Friday, 11 March 2011

On Incubating - Part One

So, I bought an incubator.

After doing a bunch of research, decided that the one for us was the Brinsea Octagon.  It can set 24 eggs at a time, which was half of what the hovabator's could hold, but the Brinsea's had a higher hatch rate.

So I ordered it, and had it shipped up from Florida, since retailers here don't sell them.  The only small incubator I could buy in Canada was the Hovabator.

So the Brinsea arrived, and I was itching to try it.  So we bought a dozen hatching eggs.  And saved a few of our own.  But the ones that we saved weren't collected under ideal conditions, so I really had no hopes of them hatching.  It was very cold when they were all laid, and I was afraid that they had gotten too cold out in the coop before being brought inside.  But, with the 'bator only half full, there was no harm in adding in the four eggs that we saved from the coop.

We set the eggs, and waited.  I turned the incubator three times a day.  On day 7 we candled them, and saw... only one chick.  Out of 16 eggs, there was only development in one.  We were disappointed.  I couldn't figure out what I had messed up.  But left them, just to see.

Then we got an email from the breeder that we had bought the eggs from, asking us to candle our eggs.  Apparently, she had just candled 2 dozen, and found a very poor rate of viability.  She offered to either replace with another breed within the week, refund our money, or replace with the same breed in a  month (after she'd had time to work out the problems, and introduce a new roo to the flock).

We candled, and found that we had lost our one viable one.

So we unplugged the incubator.  Disappointed, after 2.5 weeks, that we would have to start over.

And Prospector took the eggs outside to crack open, to see at what point each embryo was at, to see where they had failed.

And freaked out a little when the third egg he opened had a chick in it, that was now dying in the bowl.

We brought the rest in, and re-candled.  On most of the eggs, we could see that there was clearly nothing in them.  But seven of them we couldn't see into at all.  So we re-set those seven.

Then yesterday, Cuppa & I had a Dr. appointment.  Grandma came to stay with Buddy.  And while Grandma & Buddy were playing, they could hear a cheeping sound.... and wondered, WHAT on EARTH is that.

They found the source of the noise:

Holy Smokes!!!  I got one!!

Grandma checked the instructions to see what she was supposed to do, which was nothing, which is what she did.  The chicks are supposed to be left in the incubator for a day to dry, and you can't open it until everything is hatched.

By the time Prospector got home, we had two Silver Pencil Wyandotts, and one Buff Orpington.

By morning, we had three of each.

So of those seven eggs that we put back, six of them hatched:

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