1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Set my very first eggs on 12/25. What now?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by NickyPick, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

    672
    34
    151
    Sep 18, 2010
    Cypress, TX
    I got an incubator (Genesis 1588) for Christmas and promptly put 24 eggs in it. What do I look for now in keeping an eye on everything? Do I need to candle? How often do you have to refill the water in the bottom? I worry a bit about opening it because when I was getting the temperature up to 99, I opened the top to add the eggs and the temperature dropped all the way to 87 before slowly moving back up. Is it ok to have drops like that? It's kinda like when the hen gets up to eat, drink and poop, right?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,935
    3,093
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You're liable to get all kinds of suggestions and recommendations. When I got my 1588 I read the instructions and did what it said. The instructions were pretty clear. Put water in the middle reservoir. When it goes dry, put more water in. When you get to lockdown, put water in the additional reservoirs it shows. I don't mean to sound harsh. You've probably already read the instructions and all that. But you might be surprised how many people load the incubator without reading the instructions.

    We all have different conditions and different things work for each of us. I was pretty consistent the first time I hatched, looked at what the results were, and tweaked it a bit. But I was consistent so I had a better idea of what to tweak. If you are all over the place, you don't really know what might or might not have influenced the hatch.

    Do you NEED to candle? No, you do not NEED to. It's fun and educational to do it. You can learn more about the incubation process if you candle, but the eggs will hatch the same whether you candle or not. Some people may tell you that you need to candle eggs to tell if one is going to explode. I disagree. Candling won't really tell you, though it might give an indication. You need to sniff the eggs occasionally. The egg shell is porous. If the egg is going bad, you can tell. Very few eggs ever explode. When they do, it is a real mess. On the really rare occasion on does go bad, you can find them by the sniff test more than any other way.

    I think it is a great idea to have a good thermometer and hygrometer to tell you temperature and humidity. Do not depend on either one unless you have calibrated it. Your thermometer needs to be one accurate to within 0.1 degree. Those thermometers meant for outside are only good to within 1.0 degree. I don't know where you can find one that accurate on the shelf. I ordered mine from Cutler Supply. I don't worry too much about the actual humidity in the incubator. I use my hygrometer to tell me when the reservoir is out of water and I need to add more. Some people really obsess about getting the humidity exactly spot on, but I don't. Here is how to calibrate your instruments.

    Rebel’s Thermometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/ThermometerCalibration.html

    Rebel’s Hygrometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/HygrometerCalibration.html

    Don't worry a lot about the temperature and humidity dropping when you open it. The center of the egg is pretty dense. Even if the air cools off a lot, the egg itself takes a long time to actually cool off. With both temperature and humidity, it is the average over the incubation period that counts, not one particular moment in time. Obviously you don't want to take the top off and leave it off for long periods of time, but the time to add water, turn them, or candle them will not cause any problems. Just use common sense.

    I hope you got the turner. That makes it so much easier. If you did not get an automatic turner, you need to turn them several times a day. If you are unclear on that, get back to us.

    A word of warning or advice. Don't overstress about it. Enjoy the experience. You will possibly get some suggestions or recommendations about what to do, sometimes with the admonition that the world as we know it will end if you don't do exactly as people say. It's not really that desperate. Consider the recommendations, mine as well as others, as guidelines, not absolute laws of nature. The guidelines are there to improve your odds of success. They don't guarantee either success or failure. I don't follow all the guidelines I know. I'm sure I don't even know a lot of the guidelines so I don't know if I am following them or not. Some of us have failures although we do everything right as far as we know. Some of us do real well even if we do some things wrong. It's sort of like driving to the grocery store. If you follow the guidelines for safe driving, you improve your odds of not having an accident. But that does not mean that something won't happen, whether from mechanical or what someone else does. And just because you run a red light or don't come to a full stop at a stop sign does not mean you will definitely have an accident, but your odds of an accident increase. So just do the best you can and don't obsess about it. You will probably be OK.
    Don’t forget to post pictures when they hatch.
     
  3. Delilah1337

    Delilah1337 Chillin' With My Peeps

    521
    3
    113
    Sep 6, 2011
    Spirit Lake, Idaho
    I set 3 Silkie eggs the same days as you [​IMG] This is my first time hatching too so this should be fun [​IMG] My Silkie Eggs may not hatch because they were the first eggs from the hen but I thought I would give it a shot. I put 5 RIR Eggs in on Monday and those have a much better chance at hatching. We will have to keep each other posted on how things go.

    Good Luck!! [​IMG]
     
  4. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,286
    25
    193
    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    Yup, minor temp drops like that are nothing to worry about at all. Remember that your thermometer is only measuring the air temp inside the bator, which will obviously cool down much more quickly than the centre of the eggs, which is the important bit. If your temp drops to 80 but climbs back to 99 within half an hour, the internal temp of your eggs will likely have dropped only a tenth of a degree or so. But in any case, people have had power outages and stone cold eggs which have been warmed back up and still gone on to hatch. They're a lot more resilient than you'd think!

    Anyway, keeping a steady temp should be a breeze with your bator - the Genesis 1588 is probably one of the most recommended and most liked bators out there so you shouldn't have any technical problems with it. What you want to watch out for is your humidity, which is easy to get wrong. If you haven't already got a hygrometer, you should get one asap, cause it really helps if you can keep an eye on humidity levels in your bator. There isn't a one-size-fits-all figure for humidity like there is for temperature, cause ideal humidity for eggs varies depending on your bator, your eggs, and your local climate, among other things. So unfortunately nobody can give you a definite answer for how often you should refill your water and what figure your humidity should be, and you should be wary of people who tell you 'for a fact' that your humidity is too high or too low, cause all they really mean is that your humidity figures wouldn't work for them. If your bator came with instructions about humidity and water refilling, it would be a good idea to follow them first!

    If you're totally in the dark about humidity, a good basic starting point is somewhere between 30% and 45% for the first 18 days, then 65%+ for lockdown and hatching. These figures won't work for everybody, but they will work for the majority of people, and you have to start somewhere.

    You don't have to candle, but most people can't resist it! I candle on days 6, 12 and 18. Most people can't see much going on before the 6th day. Some people don't candle till day 10. Some leave it till day 18. It's up to you really. Just be careful not to be too quick to remove eggs you think are duds, cause you might be wrong. And remember to wash your hands really thoroughly before handling the eggs.

    I could give you loads more info but you're probably bored stiff already. LOL! Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  5. NickyPick

    NickyPick Chillin' With My Peeps

    672
    34
    151
    Sep 18, 2010
    Cypress, TX
    Thanks - just being a nervous nellie, basically. I did read the instructions, but I guess after reading all the threads here, I started thinking there was more to it. or something else I needed to know. I added a drop of food coloring to the water in the bottom. With a clear plastic holder and a white styofoam container, I couldn't see the water down there at all!!

    I did get the egg turner, too. I'm away from the house for up to 12 hours a day, so I didn't think I'd be able to turn the eggs multiple times without it. [​IMG] I'm also using the digital thermometer/humidity thingy that came with it. I broke the glass one within 2 minutes of unpacking everything.

    I'll definitely post pics. These are my mutts (EE & BO roos with EE, BO, Brahma & Wyandotte hens) and I'm just hatching so my nephew can experience it, I can brood another group (LOVED doing that!), and my friend can get started on his own flock of backyard pets.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by