Incubating eggs for the first time...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by (sub)UrbanCoop, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. (sub)UrbanCoop

    (sub)UrbanCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2012
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    For Christmas I am letting the kids incubate eggs so each can have a chick of their own to add into our small flock in the spring.

    I have read all kinds of books on incubating/hatching, but have one question that was not answered anywhere. Maybe it is a silly question and the answer should be staring me in the face and that's why I can't find an answer.

    I have purchased a mini incubator, similar to a Brinsea mini. It has forced air and a digital readout, etc, etc... but no egg turner. That's fine. I can manually turn the eggs.

    I have read that you should incubate with the wide base of the egg pointing up, but how do I do that? The floor of the incubator is flat, so the eggs will lay on their sides. How can I set them in there wide side up?

    Stupid question... sorry.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    This is not a stupid question at all :)

    If you turn them many times a day, no need to worry about this. They can lay on their sides. The big end naturally is higher than the little end. Turn the eggs as often as you want. 3-5 times a day. You don't need to be precise about turning. just roll them around. A broody hen does not calculate each egg's position. She just rolls them under her by doing a little shuffle. I tried to find a video to demonstrate this, but I came up empty.
     
  3. (sub)UrbanCoop

    (sub)UrbanCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dear aoxa,

    Thanks so much for that tidbit of info. It's good to know!

    We have a small flock and the girls are fantastic. When I built the coop, I built it on the large size knowing the kids would get a kick out of incubating and having a hen of their own.

    Thank you again, the kids and I are off researching breeds so we can order the ones they would like to have.

    Have a wonderful day!
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Make sure you give each child 3 eggs or so to incubate, as I'd hate to see some of the kids have their eggs hatch, and the others to miss out. Not all hatch.

    Good luck! What a great Christmas project :D
     
  5. (sub)UrbanCoop

    (sub)UrbanCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The incubator has space for 12 eggs, I only have 2 kids... we found a fellow who has the main breeds we were looking at and will pack a minimum of a dozen so it looks like each
    one of my babes will get a half dozen eggs. I hope we can keep to the rule that they will only keep one chick each and give the rest to a family friend with a much bigger chicken house then what we have.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    What you want to avoid is pointy side up. Anything else is OK. If the pointy side is up, the air sac can try to migrate to that end, which causes serious problems.

    You can mark an x" on one side and an "o" on the other so you can tell when it has been turned. Start out with all X's up and when they are turned all o's should be up. Or maybe use your kid's initials instead of x and o.

    I don't know what the bottom of that incubator looks like. I have a totally different model and mine is wire much like hardware cloth. If your bottom is really smooth, you might crumple up some orange or onion bag netting to put them on. You don't want to interfere with air circulation around it since the egg needs to breathe. Take the nettting out before lockdown so the chicks don't get tangled in it. Some people cut down egg cartons to keep the eggs in. If you do store them pointy side down in something like that, you want the egg to move through a 90 degree turn each time you turn them. If they are laying flat, 180 degrees is great.

    The hen turns them at random a whole lot of times a day. You are probably not going to turn them nearly as much as a broody would. Some people recommend turning them an odd number of times a day. That's not really important but what you want to avoid is them spending a big majority of their time in the same position. The odd number will avoid them spending every night in the same position, but if you are gone during the day, you can still have problems with that. Just work up a schedule where they don't spend a whole lot of time in the same position that fits your schedule. Having a regular turning schedule does make it a lot easier.

    Turning is important the entire time but is most critical the first week. That's when most body parts are forming. If the body parts form in the wrong place the chick will probably die in the shell, often in the third week of incubation.

    Not all eggs always hatch and often you can't tell which chick came out of which egg. You might consider incubating more than one egg per child and let them choose theirs after they hatch. That just might go smoother for you. Also, you may get roosters and it can be several weeks before you can tell the sex.. Have you figured out a strategy for that? Maybe final selection when you send the rest to your friends?
     
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Wonderful! :D

    That way you have an error margin for roosters as well :)
     
  8. (sub)UrbanCoop

    (sub)UrbanCoop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much for responding. I am just now seeing it. No worries. I am a SAHM and have been rotating the eggs an odd number of times each day with a minimum of 5 turns a day. 12 eggs going and after candling at day 12 I can see many baby chicks in motion. How cool is that?!?

    Thank you again.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!
     

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