I'll be chronicling our first attempt to hatch our Rhode Island Reds' chicken eggs. I'm a member over at the Back Yard Chickens Forum and will try and update this post with entries posted over there.
Well we're trying our hand at incubating a couple dozen eggs that our chickens have laid. I've read and read and READ SOME MORE everything that everyone has had to say and I'm LOST.
Our incubator is store-bought - A Little Giant STILL AIR incubator. No automatic turner cause it's a little too much of an expense for us at the moment. I am fully prepared to turn those eggs as recommended. My only concern is the whole humidity/temperature suggestions EVERYONE HAD. The incubator just came with a regular cheap-o thermometer. Where do I get a better one? How do I measure humidity? Where can I find what I need to ensure a high success rate?
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. ANY HELP you can provide is greatly appreciated. Right now I have all the eggs inside the house coming up to room temperature as suggested and am test running the incubator. I don't plan to put them in until TOMORROW. If there is something that needs to get done BY THEN... Please help a newbie out. I'm so excited at the idea of raising new chickies, I just want to do it right. I'm so nervous about it all, you'd think it was ME that was going into labor (or something). LOL
Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
Loaded up the incubator - FEB 5TH - With as many eggs as I could find (about 28). Is there a limit to how many I should put in there? I put them in at 4:00 p.m. on Friday Feb 5th. I'll be turning them at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. Hopefully it's enough to keep the chicks from sticking to the shell. The thermometer is set to 100-102. I guess from here on out I can only PRAY and HOPE that I get a couple of chickies from the whole experience. Cross your fingers for me and wish me the best of luck. If we have success with incubating them, we'll keep doing so until we're overrun by chickens. LOL
Our Little Giant incubator has been set between 100-102 degrees. MOST of the time it's closer to the 102. (We were aiming for the 101.5) I candled some of the eggs today and all I can see is this little mass that floats to the TOP of the egg. I tried moving the position of the egg, and the mass goes to the top again. I *THINK* I saw a little dot (eye) in ONE of them, but I'm not sure. Is it too soon to candle? Am I doing it wrong? Is this what I'm supposed to see. My flashlight is running low on batteries, so I'm trying to tell myself that I can't be sure of anything without getting new ones, but ANY HELP/SUGGESTIONS/COMMENTS would be greatly appreciated. I am scouring the BYC forum for other pictures of candling, but I'm lost as to what I'm supposed to look for (on day 3).
Thanks in advance.
So, I've been worried sick about the temperature in the stupid incubator for the past few days (still air). I've checked with ya'll here and searched online and was convinced that the 102* I had it set up would be OKAY for the eggs.
Today I went out and bought the thermometer many recommended from wal-mart. I put it in the incubator and waited for it to reach the right temperature. It stayed steady at 102.2 - Okay, right?
Well I was CONFUSED because my regular thermometer (those old school ones) said 101. ONE of the thermometers HAD to be wrong. I mentioned it to DH and he came and took a peek. TURNS OUT THAT EVERY LITTLE LINE COUNTS FOR TWO DEGREES -- NOT ONE! The thermometer had been set for the past couple of days at 104! 104!!!!! ONE! OH! FOUR! And he waited until TODAY to tell me this. (Day 4)
OMG. I think I killed the eggs.
Should I throw them out and start anew? Should I wait until day 10 and see if any of them survived? DO I WIN STUPID OF THE YEAR AWARD?
All i wanted was baby chicks... looks like I might not even get that.
Well, what do ya know. We didn't actually kill the chicks! Hooray for that.
I candled them last night and saw little embryos moving in there. IT WAS TOTALLY WICKED!
I pulled out an unfertilized egg. It was nice to actually be able to distinguish between the baby eggs (as my daughter calls them) that are viable and one that isn't. One egg's air sac/cell was WAY smaller than the rest. I could see SOME veining in there, so I am gonna give it a few more days before culling it. A second egg I could see what I assumed to be a blood island and some dark little floaties in there, but it didn't seem like the embryo was moving in there. At this point I would hate to throw any out, so I'll wait a little longer before deciding to give it the boot.SUGGESTIONS? IDEAS? COMMENTS?
I made sure and traced the air cells on all the eggs. If the information I've gathered is correct, I should be able to see the air cell increase as the embryo develops. Is this something I can base their development on?
EITHER WAY, I'm pretty happy that out of 38 eggs, only ONE was unfertilized, TWO are iffy and the rest were thriving. We did have some temp spikes/fluctuation so I'm crossing my fingers that it didn't affect them too much. At this point I'm convinced that the eggs are hardier than I assumed them to be. After FOUR days of being under TOO HOTT temperatures they've still managed to come this far.
I have candled my eggs and noticed that TWO have some dark blobs that float to the top no matter how they are positioned. They are at day 10 (beginning of day 11) and the others all show little swimmers in there. I don't want the eggs exploding on me and contaminating the rest of my hatch, so should I cull them? Do I crack them to make sure that there was no development. Or just toss them in the trash can and never look back. I guess I feel a little bit sad throwing out what could have been a baby chick. I know I can't let them contaminate the rest of the healthy eggs, but I just need a talking to....
I turned my eggs this morning when a horrible smell attacked my nostrils! I put my nose down to the eggs and was able to identify the culprit. There wasn't as much movement in it (I'm not even sure I saw any movement) as I've seen in others. Could it be a residual smell from egg-laying or do you think it's gone bad? I'm trying not to toss eggs until day 14 when I should see a definite difference between eggs that are still developing and those that have stopped, but would hate for this ONE rotten egg to ruin the batch. What to do?
Please advice on what to do... Thanks in advance.