day or so, store them around 55-60*, and around 75% humidity (to keep them from drying out before storage) a lot of people don't bother with the humidity if only a few days ... one fairly easy way of doing all that is to put the eggs in an egg carton, and tilt the egg carton a couple of times a day (put like a piece of 2x4 under an end and just switch), keep the egg carton in a cool place, basement, closet etc. Hatching Eggs are fairly forgiving so even if everything isn't ideal most of them will still be fine... there are some threads on BYC where people have bought fertile eggs out of grocery stores like Trader Joes and managed to hatch chicks.
 

Patti77

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
9
0
9
Thanks everyone for the hello and best wishes. This is my first forum I've ever really been a part of. I work with computers all day and it seems when I get home I only have time for housework.

And thanks Kelsie for the great info. I'll post when I get some movement or chicks.
 

Patti77

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
9
0
9
Hi everyone, Heres an Update: I have had two hatchlings!!! (I'm so excited) after losing my first clutch of about 8. I now have another homemade incubator. I have discovered that lining the bottom with newspaper and getting it slightly damp helps to even out the humidity so there are no big ups and downs when I open the lid. My first was quite a waiting game and my second (just a couple hours ago) seems to have a problem with her leg, I've posted and hope to get some help. It looks like one leg she cannot move like the other. I'm not sure if I should touch her or not. I've been reading about spadle leg but it doesn't look like that though maybe the same treatment will help. Suggestions are welcome.
 
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