Random thought...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Fly Be Free, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Fly Be Free

    Fly Be Free Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 18, 2012
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    I know, DANGEROUS.

    But... I've been reading and studying up on how to hatch my babies when they get here.

    I've taken notes on cleanliness and bacteria. Temps and humidity. Got my bator stabilizing. No drafts, no direct sun.

    Then I get to thinking... Momma hen gets out of her nest. (there goes the constant temp and humidity). She grabs a bite, gets a drink (chats it up a bit with the other girls) takes a poop and heads back to the eggs.

    Now, not only has the temp and humidity changed but she is getting back into the 'crib' with dirty feet that just wandered and scratched through God only knows what. And yet.... they hatch.

    Let us handle them with unwashed hands and we risk killing the lil buggers. Open the bator too often or for too long.... we risk killing the lil buggers.

    Go figure.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. tec27

    tec27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can handle the eggs with dirty hands all you want. Its just when you wash your eggs and then put them in the incubator, they have a higher risk of getting bacteria in them because the protective coating around the egg has been compromised. Other than that you are good to go. Some eggs do get bacteria in them with this protective coat only because their protection isn't as strong as it should be.

    Your temp can go down to 80 degrees for a couple hours and they will still hatch. You won't kill them with staggered temps but it can delay, speed up, or even mutate the developmental process. It won't necessarily kill them.
     
  3. The Chickeneer

    The Chickeneer ~A Morning's Crow~

    I know right!! here we are washing and sanitizing with ok hatches and in comes the dirty hen and puts us all to shame[​IMG]
     
  4. Fly Be Free

    Fly Be Free Chillin' With My Peeps

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    EXACTLY! LOL Filthy feet and dingleberries on her bum. And the chicks LOVE it. [​IMG]
     
  5. cva34

    cva34 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think that way too.But I still go out of my way to be Clean and follow Guidelines....cva34
     
  6. Fly Be Free

    Fly Be Free Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh I will too. :) Can't stand the thought of not doing what is best for them. It's just so funny tho. They can handle POOP but not the oils from our hands. Just goes to show, God's design is truly amazing.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Then I get to thinking... Momma hen gets out of her nest. (there goes the constant temp and humidity).


    A hen has to leave the nest for food, water, and her daily constitutional. In the summer when it is really hot, I've seen them stay off for more than an hour. In cooler weather, they don't stay off nearly as long. What you are seeing and thinking about is air temperature. That is not what is important. The egg is denser than air and cools off or warms up a lot slower. You want to avoid changes to the core temperature of the egg. Average incubating temperature is what counts, not a peak or valley in air temperature around it.

    A few years back, someone on this forum stuck a hygrometer under a broody hen. I know this was not a scientific study with controls and lots of repetitive studies to verify results, but she saw the hen control humidity on her eggs. How the hen does it, I don't know. But again it is average humidity that counts, at least until the egg pips. The egg has to lose a certain amount of moisture during incubation. How much moisture is lost is controlled by average humidity over the whole process, not a snapshot in time.

    I don't have the instincts of a broody hen. All I can do is stabilize the incubator to try to get my average incubating temperature right. Opening the incubator to add water or candle is not going to affect the core temperature of those eggs and the humidity will come back up pretty fast. They don't cool off that fast. I avoid drafts and direct sunlight so I can keep the average temperature about right. Those incubators are pretty well insulated. If they get too hot the air temperature doesn't cool off as fast as when the broody stands up.


    Now, not only has the temp and humidity changed but she is getting back into the 'crib' with dirty feet that just wandered and scratched through God only knows what. And yet.... they hatch.


    The bloom does help a lot, but it is not perfect. If the eggs are dirty, the bacteria can still get through the bloom. In an incubator, as long as the incubator is clean and you keep your hands clean when you handle the eggs, the bloom is less important. If bacteria are not present, bacteria won't go through the porous shell. If bacteria are present, even if the bloom is intact, it might find its way through the shell. So the safest thing to do is to keep it clean and have clean hands when you handle them.

    I've read that the oils in a hen's feathers have an anti-bacterial effect. An egg under a broody can still go bad, but with the bloom and the oils from her feathers, she has some advantages over me. Hatcheries sterilize their incubators between hatches to get then really clean and they wash the eggs to get them clean. They wash them in a certain solution that mimics the oils in the hen's feathers. But they do everything they can to keep the incubator and the eggs clean.

    I can't do what a broody hen does. I don't have the instincts or built in natural ability. All I can do is try to follow the things that have been proven to give me a better chance of a good hatch. That does not always work.

    Dangerous as it is, keep thinking. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, but a lot of the times, it's nothing worse than a minor headache.
     
  8. JenBirdRansom

    JenBirdRansom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been sitting and watching my first batch of eggs in the incubator and wondering exactly the question you asked. Not that I ever second guessed the fact that it needs to be 99 degrees and prefect humidity....etc, etc, etc. but a crazy bird can plop her fluffy butt right down on those buggers and POP out come the chicks. Dang. Whoddathunkit.
    [​IMG]
     

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