New to chickens - Incubator Idea

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by ByeByeBlackBird, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. ByeByeBlackBird

    ByeByeBlackBird Chirping

    Mar 10, 2011
    Falls Village CT
    Hey, i stumbled upon your site through multiple google searches for the information ill need to successfully start hatching my own chicks. Looks like a massively great collection of data you guys have going here! [​IMG] Ive decided that i will be doing the shipped eggs ( Silkies!) , and know the success rate may not be that great depending on how well they are shipped and shipping conditions in general. Im alright with only a few hatching. ( I think im going to purchase 8 or 10 and hope for 3-4 actually hatching * more is fine though! *

    What my main concern is what im going to end up using as materials for my incubator. Ive Bred and raised and hatched reptiles ( Snakes, specifically) in the past, and had awesome success with my set up then. But they go for longer, by far! ( 60+ days!) and require near constant high humidity compared to chicken eggs. So also, my fear is providing TOO MUCH humidity, and drowning the chicks.

    I used a small Igloo cooler, with flexwatt heat tape along the bottom, and water bottles to keep the temperature constant and more steady between openings and candling as well as a thermometer/hydrometer to monitor the temps and humidity inside the eggbox. I own several Spyder robotics thermostats that are accurate to.... a really teeny number. [​IMG] so im not necessarily worried about keeping the temperatures for chicken eggs accurate ( but would love suggestions on what temps work well for those of you that keep silkies and want more hens) and the 12" flex does the job like noones business, at much safer temperatures on the heat element itself. So, my questions are...What degrees/percentages do you guys recommend keeping the eggs at?( Silkie bantams) I was thinking of going with 101.5F and 40% humidity? Though these are numbers i just quickly came upon before i decided to just start posting on a forum instead. And do you think that the materials im choosing to use will work well with chicken eggs?

    A friends broody hens may also be a viable option, if he has a few to sit for me. Im kind of game for anything. [​IMG]

    Thanks! I hope to hang around and eventually post pictures and talk about my success in the future!
  2. farmerChef

    farmerChef Songster

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern Georgia
    My Coop
    Unforunatly, you can't influence sex with temps for chickens, that I know of any way.
    Do you can a fan in your 'bator? That can affect what temp to set your eggs at. Still air, around 100.5, forced air/fan, around 98-99. Humidity 45-55% first 18 days.
    Make sure your turn eggs an odd number of times so the embryos don't sit on the same side over night. Stop turning on day 18-19 and raise humidity to 60-65% for "lockdown". You said you're only getting about a dozen eggs, so you don't need to worry as much about "shrinkwrapping" because they should hatch in (hopefully) a 24 hr period.

    I;m no help on the material though, I bought a 'bator.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2011
  3. ByeByeBlackBird

    ByeByeBlackBird Chirping

    Mar 10, 2011
    Falls Village CT
    Alright, makes sense then regarding temp sexing. Its odd that sites would even mention it, given that its common knowledge then. I guess its the same in both worlds, then. Reptile and Chickens. ( Though in geckos * Im not personally sure of other species *, temperature seems to give you a higher ratio of certain sex, depending on what you set the bator at. but its no guarantee)

    no fan in this bator, though i may try adding one in the future. Thank you for the odd number of turning the eggs suggestion, that is clever and i wouldnt have thought of it! I'll go on the lower end of the humidity spectrum, because i can always add more water later. Thank you for the numbers. I truly appreciate it!

    We still have to finish the coop, its nearly done. just needs some adjustment on the human door, and some windows put in, and then the ramp and back door for the hens and some boxes. once thats done, ill get the bator set up and put it on a week test run to make sure things will run smoothly incubation wise! [​IMG]

    Ill continue browsing the forum for more info as well, if anyone feels like suggesting their own information or practices, please feel free to chime in! Ill take whatever you guys want to throw at me!
  4. dwdoc

    dwdoc Songster

    Dec 13, 2010
    Seffner, Florida
  5. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Glad you found us!

    Sounds like you have the basics down!

    Chickens are much more forgiving than reptiles - so you should have no problems.

    Shipped eggs can be a mess though - but you know that already.

    You want to bring the humidity up around 70 to 75% from day 18 on.

    Couple of explinations: The humidity needs to be relatively low for the first 18 days so some of the water inside the egg evaporates out. This leaves an air cell or bubble inside the shell where the chick can breath while trying to hatch. Very important!

    You want the humidity high for the hatch, because the membrane inside the shell can become sticky & feathers and sticky don't mix! This can be a killer! Don't open the incubator once the first egg has pipped (poked the first hole) as the sudden drop in humidity can literally shrink wrap the chick in the membrane.

    Chicks commonly take up to 24 hrs or more to hatch after they pip! Be patient - it takes them some time to turn off the blood supply to the shell & start breating on their own.

    Try your very best not to help them unless they are in obvious distress. Its best to just let them work it out. If you pop open an egg before the membrane is ready the chick can bleed out fast!

    You can build your incubator out of anything! Just get a material that wont suck the water from the air. People use wood, styro, old fridges anything.

    Oh- 1 last thing. Chicks don't do well with temp spikes. They can manage the cold really well, but if the temp spikes too high it will kill 'em quick! keep an eye on that!

    Good luck & welcome to the board!

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