Incubators and chick rearing

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hillfooter

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #75 on: July 28, 2010, 15:13 »
Right - I have taken the plunge and sent for some hatching eggs and an incubator.  The only way to get me started was to hold my nose and go for it.  Now I'm panicking    :wacko: been reading up and it says to rest eggs before setting them - can anyone explain (as if to an idiot) what that means?  Should they remain in box, at room temperature, broad end up or down...... any tips to get a complete novice off the mark would be gratefully received thanks  ::)

Rule 1              DON'T PANIC!

When you get your incubator (what make & model is it) Carefully read the instructions.  Set it up in a spare room preferably a bedroom which is shaded and where it won't be disturbed with comings and goings.  Have plenty of room round about it so it's not perched on the end of a dressing table.  A kitchen table is good.  Turn it on with the recommended water and leave it running with it's cradle rocking assuming it has one.  Check it reaches the correct temperature recommended which should be around 37.5degC.  Adjust only if necessary and allow at least an hour between any adjustment.  Note your digital thermometer might only display every 0.2 deg C so don't worry if it's 37.4 or 37.6 it won't matter.  Let it settle for around 24hrs before you introduce eggs.  If it says to wash the egg tray do that in warm water with detergent or a santiser if you have any.

When the eggs arrive discard any which are cracked however slightly before storing them in the same room broad end up for about 24 hrs. Hopefully they are clean but if not you have the option to wash them using an egg sanitiser in bucket of water at 30degC, dry naturally.  You can hatch slightly dirty eggs but I prefer any heavily soiled eggs to be washed.  You can turn them once every 12 hours or so ideally when in storage.  They should be fine for at least 8 days after laying and will only slowly reduce in fertility after that.  Assuming your incubator is auto turning load up with the eggs in the morning and keep your eye on it during the first day to ensure it reaches set point temperature. DON'T be tempted to keep lifting the lid once you start the incubation process.  Only do this if you need to top up the humidity or to candle.  Don't fret with the humidity control set it as instructed.  There must be some ventillation so make sure the inlet port is around half open or whatever the manufacturer suggests.

You are allowed to go in and admire your eggs for the first 5 - 7 days but don't lift the lid unless needed for topping up the water, and then you can candle them.  Best done on a very dark evening.  The purpose of candling is to weed out any non fertile eggs.  Be realistic here don't continue to incubate eggs which don't show any signs of development as they can go off in the high temperature and contaminate the other eggs.  When you candle rotate the egg slowly over the light source so you can see into it.  If it's fertile you shouldn see a black fuzzy dot about 5mm or so within a bent tadpole type shape.  Sometimes you can see radiating vein type structure through the egg.  Sometimes you can see it moving about and the heart beating.  If there's such a sign of development the egg is fertile and you can return it to the incubator.  Any which appear uniformly lit up with maybe just a hint of a darker shaddow (the yolk) aren't fertile.  If in doubt mark them and continue with them for another 7 days or so.

After about 14- 16days you can candle again and you should notice a big change the shaddow will have become a much darker region completely opague with a bright area which is the air sack which should be at one end.  If there are any which haven't developed from the initial candling discard.

Return the eggs and after 18 days stop the turning and raise the humidity to 70%RH or set up the humidifier as instructed and leave until 21 days when they should start to pip and hatch.

DO NOT attempt to assist them out of the shell and don't raise the lid until at least half the eggs have hatched.  You can transfer the first batch to the brooder at this stage and discard the egg shells as quickly as possible to avoid loss of humidity (you can mist the incubator when closing it don't wet the eggs though).  All the eggs which are going to hatch should have done so by day 22 and any which show no signs of pipping at this stage probably aren't going to but you can leave until 23 days if you like.

Clean the incubator very well with sanitiser before storing it away.
Attached is a plan for a home made candler using a maglite torch.
The hole on the rubber gasket (cycle inner tube) is 20 - 25mm max and it has 2mm snips in it to form a flexible edging fringe so the light is sealed against the shell and doesn't illuminate the outside of the egg.  The black tape is Duct Tape.

HF
Candler.jpg
candler rear.jpg
Candler front.jpg
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 22:36 by hillfooter »
Truth through science.

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tesni

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #76 on: July 28, 2010, 21:38 »
 :Dthank you so much - that is enough to calm the nerves and hopefully see me through to some chicks - I will keep that by me and post any results and pics if I'm lucky  :nowink:

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hillfooter

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #77 on: July 28, 2010, 22:47 »
Don't get too worried if you don't do every thing right there's a fair margin for making mistakes.  I once, to fill up a section in an incubator to stop the eggs rolling, added some eggs which had been in the fridge.  I intended to replace them with new laid eggs but forgot and when I came to candle them I discovered they were fertile and they eventually hatched.  Also this year I left my incubating eggs in charge of my SIL while we were away for a long weekend and he forgot to top up the water.  When I returned the reservoir was empty and I guess had been for at least a day.  Then I forgot to turn the cradle back on after filling the reservoir and I didn't notice for about 30 hrs or so it wasn't rocking.  I had 100% hatch of 18 eggs!  So a few small slips particularly in the early part of the process doesn't necessarily spell disaster.
HF

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tesni

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #78 on: July 30, 2010, 22:43 »
 :) am expecting to make many errors so let's hope my little ones are as forgiving as yours!  :tongue2:

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cool chick

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #79 on: August 04, 2010, 12:05 »
I have just bought my first eggs, light Sussex, they should arrive any day, and i must say i am excited and nervous. I have been given an incubator but the turner doesn't work so has to be done manually. I also have a heat lamp and a fairly big box, should they go into this as soon as they hatch? And also how long should they stay under the lamp(how old) before they can go outside in the ark?? Any advice for a beginner would be welcome. I also have my 3 other chucks, so not new to the chicken scene just the rearing bambinos
Fine n Dandy

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hillfooter

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #80 on: August 04, 2010, 12:53 »
I have just bought my first eggs, light Sussex, they should arrive any day, and i must say i am excited and nervous. I have been given an incubator but the turner doesn't work so has to be done manually. I also have a heat lamp and a fairly big box, should they go into this as soon as they hatch? And also how long should they stay under the lamp(how old) before they can go outside in the ark?? Any advice for a beginner would be welcome. I also have my 3 other chucks, so not new to the chicken scene just the rearing bambinos

Your heat lamp and very big box is what's called a brooder.  You should set that up a few days before they hatch and check the temperature 5 cms or so above the floor approx 10cm off centre with the litter in.  This should be 32 - 37 deg or so.  Raise the lamp to adjust the heat.  They will move closer to or further away to adjust their temperature so having a gradient of heat is ideal.  The sides of the box should be 45cms or so high and the box should be open so it has plenty of ventilation but isn't a heat trap.  Size depends on the number of birds but should be large enough so they can move away or get closer to the heat source to regulate their temperature.  Get a spare lamp so if one goes there's a readily avaiable replacement and preferably they should be an invisible or low light infra red type.  Best to use two if the box is big enough in case one goes the chx won't be without heat.  

Once at least half the pipped eggs have hatched transfer this first batch from the incubator to the brooder.  There's no need to offer food or water for 24 hrs but when you do put the water in a shallow bowl which won't get tipped too easily when perched on, you can use marbles to reduce the depth so there's no danger of drowning.  Jar lids are often used initially but get a proper designed chick drinker and feeder after a few days as these are cheap and much better as they get older.  Dip their beeks in this to show them and they'll soon learn to drink.  Also with food which should be chick crumbs offered on a wooden board to start with.  Tap your finger on the crumbs in a sort of pecking motion and again they will come to investigate and quickly learn to feed.  Have nothing in the box which is slippy or shiny as they are prone to splaying their legs when very young which can cause permanent injury.  

If the chx huddle directly under the lamp and cheep loudly they are too cold, lower the lamp and if they are distributed around the periphery and are panting they are too hot, raise the lamp.  If they move around freely they are fine.  Chx will synchronise their behaviour so when one rests they will all lay down and rest and feed and drink too so watch out for these fastinationg behaviours.  I'll leave it to you to figure out why this is but if you think of how a hen with her brood would behave naturally there's a clue.

They will start to show feather development on their wings after around 4 days and from this point you can start raising the lamp to reduce the heat so they are off heat within 4 weeks.  If the weather is warm maybe sooner.  Just have on at night as they get towards fully feathered.  You can put them out after about 6 weeks and start to migrate them over to growers pellets gradually over about two weeks from 5 weeks onwards.  As they grow raise the height of their drinker and feeder to back height (ie above their vents) to prevent them fouling their food & water.  Use wood and bricks for this tie the feeders and drinkers to the bricks with wire twisted round if necessary (tuck the ends in so they don't cause injury) so as they get more boisterous they don't knock them over and spill them.  My feeder is a long plastic trough with chick sized partitions which prevent the feed from being scratched out and the drinker is a small inverted fountain type which holds a 1L reservoir of water and provides a narrow trough around the circumference for them to drink from.  These I've found ideal.

You can usually sex the  chx reliably by 8 -12 weeks depending on breed.

Don't give corn untill they are around 15 weeks by which stage they should have access to grit.  You can also make oyster shell available though they really shouldn't need this untill they start to lay and then really only after their first years laying but it doesn't harm to have it available adlib. from the off.
Best of luck
HF
mixed chicks 3.5 weeks.jpg
« Last Edit: August 04, 2010, 13:31 by hillfooter »

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tesni

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #81 on: August 04, 2010, 18:48 »
getting way way ahead of myself here - only on day five of eggs in inc, not even candled yet  :blush:  exciting times tho  :)  if I'm lucky enough to end up with some chicks and don't wimp out at what age will they be ready for the table?  they are hubbard 757s hybrids.   

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hillfooter

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #82 on: August 04, 2010, 19:17 »
getting way way ahead of myself here - only on day five of eggs in inc, not even candled yet  :blush:  exciting times tho  :)  if I'm lucky enough to end up with some chicks and don't wimp out at what age will they be ready for the table?  they are hubbard 757s hybrids.   

Sorry Tesni I hadn't realised your birds are table birds in which case my advice was based on rearing layers so this makes a big difference on how you rear them after the hatch.  Read this link for a better idea on broilers,

http://www.blpbooks.co.uk/articles/table_chickens/table_chickens_traditional_breeds.php.

This is advice from katie Thear and you can't do better than that.
Regards
HF

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tesni

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #83 on: August 04, 2010, 19:46 »
the early bits apply to all tho, and that link is really good thanks HF. 
I will try some dual purpose next I expect as we have our ladies in the back garden who lay for their supper......but one step at a time, must keep my expectations reasonable  :nowink:

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GrannieAnnie

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #84 on: August 05, 2010, 13:17 »
757's should be table ready from 8 weeks, but we have found they get to a better size between 12 and 16 weeks.  Our biggest 757 weighed 5kg dead weight!

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Ronald

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #85 on: August 06, 2010, 07:44 »
Hi there,just manage to get hold of a King Suro 20 inch, eggs have been in14 Days, but the manufactures tell me to keep Humidity at 35to45 for poultry & heating at 37.5 it has a little Automatic drip pump. it rocks like a baby's cradle very slowly once a hour. But I have discovered a fault in the design,and have now rectify this by making a wooded jig to hold it all together. I have installed,6 Polish-chamois& 6other Bantam eggs.also 6Jersey, and 7
Monster black Turkey eggs! the kind lady gave me a extra one.
Can any one tell me my next move,as I think Ive made a mistake by installing the Turkey eggs? :unsure:  I have tried to candle, but all I see is lots of red strands inside the eggs.
As I do carpentry Hobby Work,I have just completed a twin brooder.

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rachelr

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #86 on: October 05, 2010, 20:24 »
so has anyone had any good results with a home made incuabtor. is a broody different thing altogether or is it the same

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hillfooter

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #87 on: October 05, 2010, 21:24 »
so has anyone had any good results with a home made incuabtor. is a broody different thing altogether or is it the same

I'm sure someone must have had good results from a home made incubator. 

An incubator is for artificially hatching eggs,  a brooder is a heated enclosure for raising chicks from hatch until they are big enough to go outside in a normal house and run.  A Broody is a sitting hen who is hatching or wanting to hatch eggs.  A Bridie is a Scotish meat pasty originally from Forfar and a birdie is one under par at golf and a birdy is what an incubator is for hatching:D

HF

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Autumnlover

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #88 on: October 06, 2010, 17:24 »
Hi I am a newby to this site, Ihave kept chickens off and on for last 10 years and have only started using a incubator this year, I bought a Brinsea Advance and its so far been brill, and I've managed to hatch out some really lovely birds. Is it too late to hatch out some now Iwonder?

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hillfooter

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Re: Incubators and chick rearing
« Reply #89 on: October 07, 2010, 04:09 »
Personally I'd leave it till next spring say late Feb.  Otherwise you are going to have to keep them on heat for a lot longer and you won't be giving them the best start.

HF



 

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