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Ok, I finally broke down and bought an incubator-now what?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by fowlweatherfriends, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. fowlweatherfriends

    fowlweatherfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Little Giant still air with no turner ran $50 in my neck of the woods. I broke down and bought it because my Silkie eggs are almost here and Charlotte has not turned into a full blown broody mood yet.

    Questions:

    How do I control the humidity?

    What should the humidity be?

    And what's the cheapest method for determining humidity (can I find it at a Wal Mart)?

    There is no egg tray-do I need one?

    Do I put shavings down on the wire rack or leave the wire rack plain?

    Any advice for the best amount of times to turn eggs, and do I just "roll them over" since I don't have the egg tray?
     
  2. Chickie

    Chickie Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi You put more or less water in to control the humidity. Hygrometer's measure the humidity and are a reasonable price. The humidity should be 50% for the first 18 days and 70% for the last three days. Eggs should be turned 5 times a day, I did mine three times and they were ok. It has to be an odd number of times. I didn't have a turner and just rolled them over by hand. I only set 4 eggs and 2 chicks hatched last night and another is on its way.
    Good luck with your hatch!!
     
  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, Take a deep breath, its gonna be ok.

    Make sure to get your unit set up and the temp up to 101 for the type you have (still air) Once it is up to that temp. Add the water recommended by the MFGR to the tray in the bottom. You want it up and running well before you get your eggs. When the eggs get there let them rest for 8 hours or so. You want to make sure the incubator is stable before adding eggs and then having to fiddle with the temp.
    Try to locate your unit in a place that does not get direct sunlight or near a heater vent. I use a closet. Remember on those units the temp adjustment is very sensative so move it in little increments.

    Place the eggs on the wire rack in your incubator and set you Thermometer/Hygrometer inside the unit. You can get an accurite for around 9 dollars at WalMart. That is the most important thing you will buy. Trust me! Some people mark an x on one side of the egg and an O on the other but I used to just go in and roll the eggs with the flat of my hand. Its quick and works just as well. You must roll the eggs 3-4 times per day. Right after each meal and before bed is when I did it. Keep your temp at 101 for 18 days with humidity to 50% then on day 18 raise the humidity to 70%. You can increase humidity by adding a damp sponge or wet paper towels rolled up or a sock. Any thing dense.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-hatch.html

    Don't forget our " How to" pages on the website there is a wealth of information there and it can set your mind at ease.
     
  4. fowlweatherfriends

    fowlweatherfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for your replies! I am worse than a first time expectant mother lol!
    My other OEGB momma is doing a superb job setting her clutch (due any time now). There was SO much less worry doing this with a real hen. All we have to occasionally do is hand offer her water and food as she is nearing the end and will not come off the nest.

    I had never even seen an incubator before til I took it out of the box today. And I have to say I was really surprised that it is made only from styrofoam. With five children, I will have to make extra sure they don't mess with the bator (when not in use) as it seems fragile.

    I will check this site for more detailed info on the bator. I am still learning how to navigate the site as it seems there is WAY more chicken info than I ever imagined lol!
    Thanks,
    mom to some REALLY spoiled hens!
     
  5. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Newbie egg hatcher here. What is the purpose of letting the eggs rest before putting them in the bator? What temperature do you let them rest at? Does this apply to shipped eggs or all eggs?
     
  6. fowlweatherfriends

    fowlweatherfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wondered the same thing myself:Why wait for the eggs to settle? What does that do for the egg?

    And here's another ?...When the hen sets the clutch, I imagine she naturally moves the eggs herself by shifting and rolling the eggs during the 18th to 21st days. If that is so, then why is it so important for us to not roll the eggs or handle them at the last few days?

    I am so full of questions-worse than my children lol!
     
  7. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    During shipping the air sac will tend to distort. So letting them set (pointy side down) before exposing them to heat allows them to stabilize and also allows the embryo to stabilize again. I do it at room temp and never have a problem. Many recommend doing it at 50-55 degrees.

    Actually a chicken knows when the chick is in the final stages of development and will not roll eggs. If you roll eggs in the final days the chick will likely be misaligned and not be able to break the air sac and drown, or not be able to break the shell and die.
     
  8. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great Answer kstaven. That is exactly right. Mama hens can feel what is going on in their eggs. They know when to stop turning and they usually don't leave the nest during that time in order to maintain the proper temp. position of the egg and humidity through her skin. They are amazing little creatures and you have to admire their fortitude. The little chick starts to pip the internal membrane on or around day 18 and the hen can feel and hear that happening.

    As to resting the eggs, remember again, replicate what mama does. She lays 6+or- eggs leaves them there for the days it takes to get her clutch then sets. They did not get packaged, bounced, jumbled and shaken to get ready to set. Stablizing the eggs is a way to get it settled back to where it should be.
     
  9. Chickens-246

    Chickens-246 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, I didn't know about resting first. I put them right from the box into the incubator. The incubator had been on for two days stabilizing. Will this have a large impact on the hatch rate?
     
  10. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    How much your final hatch is effected will depend on how the eggs where handled during shipping. My personal experience has been that, setting eggs after shipping gives me better hatch rates.
     

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