Newbie With Questions

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PluckyClucker99, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello! I haven't been on BYC for a few months, but now that I am starting to post again, I have a few questions about hatching my first batch of chicks.

    Currently, I have 3 Barred Rock pullets, 1 RIR pullet, and 1 RIR cockerel (was supposed to be a strictly laying flock, 3 BR and 3 RIR pullets, but one was lost during shipping and the roo was a mistake. Now I am glad, though, because I can hatch and sell my own chicks!) They were born early May and all started laying around early November. Would it be wise to hatch eggs, even though they are still relatively young (they haven't had their first real molt yet, so it could be any day, and I want to kind of have a reliable source of eggs to hatch so I can pick the best ones.) Should I let them molt or just go ahead and start incubating soon? I live in the north, so I was thinking if I collected eggs and started incubating mid-March, they would be hatched and in the brooder early-late April. I would probably sell them when they are a month and a half (late May-early June) or so so they are started and I have a chance to reasonably guess on the RIR chicks genders. I would sex the Black Stars, of course, right after they hatch. Would the BR pullets or RIR pullet hatch the eggs? Or should I incubate them (I will probably do this anyway, as it will still be really cold)

    I would like the need to know facts about incubation, as I have absolutely no experience with hatching. What I do know: you have to keep the tempature and humidity at an extremely precise level, you can only wait up to a week of storing the eggs before you have to put them in the incubator, the hatch rate for non-shipped eggs is about 80% (which is about what mine should be, more or less), eggs take about 21 days to fully hatch, they start to pip around 18 days, eggs must be turned three times a day up to day 18, should be candled about a week after entering the incubator for dead embryos. Anything else that is extremely important?

    I will post questions as I think of them. Thanks to everyone who helps!
     
  2. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Hello there and welcome to the wonderful world of incubation!

    Temperature depends on what kind of incubator you are using. If you are using a still air incubator you need average temp of 101-102 (near the top of the egg). If you are using a fan forced air bator, you need an average temp of 99.5. Most people prefer their eggs to be a week old or less to incubate. Most recommendations will tell you up to 10 are best and anything over 2 weeks starts decreasing the hatch rate. Humidity is not a precise number. As a matter of fact some of us do a dry incubation for the first 17 days before upping the humidity at lockdown, (day 18). A good share of people strive for 40-50% humidity. My theory is to monitor the egg's air cell's for proper growth and help in how to adjust humidity. (Many people have different beliefs and theories as to the "right way" to do everything in hatching. Most things are a matter of finding what works for you and what you are comfortable with. Temp and high enough humidity at lockdown and turning the eggs are certainties.) You start counting day one 24 hours AFTER the eggs have been set. So, if you set the eggs at 10 am on a Monday morning day one does NOT start until 10 am Tuesday morning, day 2 10 am Wed morning and so on. Basically if you set them on a Monday you can generally expect action three weeks later on that Moday. (Note: 21 days is an average. Some eggs will hatch earlier, some may hatch later. Temp averages over the incubation time can affect this. Always have two thermometers in your bator to check against each other. Never rely on just one thermometer and never rely on the factory installed incubation gages unless they have been checked for accuracy. If you are hand turning, yes, they need to be turned at least three times a day, the more the better but always an odd number so they are not spending the nights on the same side every night. I'm a candling addict so I tend to candle more than the average hatcher. I would recommend at least candling on the 3 designated days to check air cell growth (7/14/18). I will share the chart that I use to compare air cells to:

    [​IMG]
    If your air cells are smaller than they should be at these days it signifies that your humidity is too high and the egg is not loosing enough moisture. This can cause chicks to drown at hatch time. In this case you know you would need to decrease the humidity so that the moisture can escape from the egg and the air cell will increase. If your air cells are significantly bigger at these times than the chart shows you know that your humidity is too low and the egg is loosing too much moisture too fast. This could lead to chicks being shrink wrapped by the membrane at hatch. In this instance you would increase your humidity to slow down the moisture loss.

    At day 18 you go into lockdown. You stop turning the eggs, open your vents/plugs, and up your humidity. At this point you want to leave the bator shut unless you need to add water, sponges whatever you need to do to keep humidity up. If your hatch is on time generally you will see external pipping day 19-21. It can take up to 24 hours after a pip to actually hatch. Some eggs zip within hours, others you won't see action from for 20+. It's just a matter of waiting.

    I'm sure you will think of a ton of questions between now and hatch and there are a ton of people that are willing to give their opinions and let you know how they do it and what works for them, so don't hesitate to fire away with the questions..lol
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Jessshan8

    Jessshan8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  4. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great information, thank you so much! Could I start collecting in mid-March, or should I wait until April or May (I live in Wisconsin)? Would it even matter?
     
  5. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Depends when you want to set them for incubation. A lot of people won't incubate eggs that are over a week. The general recommendation is 10 days old or less. Most agree that over two weeks the eggs hatchability significantly decrease. Still you have others that claim successful hatches of older eggs.
     
  6. Jessshan8

    Jessshan8 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It would depend on where you will put the chicks once hatched. If inside is not an option I would wait. Either way you will need to set up a brooder to keep the little ones warm!
     
  7. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I got my flock, I set them up in my garage, and they were fine, but that was a month later than I plan to set them up this year. So I think I would put the in either our horse barn or in the garage again. I need suggestion on where to put the incubator? Garage? Barn? Basement (not heated)?
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    There are some "must read" articles in the learning center. I believe the title you want is "hatching 101" It covers EVERYTHING!. The only thing I have to add, is make double sure that you have an accurate thermometer. Then, make triple sure! I usually have a minimum of 3 thermometers in my incubator, and all are calibrated to a medical digital, or an old fashioned medical mercury bulb.

    Moving on to your roo and hens: All of your PBR eggs will hatch into lovely black sex link chicks! You'll be able to sex them immediately at hatch. Excellent benefit if you intend to sell chicks! I love my home grown black sex links! This year's batch have pea combs and lay lovely dark blue-green eggs!
     
  9. PluckyClucker99

    PluckyClucker99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your black sex links lay blue-green eggs and have pea combs? Wow! What breeds are their parents and grandparents? Just RIR and BR? I was under the impression my sex links would lay brown eggs and have a single comb.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  10. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    You want your incubator in a room where the temp is steady, there are no drafts and where it is not in direct sunlight. What kind of incubator are you using? I would definetly not suggest using a styrofoam bator in a place that wasn't heated as the room temp affects the bator's ability to hold temps greatly. You can brood in a garage or barn as long as the brooder is not where there are any drafts and a heat source is provided for the chicks.
     

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