January 23, 2014 My husband knows me well. He did not buy me diamonds or fancy chocolates or flowers for my birthday... he bought me an incubator. It is my first, and to my inexperienced eye, it seems like a good one. A Hova-Bator "Genesis" with an automatic egg turner. (Purchased HERE) It arrived today, the day before my birthday, and I eagerly set it up before leaving for work. Heart and stars sold separately... After some fiddling and fussing, I managed to find a space for it... No small task in my cramped home office, but it was done! I got the incubator set up and running, and after several hours, the humidity seems to have stabilized at 53%. I should be able to add eggs before bed. As for the eggs, I opted for the freebie eggs provided by my mixed flock for this first batch of incubated chicks. I have collected 18 eggs from my hens for this experiment, although to be honest, at least half of them are probably less than ideal candidates for incubation for various reasons. Some are a few days old, or may have been washed before I was able to set them aside (we're really not sure which ones Dad washed or not, but since we don't usually wash our eggs, our odds were good.) Others were laid in the bitter cold weather, and I'm not entirely sure they were collected in time before chilling beyond redemption. I decided to include them anyway, just in case, in addition to the selection of ideal eggs I'd assembled for this experiment. Worst case scenario, they don't hatch, and I have to pitch a few eggs. Best case scenario, I get bonus babies. I can barely contain my egg-citement! Among the eggs I have selected to set are eggs from my black sexlink, production reds, Easter Eggers, buff Orpingtons, and one bantam cochin. Most of the eggs are mysteries, as I wasn't there when they were laid, and we have a fairly large flock. I'm only disappointed that our Polish Crested aren't laying right now--I've been hoping for some mutt babies from them since we got them, and we could sure use some more white egg layers in our flock! One thing I hope to remedy at some point soon is my lack of a decent candler. My flashlight has proven insufficient to keep me informed on the happenings inside of eggs in the past, and I would like to be able to post pictures as the embryos develop. That will be considerably more challenging without a bright enough light. If all goes well and I have a good hatch, my next ambition is to acquire and hatch some rarer eggs, like Ameraucana and Marans. We've wanted chicks of these varieties for years, but availability has been limited. Hopefully with an incubator, we'll have greater access to varieties that would otherwise be out of reach for us. I will keep you posted!