At this point there are 7 hatched birds and 3 eggs that have pips started. About half have feathered legs, something I hadn’t considered at all. All have 4 toes (some breeds have 5).
The dry ones have been moved to the brooder:
There are two fresh/wet chicks still in the incubator:
All appear to be healthy and thriving so far.
I am not optimistic that the three pips will hatch. One shows a bit of progress since this morning but not much.
I got home from work around midnight. There are two chicks in the incubator thus far: one standard black one (australorp?) from a brown shell and a bantam chipmunk colored one (Dutch Bantam?) from a small white shell.
A standard white egg has a bit of pipping done on it. You can see the chicks first efforts cracking the shell a bit near the end of the black temperature probe.
Would love to stay up and watch one make its journey into the world but I’m tired and need to sleep.
Day 21 has begun. No pips to report yet.
Chicks generally start the hatching process on the 21st day of incubation; this would be (tomorrow) Monday morning.
There is no sign of early “pips” (ie, first breach in the shell) which is probably a good sign. Incubations that run too hot tend to hatch early so I was worried about that due to the temp spike I talked about earlier.
I’m a little surprised how much water the ‘bator is using to stay in teh 70-75% humidity range. I’m having to add 10oz of water 2x/day. Luckily I drilled a hole for food-grade tubing and inject the water through that. When the birds start to hatch the humidity will naturally increase as they air-dry. So I may not have to add as much water to the ‘bator.
Today was Day 18 in the incubator so I sealed the vents, added a water source, and began The Long Wait. I sure would like to get a healthy chick out of the batch. The viewport is steamy as expected when the internal humidity is >=70%
The modern game birds and their barred rock “peanuts” have been moved to a larger brooder. I couldn’t find any big cardboard boxes so I rigged up a tarp in the utility room:
It seems to work well.
I had been reading about Transylvanian naked neck chickens (so-called “turkens”) with interest over the past couple of years. They are hardy in heat, lay decently, and have good meat. Sounds like a Texas chicken to me. People say they are ugly but I think buzzards are pretty birds so what do I know?
A fellow in Wills Point breeds them. The 100% naked necks are black, I think. The light colored ones here are crosses.
They have a lot of personality already, very curious and watchful.
For those of you following along, how many chickens will this actually make in total? Depends on how many males there are.
- 12 game birds / 2 = 6 likely pullets with small eggs
- 7 barred rock peanuts. The hatchery intended these to be all male but one is promisingly dark with smaller comb. = 1 likely pullet
- 10 naked necks / 2 = 5 likely pullets
- 12 assorted eggs in incubator. Guessing two may survive the hatch / 2 = 1 likely pullet. Yes, I know I am literally counting my chickens before they hatch.
So the likely total will be 13 pullets with 6 or 7 laying normal eggs and the others mainly decorative. Maybe keep one standard cockerel and one bantam cockerel.
We shall see. The chainlink kennel-based roosting area is nearly complete. I need another day or so with that and then I can keep the young birds in it. By the time I get the run put up they’ll be ready to run around a bit.
Yesterday was a little rough.
Got up for work and the incubator had spiked to 104F in the area closest to the heat source. I am worried that the embryos in that area have died. I don’t see any obvious movement in those anymore. 😦 There are some in the batch that are moving but the damage is likely done. I will be happy if I get any viable chicks from this hatch at all.
My guesses about the spike:
- I was running two small CPU fans since that’s what I had. I believe the airflow was insufficient for even temps. This was acceptable until something else (below) increased the overall heat level. Note: I ordered a 200mm 110v PC fan the day I built the ‘bator but it had not come in by the time of the overheat.
- I had an idea that I could even out temp fluctuations by running one always-on 15w bulb and one switched 25w bulb. The changes were quite smooth but the 15w bulb exacerbated the spike.
- Something added heat
- Ambient temperatures increased a bit.
- Apparently eggs begin to generate heat as they develop.
I pulled the 15w always-on bulb and am now running a single 60w switched bulb. The temp swing is wider now in that it has a deeper “trough”. This should allow more room for ambient and generated temp increases.
The 200mm fan came in yesterday while I was at work and I installed it last night – 12 hours too late. There is a significant increase in circulation and decrease in temperature variability in the ‘bator.
I think I hit a pothole in the last couple of weeks that knocked the front end of the truck out of whack. My tires were already worn out and this finished off the front ones. I had it aligned in Greenville (the alignment mech at ETW no longer works there). Bought a set of four which isn’t all bad. I have inspection coming up this month anyhow.
13 eggs went into the ‘bator; didn’t count before but the eBay seller must have sent an extra (eggstra?).
A couple of eggs are dark enough that I can’t see through them. The rest that I could see through had vascular development and most were moving around. Here’s the first one I did. I was so surprised at the movement that I taped it: