Our First Shipped Eggs - Incubation Diary

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by brownfoxfarm, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. brownfoxfarm

    brownfoxfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2012
    Rural NW Illinois
    Today should be the day. I expect to hear from my wonderful post master, Linda, within the next 4 hours & am praying the eggs have made it. I won these eggs in an eBay auction and they are shipping from Tennessee to NW Illinois. The seller has been terrific about communicating & very considerate - adding a heatpack even though I wasn't charged for one, shipping within just a few hours of getting payment, & getting me the tracking info as soon as she had it.

    Friday morning (2/1) I got the incubator out and set up. We use a simple Little Giant still air incubator & I hand turn. Last year we had very good success with our first Pilgrim goose eggs & I hope we get this year off to a great start with these Silkie chicken eggs. The heat stabilized quickly. We have the incubator set up in our dining room, where the temperature is pretty consistent and I can check the incubator frequently. I cover the incubator with a towel for some added insulation against possible drafts.

    Saturday I picked up a hygrometer to measure the humidity & calibrated it over the next 24 hours with the saltwater method (1/2c salt, 1/4c water mixed in a cup and set in a plastic bag with the hygrometer - reading should be 75% within 12+ hours). My gauge is -2% off, so that will need to be accounted for in all readings.

    Today is Monday, Feb. 4 - here is a photo of the reading I currently have:
    [​IMG]
    The temperature is staying around 100-100.5 and that humidity reading is 2% low. So I'm looking at 100 degrees and 58% humidity. As you can see, I have a little back-up thermometer in there as well. The digital therm/hygro is resting on a trimmed Dixie cup - to put it at about the height of the middle of an egg, while the little analog thermometer is laying flat on the bottom wire.

    For the moisture I use two Viva paper towels, which are full of warm water, just enough to not drip when you hold them. These are laid on the bottom of the incubator, under the wire. I can mist it with warm water in a spray bottle when I turn eggs, if necessary. And it can be easily replaced if it gets icky.

    So. I'll be back to update when the eggs arrive!

    Joyce Brandon
    http://brownfoxfarm.weebly.com
     
  2. brownfoxfarm

    brownfoxfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2012
    Rural NW Illinois
    The post office called at about 7AM & I picked up the box at 7:30. It was clearly labeled and undamaged. I brought it home and found the eggs safely nestled in plenty of newspaper with some flexible foam around each egg:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    They were not shipped in a carton with the small ends down, but I don't know how much difference that makes. There was an 18 hour hothands packet included, but it had lost its heat on the long trip. However, though the eggs were cold to the touch, they do not appear to have frozen - so the pack must have helped some, because it was below freezing outside the whole time.

    Next, I candled the eggs and marked the air cells. 3 eggs have disconnected air cells, 1 was not visible, and the rest have cells in various positions at the large end.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    All together we received 16 eggs. 4 buff, 3 splash, 3 blue, 2 white, 1 partridge, and 3 unknown. The auction was for an assortment from White, porcelain, splash, blue, black & possibly buff. Unfortunately, it looks like the color I was wanting most - porcelain - is not here... and I don't know where the partridge came from. I'm contacting the seller, to let them know the eggs arrived & in hopes of finding out that the unknown eggs are the porcelain.

    Over all, I am very pleased that the packaging was so good that they made it with no cracks or freezing. We'll see how things go from here.

    Joyce B.
     
  3. autumnw

    autumnw Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2011
    Indy
    Oh, wow! I will be following your post as I am doing just about the same for the first time! My eggs should come in the mail around noon and I'm also using the dry method in a little giant :) This is my first time hatching though so it will be awesome to be able to compare what I'm doing with someone who is experienced :) Good luck with your chickies!
     
  4. brownfoxfarm

    brownfoxfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2012
    Rural NW Illinois
    Last night was rough. When the eggs got up to room temperature we added them to the incubator and the temperature plummeted. We waited and watched and it seemed to be coming to a stable point again, but the humidity was now way too high. So I removed one of the moist towels. Then humidity dropped into acceptable ranges and I was pleased, but I checked it every hour and at about 7pm the temp spiked! ACK! 103 and the humidity had bottomed out at about 28%! From there on, through the middle of the night, I checked and checked, making very tiny adjustments & adding a very tiny jar of water (about the size of the cups you get with liquid cold medicine). Finally getting everything back in balance.

    I am going to try not to worry too much about this spike - because I know that is the temperature of the air & I hope that the center of the eggs didn't get all feverish in that amount of time.

    When we got up at 5 this morning the temp was 100F and the humidity was 37%. I added almost 3cc of warm water to the now dry paper towels and for the last hour we've been sitting at 100F and 49% humidity. This according to the digital thermometer. The analog thermometer is reading just a hair over 100F.

    I currently have all the eggs resting little end down in cartons. The 3 with the loose air sacks are in their own carton so I can let them rest longer. When I do finally start turning (or tipping, if I keep them all in cartons) I will get a photo of how they are resting in the incubator. Now I need to make a decision about when to start turning the others and if I'm going to leave them in their carton or lay them down like they would be in the nest.

    I've seen a number of people say that they just go ahead and lay them down, because no hen sets her eggs on point, but no hen ships her eggs through the mail either. I guess it's now time for more research. I swear, every time I use an incubator I have a greater and greater respect for the work of mother hens and mother nature! As of right now I'm looking at candling on the 11th and the 15th of February (days 7 and 11 respectively). You know... normally a week flies by before I know it. But during "Baby Time", aka hatching & lambing time, the days crawl.
     
  5. brownfoxfarm

    brownfoxfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2012
    Rural NW Illinois
    I went ahead and candled the eggs that had rolling air cells. 2 of them are still rolling and one appears to have re-attached. All the eggs with attached air cells are now resting on their sides in the incubator. The two "rollers" are still small end down in the carton. Temperatures have been pretty stable & I'm pleased with the humidity resting around 47-50%
     
  6. Overoberyl

    Overoberyl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 29, 2012
    Florida
    I think your humidity is WAY too high. I started out in the 40%'s and I had stuck chicks, drowned chicks, late quitters, finally figured out it was the humidity and now I keep it at 20% and have had 90-100% hatches from shipped eggs since. For what it's worth, I think you may have problems if you keep it that high in the early stages. At lockdown I boost mine to 60%, but I dry incubate everything until that point. I don't even add water unless it drops below 20%.
     
  7. brownfoxfarm

    brownfoxfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2012
    Rural NW Illinois
    Hmmm. I'm using a still air incubator & in the past I've only had troubles when the humidity is too low (it's way down around 25-28% in the house due to the N. Illinois winter keeping our heater running). I've lost more chicks that were cellophaned in than I have to drowning in the shell. 99% of the information I've read shows that keeping the humidity in the 50% - 58% for the first 18 days. So I'm staying well to the low end of that range. We'll see what happens, but thank you for your advice!
     
  8. Bill 101

    Bill 101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 1, 2013
    Oregon
    I would encourage you to keep doing what your doing. [​IMG] Humidity is as important as temperature, so keep it at 50-55%. The level of the humidity & thermometers are also important in a still air incubator. Air stratifies (layers) in a still air, therefore the thermometer & humidity gage should be at the same level as half way on the eggs. It sounds like you are doing right. [​IMG]
    It may say that I'm a "new egg" here, but I've been hatching for about 30 years
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013
  9. brownfoxfarm

    brownfoxfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2012
    Rural NW Illinois
    Day four dawns with great news! 10 out of 16 eggs show distinct venation. Unfortunately none of the buff eggs show any growth, nor does the egg the seller thought might be a cuckoo. BUT I am thrilled... this seems like a great milestone for a batch of shipped eggs!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Caitlin_VT

    Caitlin_VT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 3, 2011
    Vermont
    Awesome! [​IMG] I hope that my shipped eggs turn out as well as yours.
     

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