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newbe question

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by choopes, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. choopes

    choopes Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2010
    my farm South Alabama
    Hello. I am new to the forum. I have a few that I am raising as egg layers. 5 hens. 3 roosters, one goose. I plan to get rid of at least one rooster. I have raise all these from baby chicks. All just shy of a year old. All hens are laying, but none were sitting. So i bought an incubator to try my hand for the first time. 7 hatched out of 16. Is that normal? What is a good surface to place the eggs on on the incubator to hold them upright? Can I use an old egg carton? I bought the incubator with no fan. Would addition of a fan help hatching ratio? The babies are 2 days old now and seem to be doing well. I plan to load up the incubator and do another batch, before it gets really cold.
    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    King George, VA
    [​IMG]!!!

    You have some very good questions here. You mention having a still-air (no fan) incubator. The most common brands for these seem to be the Little Giant (LG) and the Hova-bator (various models). Between the two, the Hovas seem to do much better in terms of performance, but the still-air units all also seem to benefit from a fan upgrade. The issue with the still-air is a lack of circulation within the unit, leading to pockets of various temperatures throughout. Adding a fan will keep the air on the move, allowing the thermostat to work at it's best...giving you a more accurate reading and better control.

    If you set 16 eggs and 7 hatched, that is a 43.75% hatch rate. If these were shipped hatching eggs, you'd be doing alright, but for your own home-grown fertile eggs, you'd like to see better. A variety of things could impact your hatch rate, though, not just the incubator. What type of plan to do have in place for your humidity control? Are you measuring the humidity and temperature throughout, or just at certain points (i.e. opening the bator to check)? Using a more precise digital incubator thermometer (in addition to one that might have come with the bator) is highly recommended, as is a separate device for checking your humidity levels.

    That said, you would probably find improvement after adding the fan. Peeps on the BYC seem to have great success with this and it doesn't seem overly complicated. For holding the eggs upright, you could use a carton, cut down to about 1/3 of it's prior height, but you need to be able to turn the eggs until Lockdown. Auto-turners can be great for the first 18 days and can reduce the need to open the lid.

    Good luck and happy hatching!
     
  3. choopes

    choopes Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Nov 4, 2010
    my farm South Alabama
    The incubator I'm useing is a little giant. I'm useing a digital thermometer. Humidity is usually upper 20's to lower 30's. I'm is Southern Alabama, so it's usually humid here even this time of year. I would put water in the bottom every 2 or 3 days, and turn them 3 times a day. One of the babies strugled to break out, and had to be helped after a few hours of not being able to break the membrane. They all look like coo-coo moran. That one rooster sure gets around.
     
  4. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm Premium Member

  5. LaurenM23

    LaurenM23 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2010
    King George, VA
    With the LG, I would really consider adding the fan. Lots of folks on here have increased their success rate with the LGs significantly by doing this. It doesn't sound too complex or expensive (if you can find a post by a BYC member whose name escapes me (farm is "Confederate Money Farm"), he has great videos for the install). I started out with an LG still-air and had horrific hatches...try 3 out of 16 and 2 out of 14! I've kept it and have played with the idea of adding things to try it out again later on. In the meantime, I've upgraded to a "stupid proof" Brinsea Ex...after the heartbreak of those other hatches, I need "plug and play" for awhile. [​IMG]

    Edited for: HAHA ^ There's just the member I was looking for!
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  6. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Cut down the egg carton so you have the ability to tilt the eggs more. My first hatch with my own eggs is running as follows. Set 24 eggs, culled 4 eggs that were clear at 19 days so they were not fertilized, of the remaining 20, 16 have hatched. Still waiting on the last 4 eggs to do something. I have 1 rooster over 16 hens.

    I also have the LG, but mine has a fan and turner.

    Of the other eggs, did you crack them open to see if they were developing or if they were ever fertilized? That would be helpful. If you have fertile 7 eggs and they all hatched, that is one thing, poor rooster performance, maybe time to cull a few as you suggested. If you had 16 fertile eggs, that means more of an incubator issue.

    Hopefully you saved the eggs so you can do an eggtopsy. If you want to get better at hatching, many folks have said that looking at the failure to hatch eggs have helped them.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. choopes

    choopes Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2010
    my farm South Alabama
    I did crack a few open after the due date. No developed chick at all, just a yellow yolk. I added a few late. That was a mistake. Each have the date they were put in the incubator, so I'm going to give it a few more days. I'm disapointed I did not get anything out of my Rhode Island red rooster. He is oldest, and dominent. The one coocoo maran rooster fathering all offspring. The trouble is, he's MEAN. He tries to fly at me when I bring the food, as he would another rooster being challenged. As soon as Reds is distracted eating, or if one of the hens wonders outside the door, he mounts her. Reds runs over to the scene, but they don't fight. There is a 2nd, less agressive coocoo maran rooster. I may keep him.
    I plan to add a computer fan to the LG box on the next go round. I saw a video on how to do this. Hope this improves the output.
    I've let the eggs stack up to see if the hens would sit. This has not happened. How cold would it have to get before the outside air tempeture would ruin the eggs for incubation? I want to wait a few days to begin the incubation, so the chicks will hatch after the Thankgiving break.
     

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