New to hatching.. New to chickens altogether.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Serenity Lane, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Everyone! I've been reading tons and learning lots on BYC for the past week or so and I figured it was about time I speak up.

    After I impulsively bought 6 pullets last week (3 White Leghorns and 3 Rhode Island Reds), I researched other types of chickens. I decided that I wanted a Silkie, mainly for my 6 year old son because he thinks they're really "funny looking" and, from what I've read, they're usually really friendly. The Silkie(s) would be more pets than the original 6. So, again with my impulsiveness, I bought Silkie eggs off of a lady on eBay and so began "The Great Chicken Project". The auction said that the eggs would ship the day the auction ended or the following day so as far as an incubator goes, I was limited to what I could buy locally or a homemade one. I checked TSC and the only one they sell has bad ratings, a lot of people complain about the thermostat malfunctioning and the temp dropping between days 15-20 (ish). I'm not going to buy something that has a reputation for not being good so off to Walmart and Lowes I went to get some incubator supplies. I'm lucky enough to have an electrician as my other half (I NEVER would've had successful wiring w/o him). So the incubator consists of a plastic Rubbermaid tote, lined with insulation (the foam board stuff, not the pink fuzzy stuff). There's also an outlet with one plug for the fan which is on constant and the other wired to the thermostat for light, a thermometer/hydrometer and 2 dog water dishes holding up cookie racks with 1/2 inch squares (I plan to line with that grippy type shelf liner). Oh, and there's a piece of glass caulked onto the top (foil tape wouldn't stick to the plastic) so we can see in without opening it. I hope that all makes sense! We had it set up in the garage and the temp wouldn't go above 75. Of course it's 28 degrees outside and the heat is off in the garage unless we're out there so heating it up was pretty difficult. I brought it inside about half an hour ago and it's up to 95 now with 48% humidity (with hardly any water in the dishes.) I'm more worried about the temp than the humidity right now. It hasn't gotten hot enough to kick off the light yet.. I'm anxious to see the temp when it does so I can try to get it consistently where it needs to be before the eggs arrive.
    I'm hoping the eggs get here tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday because I don't want them to be with USPS Sunday while they're closed. I've read that they should settle, pointy side down, for 24 hours once received before putting them in the incubator, please correct me if I'm wrong. Should I prop them up in the bator, like in an egg carton or little cardboard rings (like kids use when coloring Easter eggs) or something else? And if they are propped up, will turning them have the same effect as if they were laying in their side? I bought 9+ eggs, I'm not sure how many will arrive intact or how many the + is (probably 1-2). The "floor" space in the bator is about 12" x 18" so I think there will be plenty of room (I hope!)

    It's up to 97 now.. Almost there!! :)
    Does anyone have any advice for a first timer?

    WooHoo!! 100 degrees! I adjusted the thermostat so the bulb shut off and (WooHoo again) it kicked back on at 99 degrees.. Looks like we're in business :) Hopefully it stays consistent!

    Last question for tonight.. My thermometer only measures in whole degrees; should I go out and buy one that measures in tenths before the eggs arrive?

    Thanks!
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    It sounds like you are ready to start hatching some eggs! A friend of money put together a great article on incubating and hatching eggs with a section specifically for shipped eggs, so here's the article:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101

    That is the best advice I can give you (via Sally). Best of luck with your hatch and keep us posted!
     
  3. Bill 101

    Bill 101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your Thermometer does not need to be one that reads in 1/10th or even 1/2 degrees. 1 degree readings is fine. Have an extra light bulb handy in case the one you are using goes out. You can adjust humidity by covering/uncovering part of the water dishes with Aluminum foil, but remember you need to have the ability to increase humidity at hatch time
     
  4. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ahh, having an extra bulb with the incubator is a great tip! So simple, yet it hadn't crossed my mind. Thanks a lot!
    My temp has consistently been 99-100 since last night. The thermostat kicks the light on at 99 and off at 100. And my humidity has ranged from 43% to 52% since last night, no lower than 48% since 5:30 this morning (its now 8:45).
    I do worry that my thermometer may be off, not for any reason besides that I'm a worrier. I tried to compare with a regular digital thermometer (the kind you use when you're sick) but I had to remove the top to put it in and I think that lowered the temp by about a degree.
    What if it is off by 1-2 degrees? Where is the cut off of it being okay and seriously hurting/killing the embryos? From what I've read, ideal temp is 99-100 but is there a wider range in which they should be okay?
     
  5. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My incubator was on for days, holding steady at 99-100 degrees with humidity around 45-50 percent.. so I put the eggs in today around noon. (They were delivered yesterday around noon.) As I expected, the temp and humidity dropped slightly from the top being opened. I closed it up and left it alone for a little bit. When I checked it 15 minutes later, the temp was down to 94 degrees.. what the heck?! Then I thought about what Bill 101 had written.. The light bulb! Sure enough, the bulb was bad. I replaced the bulb and all is well.
    Thanks again Bill!
     
  6. Bill 101

    Bill 101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well thanks, but I'm not sure I can take credit for that. When ever you put egg into an incubator there is a reduction in temperature. Depending on how many eggs you put in, it could take up to a couple of hours for the incubator to heat up the eggs to set temperature. During that time eggs will not be harmed by the lower than normal temperature, but all well that ends well
     
  7. blzzrdqueen

    blzzrdqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How were all your eggs when you received them? How many did you get and were all in tact?
     
  8. Serenity Lane

    Serenity Lane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought 9+ Silkie eggs and I received 10, all intact and looked pretty good to me. There is one that is noticibly smaller than the others but I assume that's the extra.
     

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