Incubators and chick rearing

  • 107 Replies
  • 49226 Views
*

hillfooter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2628
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #45 on: April 25, 2010, 05:48 »
hi i tried to make my own incy out of polystyrene, a light fitting and two bowls of water, a bit of tape, a glass off a photo frame. the humidity was perfect and so was the temp for a while but then it kept rising so will have to do fase two, have got to get hold of a thermostat. but it prooves that it dosnt have to cost alot. :)

The big problem with such incubators is making them sterile for the next time you want to hatch.  Polystyrene is very difficult if not impossible to sterilise well.  Hatching is very messy and produces a lot of dander fluff and pathegens which needs to be removed completely after the hatch.

Maintaining a stable temp is also difficult and using a way to stir the air with a LOW speed fan to prevent hot spots is a good idea as well as maintaining some ventilation and as stable and moderately accurate humidity as possible.  A high airflow is not good either as too much will cause uneven drying if the top of the egg is in a draft but the bottom is in still air.

The heater should not be too hot and a large area lower temperature heater is better than a single higher temperature small area heater.  Radiant heaters if used directly are likely to cause temperature gradients across the egg and aren't as good as large area conductive or air space heaters.  One way to avoid this might be to heat a large area alluminium plate pianted black 6 inches or so above the eggs rather than use direct radiant heat from a lamp.

During the first 18 days average humidity needs to be around 40 to 50% RH to produce the right water loss in the egg.   Turning the egg is critical during this period to prevent any drying of the egg air interface inside the egg.  Accurate humidity measurements are difficult and the sort of cheap humidity sensors sold on ebay are not very reliable or accurate.   I'd be very cautious about relying on them though precise humidity isn't so critical.  If the humidity is as noticable as you suggest I would be concerned it is too humid.  For a home made incubator I'd calibrate it by using the egg weight method.  Use a couple of 'sensor' eggs in fixed positions and regularly measure their weight loss (you need an accurate scale) and plot a graph against time.  The % weight loss you need to achieve can be obtained from charts.  This is a direct measure of what in fact you are trying to achieve and is better than just measuring humidity.  Too much weight loss indicates too low a humidity and vice versa.  I'm affraid it's a trial and error calibbration method but one which commercial incubator manufactuers will have used to calibrate their incubators and produce their instructions.  

The thermometer needs to be more accurate (within half a degree or so of an optimum 37.5degC.  A way of ensuring even temperature for example by using a low speed fan is very important too.

There's no reason you can't design and build your own incubator but it's very likely they won't produce as consistent or a successful results as good commercial ones such as Brinsea and RCom.

HF
« Last Edit: April 25, 2010, 06:00 by hillfooter »
Truth through science.

*

spizanne

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Devon
  • 31
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #46 on: April 25, 2010, 19:08 »
Hi everyone. we have always bought POL's in the past but decided to try hatching our own. Hubby bought me a Brinsea mini advance last week and we went and bought 7 hatching eggs today. have set them in our living room so i can watch them turn etc (sad eh!) The breed we bought are Marsh Daisies and they are on the endangered species list so hopefully we can help rejuvenate the breed. Any one else out there with Marsh Daisies, I may need a cockerel some time in the future?

*

raeburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Warwickshire
  • 1004
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2010, 21:49 »
Latest mini advance hatch - 4 out of 6 lavender araucanas.  One egg was a dud from the start and the other failed late on.  4 little lavender and yeallow pom poms are doing very well

*

lisa80

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Location: nr peterborough
  • 582
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #48 on: April 29, 2010, 08:40 »
our hatching has started  :)welsummers faverolles and some silkies for a friend  :)got another hatch due on sunday .I think its safe to say no housework will be done over the weekend :D

*

hillfooter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2628
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #49 on: May 03, 2010, 01:36 »
If you are hatching eggs then a useful tool is a candler.  You can buy a purpose made one or equally you can easily make one using a halogen bulb torch such as a Mag-lite over which you fit the egg cradle.  I made a very effective one using waste packaging and a few odds and ends.

To make the egg cradle you will need.
1  A small cardbord box or lid which will fit over the lens of the torch. I used the lid from a Single Malt whisky bottle box (first drink the contents)
2  5cm thick piece of polystyrene or packing foam sheeting which will fit inside the box to grip round the torch
3  a 1 cm thick piece of foam rubber or plastic packing just smaller than the box/ lid to cushion the egg against.
4  a small piece of rubber from a cycle inner tube to act as a light seal
5  thick light proof (black) cloth adhesive tape to fix the egg cushion and light seal to the box.  (Duct tape is OK or carpet tape)

Cut a hole in the end of the box (1) about 2.5cms diameter.  Using (2) polystyrene packaging (or similar foam rubber sheeting) cut  to fit within the lid.  Cut a circular hole through it of a slightly smaller diameter than the end of the torch.  The foam/polystyrene sheet needs to be about 5 - 7cm thick as it needs to grip the end of the torch.  

Over the end of the lid glue or tape a spongy piece of rubber mat (3) with a 2.25cm diameter hole in it.  This is the mat against which the egg will be cushioned.  An added sophistication on mine is a rubber mat (4) cut from a black cycle tyre inner tube with a 2cm hole in it forms the light seal round the egg.  This is very important to ensure no light escapes round the outside of the shell otherwise the inner detail is lost.  This can be achieved by snipping lots of small 3mm long cuts around the hole in the seal using very sharp manicure sissors to form a flexible fringe to seal round the egg.

Using (5) tape the mat and light seal over the hole in the box end and cover the outside of the box so no light can escape and you are done.

Fit the cradle over the lens of the torch so it grips it and stays in place and hold the egg over the end applying a gentle pressure to seal the light in so it illuminates the inside of the egg to create best contrast when viewed in a dark room.

See the diagram and photos below.
Candler.jpg
Candler front.jpg
candler rear.jpg
« Last Edit: May 03, 2010, 02:47 by hillfooter »

*

hillfooter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2628
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #50 on: May 03, 2010, 02:34 »
Once the eggs have hatched you will need a brooder to rear the chicks in until they are about 5 weeks old when they can be hardened to outside conditions and phased over gradually to growers feed.

Here's how to make one in the form of an octogon which is much better than a square as chicks can't be crushed in the corners.  The one described will easily accomodate upto 40 or more chicks upto 4 or 5 weeks old.

A really useful and easlily made one can be made from old melomine fitted wardrobe door panels.  These need to be approx 45 cm (18ins) wide cut into lengths of about 55-60cms long.  Depending on the length of your door panels either cut them into thirds (you'll need 3 panels) or quarters (you'll need just two),  These are arranged in an octogon formation using 135 deg corner fillets.  

These are made from 3 - 4 cm square section softwood baton or similar.  Cut into 16 identical triangular fillets.  Fix them top and bottom (leaving no space under the base fillet which might trap a chick) using two screws for each fillet into each panel.  Pre drill clearance holes for the screws in the panels.  The holes need to be identically positioned so when you disassemble and re-assemble any fillet can be used on any panel.  Make a template to enable you to mark and/or drill the holes identically positioned.  A useful tip is to use double sided tape to hold the fillets on one edge in place before  the screws. Fix two fillets to the same (LHS or RHS) edge of each panel first before attempting to fix the panels together.  Finally on a flat surface assemble the panels together to form the Octogon shape.  the edges as snuggly as possible to reduce drafts.

Being melomime it's easy to clean and disinfect between uses.  When disassembling leave the two fillets which were taped to the panels fixed with the screws so it's easy to build again.  Store flat stacked.

When using brooders such as this in an outhouse it's always best at night to use two heat lamps so that should one bulb fail they won't die because of the cold.  Use preferably softwood shavings as a 5cm deep litter covering on a concrete floor such as a garage or outhouse.

Happy DIYing
HF
See the photos
Brooder design 2.jpg
Brooder.jpg
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 23:37 by hillfooter »

*

spizanne

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Devon
  • 31
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2010, 09:51 »
 :D  Mike bought me a new toy thursday, the Brinsea ecoglow chick brooder. just in time too, 6 cheep cheeps hatched between noon yesterday and 7 this morning, last one still trying, can see the shell moving where it has broken through.
Brooder is a green recycling box that the council give you with the Brinsea inside, the chicks went straight under and we can hear them rummaging around, only disadvantage is we can't see them but we sure can hear them.

*

spizanne

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Devon
  • 31
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2010, 13:25 »
yippee! number 7 hatched, that's 7 out of 7. what a great little machine the Brinsea is. and the brooder is brill too, the chicks pop their heads out now and then and we can hear them shuffling around under it and lots of cheeping.

*

joyfull

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: lincolnshire
  • 22155
    • Monarch Engineering Ltd
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2010, 14:42 »
Good hatch rate  :D
Look forward to seeing the photo's in a day or so  :)
Staffies are softer than you think.

*

spider

  • Winner - Pumpkin Competition 2012
  • Experienced Member
  • ***
  • Location: Seaforth Merseyside
  • 161
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2010, 22:26 »
I was really happy with my Brinsea until one of my turkeys drowned in the water reservior  :(

I didnt think the gap was big enough, but it is  :mad:

Spider

*

spizanne

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Devon
  • 31
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #55 on: May 17, 2010, 22:44 »
photo not brill, had to take it on my phone cos we couldn't find the charger for the camera, but here they are, 7 little Marsh Daisies
Photo-0012.jpg
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 22:45 by spizanne »

*

spizanne

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Devon
  • 31
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #56 on: May 17, 2010, 23:13 »
hubby found the charger, will post better pics tomoro.
was a little concerned they weren't eating much, or drinking at all even though i had dipped their beaks in when i put them in the brooder
had scattered some crumbs in front of them which they did peck at but not very much.
have sussed it. took the brooder out of the box, chicks stood for a few seconds then went to the dish and started pecking, had to put a 2nd dish in so they could all eat together.
next the water.
tapped the side of the waterer, one came over, tapped inside, she (i hope) followed my finger into the water and hey presto! she sussed it, got others out and they are now all eating and drinking just fine
and of course are now pooping everywhere lol
oh the joys of motherhood!

*

kelhippo

  • Newbie
  • *
  • 1
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #57 on: May 18, 2010, 00:05 »
Hi,ive looked into this and although i would love to hatch my own,unfortunantly as a percentage you will hatch mainly males. i think its somthinng like 6 out of 10 chicks born will be male,unless you have plenty of room and having a few cockrells wouldnt be a problem then go ahead,most male chicks that are born are killed straight away.it is very hard to rehome a cockrell...
Cheers Kels :wub:

*

spizanne

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Devon
  • 31
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #58 on: May 18, 2010, 00:16 »
I am hoping to get at least 2 cocks, 3 would be better, I am getting more eggs from a different family and hope to get 3 cocks from them as well and will then breed the 2 strains together and get more Marsh Daisies which as an endangered species will benefit from my help. Will get more hybrids for eggs cos my old ladies have finished laying now.

*

joyfull

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: lincolnshire
  • 22155
    • Monarch Engineering Ltd
Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #59 on: May 18, 2010, 08:51 »
Hi,ive looked into this and although i would love to hatch my own,unfortunantly as a percentage you will hatch mainly males. i think its somthinng like 6 out of 10 chicks born will be male,unless you have plenty of room and having a few cockrells wouldnt be a problem then go ahead,most male chicks that are born are killed straight away.it is very hard to rehome a cockrell...
Cheers Kels :wub:

This is only possible with colour or feather sexed unless you know how to vent sex which very few people do. Often you can't tell what sex a chick is until it starts to crow or lay by which time they can be quite large and a lot of people find that even though they thought they could cull the boys they can't.



 

Page created in 0.07 seconds with 35 queries.

Powered by SMFPacks SEO Pro Mod |