Just introducing myself. I started my first ever chicken owning experience 3 days ago when I picked up some hatching eggs... 3 Silver Appleyard duck, 3 salmon faverolle, and 3 dark brahma. I have been a 'chicken-sitter' quite a few times but never had my own. I put the eggs in the incubator 2 days ago. It's a 'rite-farm' 1200, and seems perhaps similar to the janoel or a magicfly I've seen for sale on amazon. I am keeping it inside the styro shell it came packed in to help hold heat. It's in the basement which is a bit on the chilly side (55-60ish) because that's where the temps are most stable & there isn't a mid-day heat spike from the sun. Auto turner. digital. I'm shifting the eggs over a row each day and turning 1/4 turn so they get a bit more than just the back & forth from the turner. It might be overkill! Bator seems very reliable temp wise, but I already had an incident with a power outage, with a heat drop and then spike due to my alternate warming attempts. We shall see what happens. I was encouraged to see some posts here and people have had some hatches despite extreme heat spikes... My one complaint is how loud the fan is. I hope it doesn't crate some sort of poultry mental illness to develop listening to that incessant buzzzz! (kidding!) My almost-7 nephew is excited about baby poultries and has requested that if any ducks hatch he can be the first one to snuggle one of them. he's here every day to be homeschooled, so I would imagine once they're old enough to be handled we can manage that. I specifically got breeds that are supposed to be more laid back/docile in hopes they will be more willing to be handled by kids. They're also a bit on the larger-bodied size both because if I get lots of roos/drakes I will have to probably eat them (or at least some of them), and because of the cold New England winters. We have only a tiny postage stamp here (1 acre) but there is a swamp in the backyard that has enough flow that part of it doesn't freeze in the winter, and lots of trees around to help discourage winged predators. Foxes & bears & coons & probably fishercats are another matter. I am hoping that if any of these birds hatch they will eat bugs (Japanese beetles, ticks, flies, and mosquitoes - both larvae and flying maybe?) and slugs & snails. I'm looking at information about moving them around and housing them with deep litter and other methods to keep the stink & scorched earth experience down. Where I chicken sit there is a very predator-proof yard for the chooks, but MAN is it nasty. They love it when they get out to free-range and can enjoy the grass and gardens, but the yard gets beat up quickly! hopefully with a max of 6 birds I'll be able to keep them from destroying any one part of the yard...while also keeping them safe from critters. I think that's it in a nutshell. Far too long of an intro, i'm sure!