Hi I am very new to this board...and have tons of questions about

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Starla, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. Starla

    Starla Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 20, 2009
    incubating eggs.

    Someone gave me an incubator without directions. I have never done this before and would love to hatch some of my houdan eggs!

    Can someone help me?

    it is a hova-bator and I think it is really old. it has a fan and a turner in it.

    I turned it on the see if everything worked, and it does. It has been on and set at 99 for the past few hours. I have taken my eggs out of the frig. and they are now at room temp.

    What do I do next??? does it matter which way I put the eggs in? like, pointy side down or up?

    Sorry for so many questions...but I have no clue what I am doing!!!

    Thanks!
     
  2. KDbeads

    KDbeads Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2009
    East Central VA
  3. Starla

    Starla Out Of The Brooder

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    the eggs are from my chickens and someone told me to store them in the frig until I was ready to put them in the incubator...I only have two hens and had to wait a few days before I had a few.

    Thanks for telling my point end down!

    anything else I should know?

    I saw in the bottom of the incubator, there was two places for water. I only put water in one of them is that right? and does it matter which one I put it in?
     
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    You're doing great so far! [​IMG]

    Before you put the eggs in: What kind of thermometer are you using? What about a hygrometer? These are important because if your measuring instruments are wrong, your incubator conditions will be wrong. And many thermos and hygros *are* wrong, especially those cheap little alcohol dealies that come with the incubator.

    When you're sure you're ready to set, you'll put the eggs in LARGE END UP. This is important because the air cell is at the top (large end) and the growing chick needs to orient itself correctly inside the egg--and it bases its orientation in part on gravity.

    You might also want to mark the eggs for your records and various other practical purposes. Currently, I use a pencil and number each egg. I then track them in a spreadsheet--but you don't have to be elaborate. Having them numbered will help you keep track of them in the incubator. I also, personally, mark the air cell at each candling--but this is purely a matter of scientific interest for me, although I have learned recently that it can also be used to orient the eggs correctly during the hatch, and to make sure I can see when the baby starts to poke through. [​IMG] But that might be a bit much for your first hatching. So, just number each one for now.

    I think that's it. Hopefully someone will chime in with anything I've left out. Congrats on the free incubator! That's a great score. I hatch in a hovabator and have been very happy with it. Good luck!
     
  5. Starla

    Starla Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks! and I think it is probably just the thermometer that came with it. that being said, you think its ok to go ahead and put my eggs in? Of course, I don't have time to go and get a different therm.

    the man that gave it to me used it to hatch quail. he said it worked really well with him, but that had been a few years ago.

    I hope I didn't mess anything up...cause, when I would gather the eggs, I put the date on them with a sharpie [​IMG] hope that wasn't bad. You saying use a pencil has me kinda worried.
     
  6. KDbeads

    KDbeads Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 20, 2009
    East Central VA
    I built my own incubator so I'm no help with the hovabator. But definitely get another thermometer and get a hygrometer just to be on the safe side. I bought a little $6.49 one at walmart that is a combined digital unit, you can see it on top of the carton:
    [​IMG]

    Calibrate it first though, mine was off by 15%! I think it's 1/2 cup salt to 1/4 cup of water in a mug, then put that in a ziptop bag with the hygrometer for about 8 hours. It should read 75% when done but if it doesn't that's how much +/- you need to add to the reading when you put it in the bator.
    Decent explanation if I've confused you:
    http://exoticpets.about.com/od/herpresources/ss/hygrometer.htm

    I'm keeping my humidity around 45% to 50% until day 18, then I'll up it to 70% for the hatch.

    Also, you can leave the eggs out on the counter or in a cupboard before you incubate, no need for the fridge [​IMG]
    You mentioned 2 hens.... you do have a rooster, yes?? Sorry, have to ask! No roo = no fertilized eggs
     
  7. Starla

    Starla Out Of The Brooder

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    lol yes, I have a very active roo! [​IMG] so I *think* they should be fertile!! oh goodness...now I don't know what to do! put them in or leave them out and go get a new therm.

    I am beginning to think this might be to complicated!!![​IMG]
     
  8. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    I think you are not the only one to ever write on the eggs in Sharpie. [​IMG] You're probably just fine. I use pencil because it just *seems* right to me, but I doubt it really matters very much.

    Also, on the thermometer. There is a chance it is not calibrated correctly. If it is one of those bulb thermometers with the backing attached by little wires and the numbers on the backing--then it is super easy for the numbers to get moved and therefore the reading to be completely off. That having been said--I hatched my first batch with just the "throw-away" thermometer that came with the incubator, so you may be just fine.

    When you get a chance, pick up a $10-13 thermo/hygro combo unit from Walmart. Look for an acu-rite. Then do a search on these boards for calibrating your hygrometer (which tells you your humidity). Acu-rite is a pretty good thermometer for a cheap price.

    Your humidity may be fine just filling the one tray, and it's certainly nothing to fuss over in the first little bit of incubation. The average is what matters for the first 18 days. But when you reach the hatch, it becomes critical--too high and you drown your chicks; too low and you shrink wrap them in their membranes. So you will definitely want to know your humidity before the end of the incubation period.

    Personally... I'd probably go ahead and set the eggs. Then make a point to pick up an acu-rite in the next few days. And then worry and fret because the acu-rite and the alcohol thermometer don't agree exactly and I don't know which one, if any, is right. And then try all kinds of crazy schemes to try and calibrate them, none of which end up working but all of which get me more worried. And then decide I've already been incubating this long I may as well just wait and see how they do. And then candle at 7 days and breathe a huge sigh of relief because they all look great.

    [​IMG] But that's just me.
     
  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Charlotte, NC
    I am beginning to think this might be to complicated!!!

    Don't worry, Starla! It's really not that hard. [​IMG] All this talk of humidity and calibration and what-not gets a first-timer worried every time. It did me. I almost didn't even try. But then I had this awesome first hatch (okay, it was only 60%, but any live creature coming out of a formerly inanimate ovoid shell qualifies as "awesome") and I'm hooked. Now I spend half my free time (such as it is) looking for ways to improve my hatch and, especially, wondering what else I can put in my incubator. [​IMG]

    You can probably ignore everything anyone says on this board and do just fine. But the more you're able to do, the better your chance of success. So it's a balancing act. On my first hatch, I did not measure humidity--just followed the incubator's instructions--and I was using a junky alcohol thermometer. And I opened the bator during the hatch and held the eggs to hear them tapping and cheeping. And all kinds of other big no-nos. And I STILL got three gorgeous ducklings out of five eggs.

    So go for it! Do as much or as little as you feel like, and have fun.​
     
  10. Starla

    Starla Out Of The Brooder

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    awe thank you Curiosity, you made me feel better. I wanted to hatch some babies for my roo. I can't find any houdans any where around here and he is wearing my hens out! the poor girls backs look so bad.

    I was beginning to think I should just order chicks!!

    but anywho, I will let you know how it goes! and thank you so, so much for all your help!
     

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