Incubating for the first time - tips, advice and handholding please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by TaraDee, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. TaraDee

    TaraDee Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2010
    title says it all. [​IMG]

    I'll be collecting eggs from my chickens this week and hoping to purchase another dozen eggs from a auction
    or if you have any fertile eggs for sale PM me [​IMG] looking for welsummers, Orpingtons (blue, splash or white), Ameracaunas (wheaten preferably) or Delawares

    I have Hovabator styro incubator and a little giant egg turner

    how/where should I store eggs while waiting to put in the incubator?

    do I turn them once a day? twice a day? while waiting?

    I am going to turn on the bator today and check temp humidity etc? before adding eggs at the end of the week.

    then they come out of the turner and go to what is called lock down on day 17 correct?

    thanks in advance.
  2. tlb796

    tlb796 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2010
    You and I are almost neighbors! I will do a little chicken prayer for you! I just put 24 lav and split orps in the
    bator 11/05. Also BBS Marans. I really have no advice but would love to share this experience with you!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Sounds like this link is what you need. I really think it will help you.

    Texas A&M Incubation site

    I don't like using day 10, day 18, all that. I think that terminology confuses people. I'd prefer to use days of development. A chicken egg does not have 24 hours of development one second after it is put in the incubator. It takes 24 hours of incubation temperature before it has 24 hours of development. For chicken eggs, it is not 17 days but 18 days before you go into lockdown.

    For example, if you put your eggs in the incubator at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday the 14th of November, They will have one day's development at 7:00 p.m. on Monday the 15th. They will have 18 days of development at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday the 2nd of December. 21 days of development will be over on Sunday, the 5th of December. With chicken eggs, the day of the week you put them in the incubator is the day of the week they should hatch. The correct time for lockdown would be 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd. In reality, if you miss this by several hours, it is not that big a deal. Hatching is not a precise science. I think it is good practice to aim for this time, but don't miss your grandmother's birthday party to hit it exactly.

    All eggs do not hatch at exactly 21 days of development. Hatching is not an instantaneous process. A chick positions itself in the egg for hatch. That's hard work so it rests. It pips. That's hard work so it rests, sometimes for many hours. It zips. That's hard too but usually they'll push the egg apart pretty soon after they zip, then they rest. After a while they jump up and start playing rugby with all the ones that have not yet hatched. Rugby does not seem to hurt the ones that have not hatched.

    If the incubator is running a little warm they can hatch a couple of days early. If it is cool, they can be a few days late. Either under a hen or in an incubator there can be cool or warm spots. Heredity plays a part if they are early or late hatchers. Smaller eggs tend to hatch a bit earlier than larger eggs.

    Whether they are early or late, I assure you that you will be excited and will worry. Welcome to the experience.
  4. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    - Leave them on the counter, turn twice a day until you set.

    I have the same set-up as you, Hovabator with LG turner. I have some that I thought were no good due to hatch on Saturday... left them in, re-candled, they're still going. So don't toss them if you aren't sure! I lost count on which hatch number this is for me.

    While waiting for your eggs, plug your incubator in, get the water in the tray, get the temp right, and check it randomly throughout the day to watch the temp. Only set your eggs when it has been holding steady at the right temp for more than 48 hours.

    Know your house... where is the draft? What rooms stay at the most consistent temp? Are you wood stove heat? (prone to cool spots). Pick the most stable climate of the house for incubator placement. For me that was the basement.

    After you set the eggs DON"T open the incubator until day 7 candling. Add water then too if the tray needs it. If it's half gone or more, add some. Next time to open it will be day 14 candling.

    When you do open it, keep the lid down as far as possible. Never remove the lid and set it aside.. it releases all the heat, and it needs to regain it. When I pull the turner on day 18 for lockdown, I grab the eggs with the lid low, onto a towel. Fold the towel over to cover the eggs. Grab the turner out. Get ready and hatching trays and place them. Once everything is done (adding additional water to the areas depicted in your instructions!) then I place the eggs back in.

    Move fast if you need to open it, or when it is open.

    Place your thermometer where you can see it from the windows. I did mine on top of the eggs. Since I preset everything, I knew that when placed on the rack, it read 99.5 degrees. When placed on the top of the eggs, closer to the heating element, it will read higher. That's normal. If you're is still air without a fan, the temp will vary from place the place inside.

    On mine, I noticed that when turning, the eggs directly under the middle "control box" inside were too tell. So I moved them, and left the middle 4 egg areas empty so it could turn properly. That's what happens when you mix up brands.

    When lockdown starts... don't open it. When the first chick hatches... DON'T OPEN IT. Only remove chicks when a good number are out. They will call to each other, noise I think helps them come faster. Talk to them from OUTSIDE.

    Don't open it.

    And rule number 1..... DON'T OPEN IT unless you have to. Every time you do, the humidity and temp get thrown out of whack. It's not a mother hen, it's electronic.

    My best 100% hatches were when I ignored the dang thing.
  5. TaraDee

    TaraDee Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 4, 2010
    thank you all for the advice. I'll be back for more questions probably, but great, great info to get me going.

    thank you.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by