Well, I didn't think I'd be starting one of these. I attempted to do a dry-run of some auction bought incubators (little giant polystyrene ones) which we picked up for a cheap price, the one with the egg turner was cheaper than the one without which we bid for and won first. Ducks and chickens starting to lay in the belief that that slight bit of warmer weather indicated spring. Being me, I knew that unless there was a slight risk of getting something going in there, I'd soon forget all about it due to day-to-day life. So I quickly grabbed some eggs from the collection out of the fridge and chucked them in when the Incubator had been plugged in for less than an hour. Yeah, I know, hardly best practice. Incubator sited in soon to be nursery room, on floor, in the corner. It was a Friday and this was only going to be a dry-run, right? So, Incubator plugged in, turned on, eggs popped straight in, quick check of the heater LED, yep, that seems to be working, I wonder what the temperature is? I'll add it to the shopping list for next week, 1x thermometer. Walk back in a few hours later and yep, the egg turner seems to be working too, either that or a random small child or animal had significantly nudged the incubator and got it to rock. Added some water to the troughs in the bottom because the newly downloaded instruction manuals said something about it. *I planned to re-read that bit later. At this point I'd like to explain my history in incubating eggs. Total experience to date = vague memories of parents running an incubator on the kitchen table. Slightly more vivid memories of having to clean the kitchen table when I let the ducklings and chicks out to play. Fast forward to candling at day 4 ish (I've not been idle, I've been reading up on this and refreshing my memory). Take torch (flashlight), make a sort of circle with hand holding torch and shine light into eggs through this little circle (memories of fathers method). *Obvious statement number one = those really dark Maran type eggs are a pain in the proverbial to candle. *Obvious statement number two = Pale duck eggs are a great deal easier to candle. So, working left to right I candled all the chicken eggs (good practice if nothing else). Some nice porous looking ones, one with a crack visible only when candled. I did mention that i just grabbed a quantity from the fridge? Planning on leaving all eggs in there from start to finish just for the experience gained on this dry-run. Next came the Duck eggs. Oh Damn. Possibly a slightly stronger word was used but my memory fails me. You've seen those lovely pictures on this site with all the lovely spidery veins? Yep, Duck eggs have them, ALL of the duck eggs. Time for me to start reading about incubation in earnest. Wait for a day off from the daily grind and take a trip to the supermarket and pick up a thermometer. Breathe a sigh of relief when you find out that they're not going to be hard baked (due to starting on whatever the previous owners had used as a temperature last). The temp reading was within a degree or 2 of ideal. Then belatedly realise that there was mention of a hygrometer being required. Add that to list for next shopping trip. Currently on day (trying to work backwards on fingers) 7, this being saturday. Candling on the dark chicken eggs now possible but not conclusive (certainly not to me). Humidity readings vary between 30 and 60% which caused me a bit of panic initially until i read about the dry method and I seem to have inadvertently adhered to some of that due to sheer laziness or lack of preparation. So, here I am, Day 7, just jotting down some shocked thoughts and belatedly thinking about what I've let myself in for again. I can see that I'll be staring at a pile of old palletts in a few weeks and wondering how i managed to get convinced by my better half that I could turn them into the Taj Mahal of all coops in time for what could possibly be some unplanned arrivals. Maximum Sheer-luck quantity will be 23 chicks and 13 ducks, and yes that includes the cracked egg, the porous ones and the ones that seem to be lead-lined and impervious to all known light. I'll let you know how it goes and will accept a comments along the lines of "what a blithering idiot you are" as my due. Any help or hints about candling Maran eggs (short of space-ships and solar flares) gratefully accepted. When i eventually work out where I put my phone last I might even manage a picture or two.