reinventing the hen?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by fowlwoman1, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. fowlwoman1

    fowlwoman1 Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    Wenatchee, WA
    I am interested in creating an incubator that more closely mimics a hen. After watching my broody hen recently and me having such horrible hatches lately, I've had the desire to make something more foolproof. I"ve had some scattered ideas for what to use for materials. Maybe there's even something out there already that I don't know about? I was thinking of using an aquarium heater that would heat a "thing" of water (maybe like a hot water bottle) over the eggs. I'm thinking that the hen doesn't really provide humidity for the eggs. I think it's just the moisture coming from the eggs trapped under the wings and feathers that creates the humidity. Of course I could use a humidity gauge to confirm that. I was thinking wool or polar fleece material between the hot water bottle and eggs. I saw how the hen around day 19, when she must have heard the first chirps under her, tried to sit like a rock and not let me look under her. I"m sure that's to keep the humidity higher. If you guys have any ideas or information or if you just want to tell me I'm an idiot, then let me know. Thanks!
  2. sticks22

    sticks22 Songster

    Aug 5, 2008
    Grove, oklahoma
    I think that your ideas are workable but have you thought about a heatig pad instead of the water bottle idea? Maybe you could put a digital thermometer in with the eggs to keep track of the temps. A digital thermometer usuall has a wire that you could stretch out and then you could set the digital meter part on the table so you could tell the teputure at a glance. Just my thought.
  3. YeOleBroodie

    YeOleBroodie Songster

    Jul 11, 2008
    Quote:The one thing I will disagree on, is moisture. After watching 4 of my broodies real close this year, they do get moisture other than from the eggs.

    Where as we humans are using the last 3 days before hatching to raise moisture. I started to notice a trend with them. On the 5th day they started to bath longer by staying on one side, as if absorbing moisture from the ground, then flip and do the other side. This was amazing to me, so I watched all them a lot closer from then on. Sure enough they all grabbed that 5th day to start gaining more moisture in their feathers.

    I could watch this closely due to the fact they are all tame and totally accepted me there. Also I took each one out for their time out all along. They will not go in their area even tho each had their own 3 x 8 area and an outside run also. So I had no choice but to take the spoilt ladies out.
    Yes they even had a choice of where they wanted to bathe and heaven help me if I forgot who wanted which area. I would get yelled at. [​IMG]
    I kept notes on it and sure enough, all 4 gals had picked day 5 to do this long sided bathing.

    Two Broodies, I did not take out on the last day, they wanted to sit tight so I let them. After all, they knew better as to if they had to go or not. When the hatch was on, those same two gals each had a baby that was stuck in the shell. I grabbed the egg/baby out from under and proceeded to help and got them out. It was two babies with in mins. of each other hatching, in two different nests and it was hot that day! So hot that the water in the hose was hard to touch as it came out.

    So I really believe the heat (drying them out) had a lot to do with that problem. Poor mom's had no way to get moisture to them.
    I still believe if I had insisted that they came off the nest, those babies would have hatched as easy as the rest they had. These were the last ones to hatch, for both the hens, but on a very hot day.

    So with the last two broodies, that were about a week behind, I took them off the nest once a day regardless, even as the hatch was starting to happen. None of those babies needed helping and it was still hot out too.

    Now this is just my experience, someone else may disagree. All I know at the time it was hot, babies needed help, Moms tended to their eggs/chicks and let me do without concern.
    The 5th day before hatch tho., seemed to be a magic number with these gals. Thats when they did what I call the "flip flop" bathing.

    Sorry for being so long winded but had to share this with you.

    Good luck

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