My first bator experience

wixychixy

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 2, 2013
23
0
29
Arkansas
When I was growing up we had hens doing all the work. This is the first time I have used a bator. My MIL gave it to me along with instructions on using it, adjusting the temp, turning the eggs, adding water, etc. I was under the assumption that she had actually hatched chicks before from the way she talked and she has had chicks every year. I just found out that she brings the chicks back from a hatchery and that she has only actually hatched one chick that didn't live more than two days after the hatch. She told me that you are supposed to turn eggs every 3 hours, but I thought that was a bit much since the temp drops when the bator is opened and found out on my own that I should not be turning that much. She also told me to candle every single night and I have found pictures where people have done just that, but I found out that if the candler gets pretty hot that you should not be candling frequently so you won't cook the embryo. Mine gets hot.
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I only had the one thermometer in until earlier this evening when I found out that I have been lots of things wrong. I got a brand new thermometer and checked it with the house thermostat then put it in and the old thermometer was off 5 degrees. I have been incubating at 105 degrees the entire time. The babies were developing okay until about day 10 with veins except a few that were just clear and then they just kind of stopped growing. Day 18 and they still look the same as day 10. Frustrated, but sad at the same time. I'm not going to give up, but I guess I was just upset and needed to vent. I learned from this not to assume that someone is an expert just because they go on and on about how they would or would not do things, especially when they might just be full of hot air. I am definitely doing more research after I get the bator sterilized for round two.
 

fogandcopper

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
146
9
71
We have a bator that we have eggs in right now. You want to keep it at 95 degrees, turn the eggs once a day and candle at 2 weeks the first time then frequently after that. If you want you can use a good LED flashlight. That's what we use. It works great. If the eggs begin weeping toss them immediately. We use a pencil to right the date they are supposed to hatch. They could hatch a week early or a week late. If you do this do not use marker or pen. It is bad for the egg.
 

bugglesmommy

Songster
6 Years
Feb 2, 2013
2,415
327
228
Leesville, Louisiana
My Coop
My Coop
In an incubator with a fan you want to aim for 99.5°. 95° is too low. In still air you want to aim a degree higher. If you are hand turning, turn at least 3 times a day and at different intervals so the eggs don't stay on the same side every night. You do not need to candle every night. In fact its not NECESSARY at all. Its just a good way to check development. Days 7, 14 and 18 are good times to check. Temps that are too high, if it doesn't kill the embryo, will result in early hatches. Temps that are too low will result in late hatches.

If they look like day 10 eggs then the batch probably did not survive. Sorry.
 

wixychixy

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 2, 2013
23
0
29
Arkansas
Thanks. I'm learning already.
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At least this was a good hands on learning experience, so it wasn't a complete waste.
 

fogandcopper

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
146
9
71
A little hint about when they hatch is they can live on the yolk for three days after hatching. So if they hatch and you don't have the food don't get too panicked. They can go a little while. Also you will have to teach them how to eat and drink. this can be a bit of a challenge when you don't want imprinting.
 

loveourbirds

Songster
6 Years
Mar 27, 2013
2,857
323
198
waverly ohio
A little hint about when they hatch is they can live on the yolk for three days after hatching. So if they hatch and you don't have the food don't get too panicked. They can go a little while. Also you will have to teach them how to eat and drink. this can be a bit of a challenge when you don't want imprinting.
I always found it hard on my nose to peck the feed dish. I flap my arms, and I cluck. it usually works. LOL

proper hatch temp is 99.5 for forced air 100.5 to 101 still air. (for chickens)
open your incubator 10 to 15 minutes each day. this simulates the hen getting off the nest to eat etc. it also makes your eggs hardier in case of a temporary power outage.

in my opinion its easy to candle white eggs on day 7, but brown eggs and EE eggs seem to be easier to see at day 10. I have both colors in every tray so I candle on day 10.
 

Bens-Hens

Songster
6 Years
Jan 29, 2013
2,552
299
238
Perth, Western Australia
Some good advice in here.

I thought I would throw in some too, there is no mention of humidity control. Have you also got a hyrometer? This measure the humidity levels inside the incubator. You can buy them really quite cheap, ours does both temp and humidity.

It is important to have these right. The condition we aim for are;

99.5F for entire hatch
50%-55% humidity for first 18 days
70%-80% for last three days
only turn eggs for first 18 days, then 'lock down' (when hand turning we would turn three times a day)
We candle Days 7, 14, 18 and discard the clears on day 14.

Some choose the dry incubation method, so you may see some conflicting opinions there, but those are the parameters I use and have had excellent rates with.

Good luck
 

wixychixy

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 2, 2013
23
0
29
Arkansas
@Bens-Hens, I do not have a hygrometer. I've been reading about them since you mentioned it, and I will be getting one.

Thanks everybody. I'm thinking that my second try won't be so frustrating. I really appreciate ALL input whether good or bad so I know.
 

bugglesmommy

Songster
6 Years
Feb 2, 2013
2,415
327
228
Leesville, Louisiana
My Coop
My Coop

MANNA-PRO

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