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New to Incubating and Hatching and, well, everything! Anyone want to hatch with me? *with PICS**

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mebberry4, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. mebberry4

    mebberry4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The title of the thread likely says it all [​IMG]
    I have never incubated eggs of any kind, nor have I ever owned chickens, but I can't wait! What a fun learning experience this will be!
    Here are the details:
    I am using a Hova-Bator Genesis 1588 with built in digital thermostat, thermometer and hygrometer and I have added an automatic turner.
    I also added an Egg O Meter (supposedly estimates internal egg temperature) with min/max memory and a glass candy thermometer to the incubator for comparison and peace of mind. I am also using a pretty accurate meat thermometer (although I don't want to babies to get the wrong idea about this [​IMG]) for spot checks through the vent hole in the top.
    In addition to this, I ran a length of vinyl tubing in through the notch in the side and down into the #1 water trough so I can tweak the humidity without opening the lid.
    I am wearing nitrile (powder less, latex free) medical exam gloves any time I handle the eggs to be super careful not to introduce bacteria or clog any of the pores in the shell!

    [​IMG]\

    I picked up my precious cargo from the Post Office yesterday morning! My DF was laughing at me the whole way there and especially as I was fidgeting while we were waiting at the desk. I felt like a small child going to see Santa at the North Pole! The postal worker was so nice, he handed me the box and said..."What are they?"... in a really curious, hushed voice. I proudly replied "They're chicken eggs for hatching!" and everyone seemed to get a real kick out of that.

    [​IMG]

    I immediately set them large end up in clean egg cartons to settle at room temperature. Unfortunately, we live in a very old house and have recently had our weather take a turn for the colder, so room temperature for us has been anywhere from 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. I had them settling there for about 24 hours.

    [​IMG]

    Oh and the most important part of all! I ordered 12 Buff Orpingtons (this was a last minute deviation from my original plan), 6 New Hampshires (I live here I need this breed!) and 6 Plymouth Barred Rocks. I have heard the term "chicken math" around the forums quite a bit and thought it may have referred to what I did while deciding what to order.... "Ok, 50% at best hatch rate for shipped eggs, which means if all goes well 12 may hatch and half of those will likely be roosters and the other half pullets if I am lucky and don't get all roos, so I think I might get 6 laying hens!" lol I felt like I was back in high school math class mashing the buttons on my TI-85 graphing calculator! [​IMG] Math was never my strong suit.

    I attempted candling the eggs, although I admit my set up for this is somewhat less than ideal. I tried with a strong LED flashlight as well as with a cardboard box and a spot light combo. I thought I was able to to identify intact air bubbles in most of them and some free floating smaller bubbles in a few. My hope is that by going with the longer end of the settling time range (the majority of what I have read states 12-24 hours) that I gave those bitty bubbles a chance to regroup at the top. I have also decided to delay starting the automatic turner until ~18-20 hours after starting incubation with the same thought in mind. My only real concern is that a good portion of the Orpington eggs looked like they were quite porous! Any input anyone has about this would be immensely helpful! These are not the best candling pictures as I was too excited to go set up my tripod first.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So after all this, I set the eggs in the incubator around 12:45 pm today!! The humidity dipped to ~26%, the incubator dipped to around 96 degrees and the Egg O Meter went as low as 94.2 degrees! The humidity stabilized at around 48% almost immediately with only a 4 ml addition of water in order to make up for the losses incurred while adding the eggs. The incubator's digital thermometer has stabilized at around 100 degrees (reading at the top), my glass thermometer at the level of the eggs is reading 99.5 degrees and a spot check with the (meat) thermometer in between the eggs read out at just under 100 degrees! The Egg O Meter is reading 99.9 degrees for the estimated internal egg temperature. I am holding my breath hoping these numbers hold when the sun goes down and the room cools off! [​IMG] I am using a space heater as needed to keep the mud room at stable-ish temperatures.

    [​IMG]

    Well, I think that is everything I have for details so far, but like I said this is all new to me. Anyone with advice or helpful tips, please send them my way. I need all the help I can get to make it to hatch day with the peeps safe and sound! If anyone has questions about my set-up or if I forgot any major details, please let me know.
    Thank you to everyone who has posted helpful information for us newbies on the forums! I wouldn't have had the courage to start this project without you! Join me if you would like to be hatch buddies!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  2. mebberry4

    mebberry4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update: I decided to spin all of the eggs a half turn (180 degrees) before heading off to bed tonight. Maybe this will help keep things moving and nothing sticking, but since there was no lateral movement it should still allow those air bubbles to rest and repair. I think?

    I was initially thinking of trying a dry incubation, but now I fear that because most of the eggs are so porous I should not. I have had the humidity between 44-48% all day today and it is settling back at 44% after lifting the lid to rotate the eggs. I'm not sure if I should add a bit more water for the overnight period to maintain mid to highs 40s or if I should start to let the incubator 'dry down'.

    Does anyone have any input on dry hatching methods when the eggs show a lot of pores on candling? Does anyone think that my candling pics show a large number of pores or is this actually normal for some types of eggs?
    I plan on attempting candling again on day 7, however, since I don't have a good eye for this and they are brown eggs vs. white eggs I may not be able to tell if the air bubble is appropriate for the time frame.

    Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012
  3. aveca

    aveca Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you made a really wise choice for an incubator set up..we posted a shipped egg cheat sheet and redwood how to with shipped eggs..

    in a nutshell it says this, when a hen hatches eggs she never sets them large end up the rolls them right around under her... but hens do not order shipped eggs those need special care..the both recomended methoda say shipped eggs should sit absolutly still in incubator for at least 7 days the warmpth and sitting still allows the embryo to begin to develop correctly in an unsteady environment..the constant movement with a loose air cell will not allow the embryo to make veins and begin to develope..does that make sence? its a scaled down intro. the auto turner goes on shipped eggs if air cells are healing well after 7 days..these are usually sit upright throughout incubation and hatch in cartons with hole in bottom for air circulation..some people just prop up one side of bator then the other instead of reaching inside all of the time.. hope this helps..
    e
    ggs with lot of pores are difficult but at a certian point in incubation you will know it is going well..those tend to dry down very quickly where as dark eggs like maran eggs that are thicker do not dry down easy..
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  4. mebberry4

    mebberry4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Aveca. Were you referring simply to the idea of not turning the eggs right away or the whole set up?

    I had run across the shipped egg cheat sheet in my searching on the BYC forums and that was what convinced me to wait a while longer before turning on the egg turner. The eggs sat upright for ~48 hours..... then I plugged the automatic turner in this morning before work. [​IMG]

    Should I unplug it tonight and let them sit for another few days? I want to do everything possible to ensure that at least some of these eggs hatch.

    Also, my incubator was at 44% humidity when I left for work at 6:45 am and I found it at 35% when I arrived home at 9:45 pm. I think 35% is starting to get into the realm of 'dry incubation' which I am nervous about with some of my eggs looking so porous.

    What do you think I should do? Thanks for your help!



    Edited for typos... long day & I'm sleepy
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  5. mebberry4

    mebberry4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Update: I had my first true temperature spike, I hope the eggs are still ok. I came downstairs this morning and saw the read-out on the Egg O Meter was 101.7! [​IMG]
    I don't know how accurate this thing is unfortunately, but my incubator was running about 100.0 on the digital at the top, 99.5 on the glass thermo at the level of the eggs and just under 100 on the spot check thermometer in between the eggs.

    The only thing for sure that I know definitely changed is the humidity dropping to 34%. I am looking for advice on 'dry incubation' with a little under half of my eggs appearing quite porous on candling. I think until I hear back from someone with some advice on the humidity, I will bump it back up to around 44%.

    Any advice on dry incubation with ~10 out of 24 quite porous eggs? Thanks!
     
  6. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Relax, breath, repeat! 101.7 probably won't hurt anything. In fact, when I was reading up on incubation (this is also my first hatch, I set my eggs on 3/20) 102 was actually the recommended temperature for still air incubators. The problems come when you get up to 103 or higher for prolonged periods of time. From browsing this forum, it seems lots of others have had much worse temperature spikes, like into the 104-107 range, for shorter periods of time without any apparent affect on hatch rates. My thermometers, which may or may not be accurate since I was in a bit of a hurry to set my eggs and didn't really stop to calibrate them (and because they are annoyingly both marked in increments of 2*), have read between 99.5 and 102 for the past week, usually somewhere around 100-101, and so far all of the eggs that were fertile are developing just fine.

    As for the porous eggs, there was a brief discussion on this over on the Orpington breed thread a few weeks ago. A buyer complained that the orpington eggs a BYCer sent them were "too porous" and probably wouldn't hatch because of it. The poster said that they were not any more porous than the eggs that s/he was hatching out in their own incubator at home and that they had had excellent hatch rates with them. Other posters concurred that the pictures of the candled eggs s/he posted were not unusually porous for orpington eggs and that they had never had a problem hatching eggs that were equally "porous" either. So it seems that maybe orpington eggs just run a little bit more on the porous side than some other breeds? At any rate, to my inexperienced eye none of the eggs you posted pictures of seem to be overly porous. The third one maybe a little bit, but the first two look just like the majority of the eggs I set as far as porous-ness (the only ones that were less porous were the pullet eggs, and most of them were even a bit more porous than the ones you took pictures of...at least from what I can tell on my screen).
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    As you candle day 7 and 10 look at the air cell development. Somewhere on here there is a link to sizes to days. The cell is small day 7 but by day 10 it should be about the size of a nickel. If yours is still small take the water out to let them dry out for a few days and check again. I ran 30-40% and day 10 the cells were about dime size so took out water (18-22%). Now at 11 3/4 days they look good so put some water back in. Without a turner I can maintain humidity better using either a shot glass or small tumbler. I've read you can reduce humidity by covering your water tray with aluminum foil or saran wrap, cover as much is needed to get the humidity you want.

    Here's a decent link for development and air cell size.

    http://chat.allotment.org.uk/index.php?topic=73884.0
     
  8. littlekatzz

    littlekatzz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also am trying incubating for the first time and am super excited and nervous. I had gotten a syroform incubator with turner for $20 from a friend. I bought a doz farmyard mix eggs off ebay and set them with the eggs I collected this week. they were set this afternoon. My humidity has been on the low side and I already had a small spike in temp (103.3) :/ , but fingers crossed I caught it in time. Alltogether I have 36 egg in there, if even half hatch I will be giddy. But omg am I excited!!! Im 32 going on 5 with christmas coming lol. And if anyone knows how to make 21 days go by in a week pls share :).
     
  9. mebberry4

    mebberry4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:
    You know, it is actually funny but I have found that I am a whole lot more calm than I thought I would be about this incubation. [​IMG] Ah well, you know that they say about old habits.

    I was wondering if maybe those Orpingtons just produced eggs that tended to either be more porous or just appear more porous as they are the lightest colored eggs I received. If any of these beauties hatch and I get some Orpington eggs of my own, you can bet I will be candling them regularly to see what the normal is for my chickens.

    Thank you for the input about my candling pictures. In all, there are only a few I have found that have what appears to be extreme porosity (real word?) at the large end of the egg and one or two that have it at the large and small ends of the eggs. The Orpington eggs have the largest air cells of the whole set of eggs, so I think my real challenge will be figuring out a way to keep these well hydrated while not over saturating the eggs from the other breeds.

    Good luck with your first hatch and please stop by to post updates for us on how everything goes for you!
     
  10. mebberry4

    mebberry4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:
    Thank you for the link and the info on your technique. I gave in and couldn't wait until day 7.
    I candled yesterday (day 4) and saw air cells that were already the size of a nickel on my BR and NHR eggs and on my orpingtons some of the air cells were the size of a quarter! Needless to say I am increasing my humidity, but as I mentioned in my reply to AinaWGSD I think I am going to have a hard time keeping both the orpingtons well humidified and the BR and NHR from being over saturated.

    I'm thinking some sort of mini squirt bottle that I can use to mist the orpington eggs only.....
     

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