Oh man, I am so bad, I just am having such a time to spend time here, gotta whine about busy-ness, smiling. I am anticipating time to have more time to spend time here with my friends, (isn't the overuse of words somethings an interesting thing, like, time after time, smiling).
JP, yes, I am beyond knee deep in chicks, I have like 3 different hatches growing in our cabin, 33 chicks in the most recent hatch, (sold some and am selling more today), 21 in the previous hatch and the first hatch had 17. I have sold 4 of the oldest chicks.
Sean, yea, I am totally into raising heritage chickens. I have a great bunch of breeding stock that I have been raising, taking the best of the best of each breed -- I feel quite confident that I have pretty good stock now for that purpose. It is as addictive as beekeeping, which I am still into, and love, but the bees are quiet during the wintertime, and not an awful lot of interest to look at them, smiling. Actually, yesterday I saw a few flying around, the winter has been so temperate the past while. Windy as ol' getout today though -- I don't like wind.
Zan, I don't think I could help you, because I have not used a Hovabator before. I have heard that they are pretty good for hatching though. Perhaps the eggs that you got were not fertile? That is a really bad percentage of hatching that you have had, pretty disappointing and I feel badly for you.
I have a Sportsman cabinet style incubator, has forced air, maintains a temperature of about 100 to 100.4 F, which seems to be the perfect temperature for great hatching. It has three incubating trays, which rotate automatically many times a day, about 66 eggs per tray, for a total of close to 200 (regular sized) chicken eggs.
The humidity is maintained in the 35% to 44% and also gives great hatch. I do need to have a cloth that I put on the edge of the pan, that wicks up some of the water to stay moist -- this is what maintains the humidity at this level. Without it, the humidity is too low. If I had a better pan that had more surface area, I would not need the cloth. I have read that humidity during the last 3 days in particular, must be higher, like about 65%, but I don't honestly believe that. My Husband built me an automatic humidity control thingy. Basically a pan that has a float in it that is connected to the water line of our house. It maintains the water level at a certain depth and I don't have to open the incubator even once during incubation. I do not bother to candle the eggs to see if the embryo is growing, I know that one should, but I am too lazy, so don't. My hatch rates are high enough that I am satisfied with them.
Whew,I am a little late to posting about what actually did finally happen with the hatch. But this is the lowdown, a little lengthy, but then, that is me.
The hatch was still what I consider good, 63% or so, 33 out of 48 chicks hatched. Some of the duds were from the buff Orpingtons pullets (2 eggs) with a very young cockerel, so maybe a bit of a fertility issue there and some of the duds were eggs that I didn’t know if they were purebreed light Brahma, as I didn’t actually see who laid them, there were 4 that did not hatch of the Light Brahma X eggs, 5 purebreed ight Brahma eggs did not hatch, 3 black Cochin and 3 blue Cochin. One chick died the day following being moved to the brood pen, no clue why, just was found dead, it must have been a weak one.
In this January 10 hatch there are:
Light Brahma 10
Light Brahma cross 4
Buff Orpington 2
Black Cochin 8
Blue Cochin 9
The first hatch I did with the incubator this fall was 17 out of 21, not sure of that percentage, but that was very good.
I have one last hatch that I am doing. I will not do any more until we move. (We have had quite a number of showings of our home, and I feel that there will be an offer to come in soon. We will be moved by summertime for surely). These chicks are due on the 29th of January. I gathered these eggs for the period of 14 days as well (same as the last hatch). I am feeling pretty confident that 14 days is just fine to be gathering eggs, but still not 100% positive of this fact, yet, still need more corroboration with hatch results. In this hatch coming up on the 29th I have set 70 eggs in the incubator. This should give me a very good idea of how things are going to be . This is what I have incubating as we speak:
25 blue Cochins
15 black Cochins
24 Light Brahma
6 light Brahma possible crosses (ones that I did not identify as 100% light Brahma
The light Brahma cross chicks are very easy to differentiate from the light Brahma purebreeds. They have some extremely light feathering on their legs, not typical of the heavy feathering of the Brahma breed, but those feathers are there, nonetheless. In the yard that houses the Light Brahma rooster I have of course the two Light Brahma hens, 4 barred Plymouth Rock hens, an Australorpe hen, a buff Oprington hen and a silver laced Wyandotte hen. So the crosses would be of the possibility of barred Rock, Australope, buff Orpington or silver laced Wyandotte. The last hatch, as I said, had four that may be possible crosses, not to say that they are, but I didn’t actually see those 4 eggs laid, so it is nonetheless a possibility. I do notice that there are two in that hatch that are quite a bit smaller than the rest, and have what appear to be black legs, so I am suspecting that they are Australorpe X light Brahma. Have I caused confusion yet? I am getting a little confused just trying to keep things straight too, smiling. But it is under control, I am absolutely anal about record keeping and stuff like that. I always need to know, EVERYTHING. Do have that most wonderful day, a beautiful life, with great health. Cindi
The transport of the first crew to the brood box, they fit nicely into a big bucket, smiling. The second move was the next day, the incubator was getting rather full of babies.
Did I mention that 33 of 47 hatched?
All comfy and warm from the move from the incubator
It is amazing how quickly they figure out what water and food is.