Well, it's Saturday evening, the eggs are in the incubator, and the temperature is stable at 99 degrees. I would like for it to be just a hair warmer, but I will address that Sunday morning.
I had to make a couple of changes. In my original incubator, the thermostat that controls the temperature malfunctioned. It operated fully open at about 113 degrees, way, way too hot. So, I got out an older incubator, identical to the first one, and replaced the original. It's thermostat works okay, so now we're good to go on that issue.
The other change was in location. The room in our house that I normally use to hatch birds is also the room we're starting seedlings in, so the temperature fluctuated too much. I moved them to a store room where the temperature is more constant. So, those were the two big changes I had to deal with. Other than that, everything is starting off normal.
Friday afternoon I picked up a batch of eggs from a friend to include in this hatch. They are the brown eggs in the pictures. But the hens that laid these brown eggs used to live at our house. It's going to be interesting to see what type of babies they will produce, because all of the hens were standard mixed heavies and the rooster is a fine looking red Easter Egg breed.
Some of the pictures we have included show adding water to the troughs with the eggs in the turner in the incubator. When I started the eggs this morning at about 9:00 am, the turner was at an angle, which is not the best time for me to add water. It's difficult to hit the little trough, it's easier to add water when the turner is level. That's one of the reasons I put the black mark in the bottom of the trough. As I mentioned in the last post, some incubators are a lot easier to refill than the one that I have. But, this is what I have and this is what I'm going to use.
When you put your system together, you'll have to run the wire from the turner out of the incubator. Make sure it's in there so it runs out of the slot that is pre-cut in the incubator. If you do
use a turner, make sure all the little plastic trays are in the holes that they need to be. Also try to keep the turner slightly away from the edges so it can turn freely. This is part of the reasoning why you test everything with a dry run ahead of time.
The old incubator that didn't work? I'll keep it because the heating element still works.
The circulating fan is fine. The styrofoam container itself is still good and solid.
A word to the wise here, though. This is styrofoam and it will break easily. Trust me, I know. If your little boy wants to climb up on it, which little boys like to do, then you might be going through the whole process again, and not because you wanted to.
I bought a 12 volt incubator last year that I haven't used yet. It has the water trough that is easier to fill. It's one of those round-to-it things. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I believe I mentioned it and put a link in a previous post.
Now for the next 21 days I'm going to watch the incubator very closely. Some things to look for. Keep your temperature as close as you can, and I shoot for 99.5 degrees. Always make sure your troughs have water. Never let them go empty. If you have an egg that had a crack in it that you didn't notice? In a few days it will start to stink, really stink. Also, after 18 days you will need to remove the turner. This is an easy enough process. Make sure the turner is nice and level, and very gently remove it with the eggs in it. We'll talk a whole lot more about this as the time approaches. This is not the time to drop an egg. But, again, we'll talk more about that as the time gets near.
Read your instructions again. Keep little fingers away from the thermostat. It's a good idea if only one person makes adjustments. Reason being, you don't want to have just increased the temperature and two minutes later someone else comes along and increases the temperature. Avoid direct sunlight, this thing will heat up just like a greenhouse. Avoid drafts, know where your heater and air conditioning duct vents are.
So, for the next 18 days, just pay attention. Because in 21 days, I don't care how many eggs I've hatched, I find it to be a fascinating experience. I think I mentioned this before, but hatching eggs is an excellent opportunity to teach reproduction and gestation in a short period of time. Even the youngest kids can understand the need for a rooster and a hen and how the egg develops. I believe this gives kids a much better understanding and respect for birth. I have yet to meet an adult that didn't think that hatching an egg, and watching it hatch wasn't a unique experience.
Unless something comes up in the next few days, I won't be checking in about chickens for a couple of weeks, but there are some things you're going to need: feed, water, containers for both, and a warm, draft free home when your babies do hatch or arrive in the mail. And don't forget, you'll need to give them their first drink. So plan ahead and be prepared.
We'll talk more later. Frank.