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Anyone loading up the incubator?

Posted by sullicorbitt z5 MA (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 9, 08 at 10:13

I just set about 26 of my own flocks eggs on Friday, it's kind of exciting. Last year I had a mediocre early spring hatch w/my own eggs 60% and later in the spring two horrible hatches w/shipped eggs. The problem seems to be either too high or too low humidity. I bought a hydrometer last year and still had trouble w/sticky chicks. I had lots of fully developed unhatched mushy chicks. Now I am keeping the humidiity low and will only bump it up during the last three weeks.

My incubators are the little giant, forced air w/turner, any ideas?

I've tried to do a lot of trouble shooting w/incubator placement, humidity etc. I'm not exactly sure why my results were so low last year since the year before my rate was 80%+ with shipped eggs from several different sources.

In any case it's always an experiment, I tried to collect mostly orpington eggs since that is what my roo is but I did throw in some EE'ers in there as well.

Anyone else doing any hatching?

-Sheila


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

No...but my wife is an absolute chicken nut! She loves to buy the chicks mail order. We have had some free range chickens hatch out some chicks in the past...but have never done it in an incubator.

Our county fair chicken superintendent always hatches out eggs during the fair every year. He has a home made incubator made of plywood with a plexiglass top. The heat source is about 3 - 4 lightbulbs. The incubator is approximately 3' x 3' square and 4" tall. He has probably a 1/2" of saw dust in the bottom an the light bulbs have little shields around them so the chicks can't get burnt when they hatch.

He will put probably 3-dozen eggs in there and by the end of the fair week...most will have hatched. It is neat going down there everyday and watching the little chicks peck their way out.

I said that to say this...he doesn't appear to do anything special to get these to hatch. How much do you really need to turn the eggs? What is the optimum humidity etc, etc? Does a hen turn her eggs while she is brooding them?

Incubating eggs is something I would (well DW) love to do herself.

God Bless,

Brian


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

I have two incubators one with duck goose and turkey eggs and the other, a new top hatch, does not have anything as I cannot get the temp up max seems to be 90 deg. I was planning on using the top hatch this year because of the turner, so I am pretty bummed. I think I am going to try a towel wrapped around it. Any suggestions? FYI they are both stationed in the center of the house where the temp is pretty constant, no direct sun and the other incubator is oen of the old still air styrofoam jobs.

Last year, I just used the top hatch and had a really bad hatch, so I am going to the old standby until I can figure out all the problems. I have hygrometers for both, which I did not have last year, hopefully it helps.

Billie


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Oh, my yes, the hens turn the eggs regularly in the nest. Keeps the growing chick from sticking to one side of the shell, I guess.

I've never used an incubator, but I understand that you're supposed to turn the eggs at least twice a day if you don't have an automatic turner.

--Johanna


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Yes, the hens roll their eggs several times a day. You need to follow your incubators' recommendations as to temp and humidity, and keep the 'bator in an area free of drafts. One person here put his in a hall closet and it worked great!

We'll be setting a variety of eggs under broody hens and in the incubator next week. :)

I turn my incubator eggs three times a day by hand...I have an automatic turner, but the one time I used it I got a miserable hatch rate. So it's back to doing it by hand!

Velvet ~:>


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

We are on the second hatching this year. The first hatch wasn't very good. We set a dozen and a half eggs bought as "fertile" but from a food store. We also set a half dozen mixed breed eggs from our neighbor's flock. Our incubator only fits two dozen chicken eggs. Five chicks hatched, all from our neighbor's eggs. Guess when health food stores sell "fertile" eggs they have a different interpretation of "fertile" than I do. I had set some eggs which had been refrigerated last year and some of those had hatched - not a high percentage, about 40% so I wasn't expecting much from the health food store "fertile" eggs, but I was hoping for a few. I have a mixed flock but no rooster so I was hoping to hatch out a brown egg laying rooster and a few hens to go with him. May have to order some, it's getting pretty hard to come by plain old Rhode Island Red chickens that aren't mixed with something else.

Now we have a dozen duck eggs and a dozen mixed breed chicken eggs setting in the incubator. About another two weeks to go. They are in a Brinsea Octogon incubator with an automatic turner which rocks the whole incubator about forty five degrees one way and another. Other than checking for water every other day or so, there isn't much to do with this incubator. There are some sponges to increase humidity because of the duck eggs, so we will see if it is enough in a couple of weeks.

The first five chicks hatched out in the last batch sold within two days of hatching for $5 each!!! Guess the price of eggs being what they are these days folks are trying to grow their own now. Regular white eggs in the local grocery stores are $3.99 a dozen. The last big egg farm is in the process of closing now since they can't afford the feed so now almost all the eggs in our state have to be shipped in.


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Well it's good to see so many others are hatching or gearing up to hatch this spring.

I am also wondering about my automatic egg turner Velvet! I just took out my second bator and transfered the turner into it along w/a few newly laid mutt eggs. I am now hand turning the original batch (mostly orp. eggs), so this will definitely be an experiment w/the turner.

*When I get to the last three days of hatching I always drape a towel over the bator when I need to add water to help hold in the moisture and heat.

Wouldn't it be interesting if it was the auto turner that was ruining my hatches?

I also noticed that Little Giant isn't carrying the same turner model anymore, they have a new and improved $40 model.

I will keep you all posted on the progress and would love to hear about yours as well.

-Sheila


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Just finished testing our homemade incubator and it seems to be be holding around 98 to 102 temps, depending on which therm I look at. (grr). Maybe there is a good reliable one? any suggestions?
Anyway, I put in 24 total silkie, aracana, and cmarans and 1 gmarans. I have so many questions, but am trying to educate myself from reading posts, etc. Just an initial question I have: I am going lowtech for now, and will be hand turning. What I've done is set the eggs in 2 cartons, at an angle off of a 2x4. Is this enough turning action? or should they be placed on their side and rolled around?
Thanks for any input. Total newbie on incubators...


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

We had our first batch hatched on January 19 2008
We had to keep them in the house, because outside tempertures dropped to -51 Celsius.
( % hatched was low )

Bought 50 chicks from commercial hatchery, and hatched a second batch earlier this week, so for now I think we will have plenty .

But it is a sure sigh of spring .


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Oh wow, thanks for reminding me, ha ha! I actually saw my one guinea treading a hen the other day, I was surprised because they usually don't start doing that until April.


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

I have a couple dozen Dominque eggs ready to go in this weekend. I'm looking forward to selling some at the flea market along side my ducklings.

Had attempted to hatch 48 duck eggs, not a one hatched. Had 2 hen ducks hatch out 8 ducklings, we are down to 4. It seems like we are feeding hawks again. There is another nest that should hatch soon. I love baby ducks.

Happy chick raising!
Kitty


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

We're new to this too! I'm hand turning, too, since our auto-turner was junk! I've just split an 18 hole carton in two and turn them 3 times a day in it. The auto thing was only tilting them when it wasn't falling apart. I don't know what's best. I hope the foam carton is okay. I mist them each time too (my mom said this is what Grandma always did), but it does have water in the bottom. I hope this all works!


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Well, I'm down to 15 eggs now, I've candled and had to clean out the non developing eggs. The green/blue eggs I can't see a thing, it looks like a brick.

Next week this time I hope to have some action on these eggs but we'll see.

Glad to hear so many others are hatching :)

-Sheila


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update

Well, I've got 4 fuzzy chicks so far! three are blue and one is black. Three I think are from my black orp. pullet and one gray is a white EEr cross. I don't see any other action on the remaining eggs. I did have another chick hatch but sadly it still has the yolk sack attached and doesn't look good :(

-Sheila


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

I set 5 turkey eggs 2 days ago. I picked them up at a poultry auction and don't even know what kind of turkeys they are. But I had the itch to incubate something.
The price of hatching eggs is way up right now. I'm going to pick up some Maran eggs once everyone else gets their incubators full and the turkeys have hatched.
I use a reptile heat and humidity controller. The maker is Alife 1000 watts. It seems to be working great. And it controls the temp and measures the humidity. My husband paid $19 for it for his snakes and told me to try it with the incubater instead of playing around with the coil. I can plug up to three incubators into it at the same time. As long as I want the same heat in each one.
Good Luck with your hatches everyone!


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Good news! the chick w/yolk attached is doing well! I cannot believe it! My dh is the one who can't keep his fingers off the slow poke hatching eggs. He helped this fella out of the egg. We let it be w/the attached yolk all day yesterday, it looked like it was dying. Then last night dh took the chick out of the incubator and cleaned it up removing the sack etc. Almost immediately it started moving around and gradually started gaining strength. We gave it a little sugar water which it took happily. Now it's cheeping up a storm! I honestly didn't think it had a chance.

Just now another popped out so it has a little friend. My total hatch is 7, not the greatest % overall but the fertility was not great, and I couldn't candle the green ones to toss like the others. There are still 5 eggs left that haven't pipped and I have 4 more in a separate incubator due on Wednesday.

Since my pottery studio has taken over the basement! I had to set the brooder up in my living room lol! the nice part is we get to hang out w/the chicks and spend more time with them. They are easy to access etc. I only plan on keeping them inside for about a week, then they will get moved out to the coop w/a couple of heat lamps in one of my condo units.

Chicks just make me happy :)

-Sheila


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Well, 45 eggs are in the incubator!

Assorted banty, Frizzle & silkie eggs, assorted Americaunas, Buff Orp, Kraienkoppe, New Hampshire, Buff Laced Polish, WCB Polish & Cochin. Of course, they'll be interesting little mutants since we only have two roosters, Phoenix the Barred Rock/Americaunas mix and Scott, the Belgian d'uccle MilleFleur/Frizzle mix. :) I'm also giving Mother Nature a shot by having 5 eggs under two banty hens...I couldn't deny them their try for babies! The broody mamas' babies are due to hatch today (nothing yet), the incubator eggs on the 26th.

Two of the eggs in the 'bator are from Chicken Sister, my VERY elderly little buff cochin hen, who is at LEAST 9 years old and had stopped laying two years ago. I guess when Spring sprung, she got a little excited...I even had to take her to the vet a week ago because she was eggbound, the little stinker. I did everything I knew how and still no egg, so off to the vet we went--15 seconds and $88.00 later he had the egg out. You can bet that one and another she laid a day later are in the incubator! Here she is just chillin' on the back porch:

Normally she won't let anyone near her, she believes she is Queen Of The Wild Chickens. So once she was in the house I got some pics of her, including her little old lady wrinkled face. :)


It wasn't until I saw this picture that I realized that she is developing cataracts in her eyes, poor baby.

Velvet ~:>


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Well on top of the ducklings we had hatch out through the week, we got three little turkey poults today. I have way too many incubators set up now. My little old still air Hovabator, the Top Hatch (which has yet to live up to its name) and a GQP that I just picked up on Craigslist for $175 Yeah. Anyway about everything is loaded up and hoping to have some really good hatches. But sadly I think I have to replace my Bourbon Red tom turkey with one I have in reservees. He just does not seem to be getting the job done. He might just be too old, I really don't know. It's too bad to cuz he is so close to the Standard. Oh well, sad sigh.

Billie


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Velvet,
What beautiful pictures! how are your eggs doing????

I LOVE your chicken stories, how is your sweet "Chicken Sister"? you captured her soul with the close up picture! She is so beautiful, I may have to add her to my chicken series that will continue this summer.

How's everyone else's hatches (mentioned above) going?

I have 8 more eggs in the bator due a week from tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

-Sheila


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Velvet,
What beautiful pictures! how are your eggs doing????

I LOVE your chicken stories, how is your sweet "Chicken Sister"? you captured her soul with the close up picture! She is so beautiful, I may have to add her to my chicken series that will continue this summer.

How's everyone else's hatches (mentioned above) going?

I have 8 more eggs in the bator due a week from tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

-Sheila


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Chicken Sister would be honored to pose for a painting, thank you, Sheila! :)

And the shameless old fossil is STILL laying eggs...she has the cutest little thin-little-old-lady cackle! The little hussy...! :)

The eggs are great, due to hatch on the 26th!

Velvet ~:>


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

HI! I am a teacher of 5 and 6 year olds. We just put in 12 eggs today! The kids are very excited and I am a nervous wreck!!!! I have never attempted to incubate eggs, but have wonderful memories of doing so in my kindergarten class years and years ago. We put in 4 Araucana, 4 Cuckoo Moran? and 4 Amcona. We have them in a store bought incubator that turns the eggs. No fan. Besides keeping it at a constant 99.5-100 F., and water in the bottom, is there anything else to think about?
Thanks!


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

newchick,
check out the link below, I think your temp. should be adjusted since it doesn't have a fan.

If you are using a little giant incubator you want to have one red plug in and the other out until the last three days, then you remove the remaining plug and bump up the humidity. It's best if you have a hydrometer to monitor the humidity, there are dangers to having it too low or too high.

Hope this helps.

-Sheila

Here is a link that might be useful: temperature link


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Well, the eggs under the broodies turned out to be duds, but I think I had too many broodies fighting over them, and they either got jostled too much or always had a hen on them and got too hot! I'm trying to rig up an online webcam for the incubator hatch this weekend, and have invited a bunch of my 8 year old daughter's friends to come over and watch baby chicks hatch. :)

newchick, what brand and model incubator are you using, do you know? If you don't have the instructions for it anymore, lots of places online, including the manufacturers, often post the instructions online. You need to follow the instructions as closely as you can for your brand and model.

Mine is a Little Giant still air, and mine says to stop turning the eggs and leave the incubator closed for the final three days of incubation--I always make sure and top off the water wells at the final opening & turning before the last three days, so the eggs won't be in danger of drying out.

Make sure you have a brooder box, a heat source, chick food and water ready to go for the babies. You've got some cool breeds there, Anconas and Marans are beautiful!

Hatching chicks is an amazing experience for kids, I'm glad you are doing it! :)

Velvet ~:>


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

Today is day 27 and I have a turkey out of the egg. I'm glad I did this test run as it has been years since I have used the incubators. I bought 5 turkey eggs at a poultry auction and those are the ones hatching now. I ordered 2 dozen turkey eggs online and they should be here soon.
I also have an incubator with show girl eggs in it. I have a while on those yet, but am really excited about seeing how the chicks turned out. I have some showgirl roos that I bred to some double bearded silkies. I couldn't wait for the hens to go broody so I set up the second incubator. A couple of days after I set the eggs one of the hens went broody on an empty nest. So I gave her 4 of the eggs from the incubator.
I forgot how much fun it was hatching eggs. It really is exciting to hear the first peeps coming from inside of the eggs.
Newchicks, so nice of you to incubate the eggs for the kids. They will have a lot of fun with that. It's something they will always remember.


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

I want to take at least 10 of my mallard's 19 eggs so she can start setting on those 9 in hopes that they are fertilized ones. How do should I incubate the other ones without an incubator? The reason I'm wondering is cuz she's not able to turn ALL those eggs and some of them have been there 2 weeks with out her starting the incubation process. Is there any way to do it without an incubator? I was told to keep them at or around 99 degrees and that a heating pad on low with a couple of hand towels underneath them and a mist of water or two would do, and turning them 3 times a day. what do you guys think?


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

My incubater is a turkey hen.I just got her this year as my other one wouldn't sit last year so the Tom had to. This one isn't as demented and seems to know what to do.I'm sure the Tom is very happy about this. She's sitting on about 14 eggs which should hatch towards the end of May.One hen is a Merriam and the other a Rio Grande so the chicks could be both since they both layed eggs I think.The Tom is a Merriam.


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

benslilfox,
I have no idea how to hatch eggs w/out an incubator? I can't imagine a heating pad would work?

Beegood, I LOVED your picture of your Tom sitting on the eggs last year! I'm glad he's getting some help this year.

Well my second hatch just finished, I have 7 baby chicks, two needed help, one is still in ICU. My first batch of 8 is 4 weeks old, I'm hoping to integrate them w/my small crested coop in a couple of weeks.

We stuck a few eggs under a broody silkie, she has proven to be not very good at her job! I went out to check on the eggs and found them to be stone cold! and one lost in the nest material.

I think that may do it for me this year, 15 chicks should be plenty to deal with, I am interested to see what my ratio of girls/boys will be, I have a track record of hatching about 70% males. If I had to guess now I'd say my older group looks to be 50/50 so far.

Velvet, keep us posted on your eggs, they are due soon :)

-Sheila


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

I'll just chuck them. Thank you everyone for all the information you have given me about incubating eggs very helpful. Everyone has to learn how to do this some how right? Next year I'll be better prepared and have a lot more time to read on the incubating and caring for these ducklings. Here's a site some of you might be interested in. www.shagbarkbantams.com or www.feathersite.com


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RE: Anyone loading up the incubator?

^^^^Shagbark and feathersite and both terrific. :)

Sheila, I gave them their final turning and topped off the water wells last night, so hopefully Saturday night/Sunday there'll be chicks! :)

Velvet ~:>


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