Substrates in bators/hatchers?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Bettacreek, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. Bettacreek

    Bettacreek Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 7, 2009
    Central Pennsyltucky
    Well, when I was tossing my bator together and using whatever was laying around out of desperation, I ended up using chicken scratch grain to fill the bottom of the bator. I'm stuck on the idea of having a "substrate" on the bottom to help keep temps stable (it really seems to be working). BUT, I have a problem. I'm making a seperate hatcher, but I'm wondering, how do I keep everything sterile? I'm probably going to switch the scratch grain out and put sand in later (probably after the first batch hatches, and then just toss the grain outside for the birds), and I can bleach the sand and rinse it out every once in awhile, but, I'd like to figure out a way that I can have my sand and not have to sanitize it after every use. Any ideas? I was thinking about using the towel/cheese cloth method that I asked about earlier, and just placing that on top of the sand, but just wondering if anyone else has any bright ideas.

    And, just an FYI, my heat source will always be from the bottom (I just think it's more effective this way.) So the heat radiates up through the sand/grain to the eggs, keeping the top and bottom nice and warm (top from the air temperature).
  2. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    I don't worry about sterile. Chicks hatch in all sorts of nests if the hens are allowed to choose a spot. I have never seen a hen choose a sterile spot to incuate and hatch her eggs yet. I use fresh bermuda hay as nesting material and as brooder flooring after the first few days of feeding them ground up crumbles on paper towels and they are eating out of the feeders well. The poop seems to dry out fast on the straw. I don't change it all every day, just sprinkle a thin layer of hay over the old poop for a few days and then change it. I put newspaper under the whole mess before I put chicks in. I put a thick layer of paper and only pull out a few sheets at a time at changing time, just enough to roll up the hay in. Makes changing the hay bedding super quick and clean. A tiny handful goes a long way.

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