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The Little Incubator on the Prairie -- an incubation diary

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by PrairieChickens, Jan 23, 2014.

  1. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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.

    [​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]
    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!
     
  2. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    P.S. You can follow the scintillating egg-turning action on my webcam HERE!
     
  3. backyardflock1

    backyardflock1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I actually have the same exact incubator and same automatic turner, lol! [​IMG] I have only used it once with 7 eggs (shipped to me) and got a 5/7 hatch rate, which is great considering they were shipped. In my opinion it is a great incubator!
     
  4. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad to hear it! I tried to do my research before hand, so when my hubby which one I wanted, I was able to send him the link to this one with a fair amount of confidence. Hopefully I get a good hatch out of this batch!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Nana D

    Nana D Out Of The Brooder

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    Congratulations!! On your new incubator. I am looking forward to seeing how it all works out for you. I have made a homemade incubator, tho in the past I have always ordered my babies and raised them. We currently have 4 hens that I raised last year. Sweet girls they are. We just added a rooster a few weeks ago. I have not seen him breed any of the girls yet. They seem to look at him like he is crazy,Poor guy. I pulled 3 eggs two days ago and set them up in the incubator I made. So far all is going well. I will try to candle them in a few more days. Crossing my fingers Rooster is doing his job. lol
    My goal is to be able to hatch my own then move onto the more rarer of the breeds as well.
    I wish you well..
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
  6. Nana D

    Nana D Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2014
     
  7. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very groovy! I wish you luck! Don't fret too much about not seeing the rooster breed the hens--in my experience, they will often wait until we're not looking to do their thing, and it only takes one mating to fertilize a couple of weeks' worth of eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  8. PrairieChickens

    PrairieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2012
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    January 24, 2014

    Today is my birthday!

    I got two more decent eggs from my girls today, so I went ahead and added them to the incubator, bringing my total up to a nice, even 20. I won't be adding any more after today to avoid a staggered hatch.

    I managed to rig up a way to candle the eggs and take a picture. Next time I think I will use a tripod to reduce the motion blur. Of course, after only 24 hours, there isn't much to see, but that dark dot... could that be...?

    [​IMG]
    After 24 hours of incubation

    Am I just imagining things, or does that dark dot mean a growing cluster of cells? Time will tell!

    And is it weird that I find the soft hum of my incubator to be a very soothing sound?
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  9. cmonkey4

    cmonkey4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Happy birthday! I hope your hatch goes well! I am ordering chicks, and have a home-made incubator that I plan to use when the hens start laying!
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Nana D

    Nana D Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been checking two eggs a day to see if they are fertile prior to my cooking breakfast out of them. Only one this week was fertile.
     

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