Hoping to start hatching eggs. Any advice?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by GothChick, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. GothChick

    GothChick Songster

    Sep 5, 2010
    I would really love to start hatching my own eggs. I eventually plan to allow one of my Orpington hens to help with adopting eggs but until they are older I need to do it myself. I live in town so I can keep all the chicks but I have numerous family members that are willing to buy the chicks from me and I figured it would be a fun hobby for a stay at home mom like myself. Unfortunately I have NO idea on how to get started. I don't want to spend hundreds of dollars because this is just a hobby but I do need something reliable. I looked at some homemade ideas but I have no clue how to wire anything and I have no idea how incubators work (I was a very sheltered city child) so I don't know anything about air circulation, temperatures, or turning the eggs. I found an incubator for sale at fleet farm that I was thinking of buying but it's pretty cheap and I don't know how well it would work, they also sell a separate egg turner you can buy. What should I all get and how difficult is it?

  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I am a newbie to hatching eggs in an incubator, too, having just completed one hatch and have one happening right now.

    I needed a fool-proof incubator, and got one: Brinsea Mini Advance, with auto-turner. It only holds 7 eggs, which is/was good for me so I don't go overboard. After the first hatch - those chicks are nearly a month old now - I was so thrilled with my success I bought two more Brinsea incubators: the Mini Advance EX model. Still only 7 eggs apiece, but with an attachment that handles the humidity for me. All have digital controls and displays.

    EASY. Really easy to use.
    Here's a photo of today's hatchling in the incubator that requires me to monitor and adjust the humidity. It's about an hour old.
  3. E.M. Silkies

    E.M. Silkies Songster

    Aug 7, 2010
    If I have to turn eggs by hand, how many times? 2 or 3? I've heard both....
  4. GothChick

    GothChick Songster

    Sep 5, 2010
    gryeyes- that incubator EX sounds great but its like $300 and is a bit more then we are hoping to spend. I'm looking for something closer to $100 or under.

  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    The Mini Advance, without the EX part, is only about $120.00. And it's not hard to monitor and adjust the humidity if you get an inexpensive hygrometer. (Like 5 bucks at PetCo in the reptile section.)
  6. Sportsterjeep

    Sportsterjeep Creekside Acres Farm

    Jun 1, 2010
    Mill Hall PA
    Check craigslist, I've found incubators and turners on there. I think that the little styrofoam jobbies are overpriced for what you get brand new. I went homemade, 6 foot pepsi cooler turned into bator. This baby cost me less than 150 total, and that is with 1 brand new turner and one used turner that I picked up for $30. Found the turner on a site in PA similar to craigslist. Definately a good starting point though. If you don't mind turning by hand you can just get a bator to start with. My personal opinion is that's a pain in the butt unless you are doing a very small quantity of eggs.
  7. Sportsterjeep

    Sportsterjeep Creekside Acres Farm

    Jun 1, 2010
    Mill Hall PA
    Quote:odd number, 3 or 5 is the norm. Put an x on one side, an O on the other, then you know that you have all the eggs turned when you are doing it.

  8. mothersin2ition

    mothersin2ition Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    Othello, WA
    The Little Giant styrofoam incubator is only 44-49 dollars, and if you want to add an auto turner, its another 45. So under $100. You can find these at any farm supply place.
    Good luck, hatching chicks is very addicting!!

    ps the best advice I have for you is to spend lots of time on the forums here, there is a wealth of information and plenty of helpful people whenever you have questions.

    Oh and [​IMG]
  9. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Songster

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    I bought a new hovabator on ebay for about $35. I didn't get a turner, but I hand turned my eggs 3-5 times a day. Got 4 little chickies [​IMG] I think the shipping and heat during shipping did in the other eggs, but I am very pleased with my current chicks.

    I'd consider the Brinsea, but alas, money is tight at the moment. Greyeyes, what would you call the fourth chick?

  10. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    I have the hovabator 1602 with the turner. It works really well and was just a hair over $100 when I bought it off Ebay. It holds temperature really well, which is important. I have heard that the Little Giants have issues with keeping the temperature stable.

    If you hand turn, always make it an odd number of times, this will have the egg on a different side each night.
    Keep the incubator away from drafts and sunlight. This helps keep the temperature stable.
    When making adjustments to the temperature, make small adjustments and wait a couple hours. A small adjustment can have a big affect on temperature.
    After about a week, the incubating eggs will make their own heat, so you probably will have to adjust it down a bit at that point.
    I keep the humidity between 30-35 percent for the first 18 days and bump it to 65% the last 3 days.
    Definitely buy a hygrometer - You can get them at walmart, or Amazon. Here's how you calibrate it.
    I bought the Brinsea Spot check thermometer, and wish I'd bought it sooner, it's wonderful and extremely accurate. I have had great hatches since getting it.
    The last 3 days is considered lockdown, you quit turning the eggs, increase the humidity and DO NOT OPEN THE BATOR until your hatch is done. This is the hardest part, especially the first time, as it takes them a long time to pop out of those eggs. So sit on your hands.

    It sounds overwhelming, but it's so fun to watch. And it is very addicting. I'm a stay at home mom too, and my kids really enjoy watching them hatch. Also, be sure to candle the eggs around day 7, you shine a really bright flashlight on the egg and you can see the baby chick inside the egg.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by