Incubating my first batch

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by FloridaBasser, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. FloridaBasser

    FloridaBasser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all, I finally broke down and decided to give incubation a shot. I got 10 fertile eggs from my hens over a period of 3 days and placed them in my incubator set at 100 degrees. It is an older model so the temperature was a little hard to adjust. and no instruction manual. I hadn't read about having the eggs large end up but had seen they needed to be turned so I placed them in an egg carton and keep it tilted and just switch it from side to side 3 times daily. I have to open the incubator to do it but it doesn't drop the temperature excessively and it rapidly comes back to the proper temperature. My first order of business before my next batch will be a proper egg turner so I don't have to keep opening the door. I do not place a basin of water in the incubator since I'm in Florida and our average humidity is in the 60s. I have candled them and so far it looks like 1 maybe 2 duds. As far as I can tell I need to get another thermometer or 2 but as of now using the thermometer that came with my incubator. Just thought Id share this experience and see if anyone has any points they would like to make for me to remember before I set my next batch. I will post pictures tomorrow of my setup to help any suggestions. One question I do have for now is do I need a light in the incubator or will they be fine in a shadowed cabinet (the front door is heavy glass but is out of direct sunlight) To be honest I know I missed some things but I don't know everything and I was acting on an urge to use my incubator lol so I kinda rushed in.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I suggest you read this article.

    Texas A&M Incubation site
    http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/...e-Cartwright-Incubating-and-hatching-eggs.pdf

    Then get decent instruments and calibrate them.

    Rebel’s Thermometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/ThermometerCalibration.html

    Rebel’s Hygrometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/HygrometerCalibration.html

    Then spend some time in the Learning Center at the top of this page.

    Then don’t obsess over any of this. This is all guidelines, suggestions to improve your odds of a good hatch. If you follow all the guidelines you can find, you still don’t have any guarantees of a perfect hatch. If you violate some of these you are not guaranteed a horrible hatch unless you get ridiculous in how far you go. Just learn what you can and do the best you reasonably can. You’ll probably do fine. For example, if you don’t have a place 55 degrees to store your eggs, store them in 70 degrees if that’s the best you can reasonably do. You should still get really great results. But if you store them above 85 degrees they can start developing enough to cause real problems.

    It’s dark under a broody hen. I would not worry about the light.
     
  3. rayray983

    rayray983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am incubating chicken eggs for the first time bought a little giant and installed a PC fan in it I hand turn 3 times a day and I haven't had any issues with my incubator I got a 11 eggs I paid for from a friend then another 3 dozen I got from a friend for free!!! Only reason for so many was i read about how hard incubating in lg is and So far I'm on day 9 and when I candled on day 7 all the eggs are growing at a normal rate the advice I'm going to give you that I've learned so far is don't over think it just let the incubator do its job and monitor it bit don't obsess about it if the chick hatch they hatch if not try again I have learned alot more than I ever thought I would about chickens just by reading threads on byc my friends think I'm crazy for incubating when its easier to just buy chicks but I'm a stuburn sort and love learning good luck with your hatch
     
  4. rayray983

    rayray983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    And with my bator as long as temp is between 99 and 101 I am happy and my humidity has been at a steady 35% will increase to 60 to 70 at hatch time buy adding a few damp sponges and dropping water onto them through the air vent holes :) hope this helps
     
  5. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Earth
    I usually turn on a desk lamp so they can see after they hatch, I think it stimulates them to walk around and practice using their legs, etc. Never tried it in the dark.

    I HIGHLY recommend you read the 2 links in my signature, primarily the dry incubation method (which it sounds like you are doing).

    also, remember to use multiple thermometers and hygrometers, and to test them against each other so you know you have a device you can trust. The thermometer and hygrometer that comes with styrofoam incubators is ALWAYS wrong (mine is 10 degrees off).
     
  6. rayray983

    rayray983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree!! I have two different digital thermometer hydrometers combos different brands and when the thermometer that came with my incubator reads 99.5 they read at 102!!! So don't trust the ones that come with a incubator I like mine cause they keep highs and lows so it keeps record even while I sleep And so far neither have been over 101.4 :) this site rocks for newbies
     
  7. rayray983

    rayray983 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am going to try the desk lamp to never thought about extra lighting to in courage the chicks after hatching
     
  8. FloridaBasser

    FloridaBasser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Farmer Viola I read your articles :D very interesting I noticed you had in caps never open in last 5 days due to loss of humidity in the incubator, I was wondering how important is that if you are using ambient air as your humidity? Very informative and now for my pictures :D
     
  9. FloridaBasser

    FloridaBasser Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] you can see the vent holes in the top as well as the third hole I connected the hanging computer fan through.
     
  10. Farmer Viola

    Farmer Viola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Earth
    I didn't write those 2 articles, I just think they are fantastic :)

    I'm not sure if I understand your question right, let me know if I misunderstand -
    one of the first things I was told by an experienced hatcher, was to never use the red vent caps -- Don't do the whole, remove 1, then add the other later on, etc - like some of the styro incubators instruction manuals say to do.

    I know in the Dry Incubation Method article, he mentions that he does that... I think he adds the cap back on day 18ish? This has to do with the oxygen and CO2 exchange, but I feel that cutting off the air right when they start to breathe air, makes no sense to me. I threw away the vent plugs and never looked back. [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oops I did not know you were using a homemade incubator! I assumed it was styrofoam and storebought. Ventilation is pretty tricky to figure out when making it yourself. too much ventilation, and you can't maintain temp/humidity. too little and it could get too hot in there.

    Your vents look good. My styro bator has 2 vent holes that size, and several other pinhole size BUT it is much smaller inside than yours.
    Also, remember you are opening it to ventilation each time you open it to turn the eggs (3xday?). If you get an autoturner, you may need more vent holes.




    here is a link to the current hatch-a-long thread, I have learned sooooo much from the experienced hatchers there! you are welcome to join us :)
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/846539/jan-feb-2014-hatch-a-long/270#post_12621411
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014

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