One-time setting versus in-and-out rotation?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LTygress, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2012
    I've noticed everyone on these forums will gather (or purchase) several eggs, and put them all in the incubator at once.

    But for the past month or so, I've been putting eggs in as I find them. Does anyone else do this?

    With only four hens (two of which I can't find their eggs anymore, and they are absolutely free-roam making it very difficult) I only get about two eggs per day. But I put them in the incubator immediately, and then take them out once they hatch. I've only had three bad eggs - one that was underneath a shed long enough to get caked with mud before I even found it, one that was a double-yoke, and a third that simply wasn't fertilized. All of the others have hatched just fine.

    I've just began my third week of the chicks actually hatching. I've had some pip while others were zipping, and others zipping while I removed the dry ones. But it doesn't actually seem to affect them to open it and remove one if I need to. I use a Little Giant incubator with an egg turner, but two trays have been removed for the non-turning days (last three days of incubation). As I gather eggs, I use a mechanical pencil to write the hatch date on them, so I know when to take them out of the turner and put them on the wire. And yes, it is a constant rotation. I'm always adding new eggs, I'm always removing eggs from the turner, and removing chicks from the incubator.

    Once the chicks are completely dry, I put them in an old rabbit cage with wire sides and a plastic bottom, filled with recycled paper bedding. There they have a heat lamp, a food dish, and a water dish. Once they are about 4-5 days old, they are moved to a very large outdoor hutch with another (stronger) heat lamp, food dish, water dish, and perches. There they can meet the free-range flock who come around there every morning for their feed.

    Although we stopped a few days ago until we can allow the current group to finish hatching and find out how many are hens (we plan to sell most of the roosters). I'll also use that time to give the entire incubator a scrub-down. But aside from those three above (which were not going to make it anyway), I've had a 100% hatch-rate with no problems at all.

    I'm also hoping this is a good way to ADD them to my current flock. Since they have absolutely no fences or pens to contain them at all, I don't want an entire set of newly-released chicks running in a different direction with it's own dominate rooster, and creating a second flock. I figure this way I can add them one at a time - as they become old enough to join the others - and yet learn to also be submissive to my current top rooster.

    But mostly, I'm just curious to know if anyone else does this. What was good or bad about it for you? And if you don't do this, why not?
  2. Glasshen

    Glasshen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2012
    La Fayette, NY
    It sounds like you have quite a system there, and I will be interested to see how it works for you. I know I sometimes want to know THE way to do things, and I ask here and get a range of answers. That has taught me that if I use my head and stay alert to what is happening, that is all I can do. I have gotten exactly opposite answers from people within seconds of each other. I think there are less absolutes than we would be comfortable thinking there are.

    What all that means is, go for it, try it, if it seems like it's not working too well, you will find a way to fix it.
  3. cmfarm

    cmfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Elgin, TX
    I perfer to hold eggs for a week or 2 as I gather eggs. I find it easyer with less stress and clean up to have them hatch in larger batches.
  4. TenOC

    TenOC Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 26, 2012
    Are 2 week old eggs too old to hatch ????
  5. lareynadenada

    lareynadenada Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 29, 2011
    Blackfoot Idaho
    Not according to my husband he says 3 weeks is ok,,,,,plus the hen lays eggs everyday until she thinks she wants to set then stops laying
  6. hallerlake

    hallerlake Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2010
    Some people use a larger incubator that they can add eggs to every three days, and a smaller incubator for the last three days.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  7. cathiesue

    cathiesue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2011
    Collinsville, OK
    Been thinking of this myself. Staggered hatching has it's benefits. I'd want a second incubator to use as a hatcher. Maybe a week to 10 days between hatches. Has anyone else tried this with 2 incubators?

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