This week the 30 eggs I had in the incubator were due to hatch. Those who follow me on Twitter know that I ended up with five chicks. Well, a sixth one hatched yesterday. Out of 30 eggs that’s not a really good hatch rate.
The eggs broke down as follows: 20 eggs from my chickens, 10 from an eBay auction I won. (Here’s a link. Hatching eggs are big business on eBay, and the reason why I wanted to test my egg fertility to see if I could sell mine.)
One of the things that’s important to do is to open the unhatched eggs to see what happened. My egg candler didn’t arrive until Wednesday (oops!) so I couldn’t candle them in progress like you should. Of the 10 shipped eggs, the 9 unhatched ones were clear. That means either they weren’t fertile to begin with or got “scrambled” during shipping. I can’t say for sure, and they were packed well, so it’s one of those things. Shipped eggs are always a gamble.
Of my eggs, heartbreakingly 6-8 of them had formed, unhatched chicks. Something went wrong during incubation. The rest had started to develop and stopped. Again, something happened.
My incubator is affectionately called “Frakenbator” because the replacement “windows” are too large and duct taped on. My guess is the “Franeknbator” needs help. We had very yo-yo temperatures, so it’s possible things weren’t the steadiest in the room (ambient temperature should be 68-75 for still air incubators to work well), as the old trailer doesn’t hold heat or cool off very easily. (I keep the furnace at 65, ac at 76 when I’m in the office cabin, so it’s possible that played a role. Oops!)
So that’s going to be a video series for my supporters! My decision? Instead of getting an entirely new incubator, because the electronics/heater are good. I’m going to settle the windows in recessed grooves as they should be and I’m going to put in a fan kit (~$40) to turn it from a still air to a circulated air incubator since those hold temperatures better. Then, I’ll put some more of my eggs in and see what happens.
I have 6+ roosters with my girls, and let’s just say with the amount of “action” I see in the chicken yard there were rightly so very few unfertilized eggs in the bunch.
What will my supporters get? I’ll document step-by-step the renovation of the Frankenbator. I’ll also document the egg incubation process from setting to hatching. It’ll probably take me a couple of weeks to get the fan kit, so things will start then.