Incubating a New Batch

I put a batch of eggs in the incubator yesterday. I thought it might be fun for the extra readers I have for the month of NaBloWriMo to see the process of hatching chicks start to finish.

This would be the ultimate "Before" picture!

The incubator is a bottom-of-the-line styrofoam model with an egg turner. My hatch rates range from 30%-60%.

I have loaded in 19 beautiful eggs. Hopefully at least half will hatch and hopefully half will be hens. That would be 4-5 hens. But alas my incubator hatches many more males than females. Just lucky I guess!

Incubator at half full. The eggs are in an automatic turner. Notice the variation in shades of brown. These are all purebred White Orpingtons eggs from hens all the same age, but there is natural variation.

It takes 21 days to hatch eggs, so these will be done before this October challenge is over.

Except….(Major Caveat)…my roosters are very young–6 months old. I have never used eggs fertilized by roosters this young before, so I don’t know for sure they are fertile yet.

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8 Responses to Incubating a New Batch

  1. Yay, let there be peeps! 🙂

  2. glorylennon says:

    Could it be that the temperature is too high and that may be why you get mostly males? I do so wish you get more hens this time. I’m not so certain Tom and pull of another clandestine “rooster drop”! 😉

    • Julie Helms says:

      I know with some animals (alligators, I think) temperature determines sex, but I have never read anything like that for chickens. They must be incubated in a pretty narrow range–98-102 degrees. 103 is death and much below 98 begins to slow the progress and poor hatch rates ensue. My bottom of the line incubator cannot be more specific than that. I shoot for the middle of the range and can usually maintain that.

  3. Clandestine rooster drop … lol. I have some ex-landlords in mind for those. Then again, even while I do not like roosters too much, that would not be nice. Looking forward to the updates.

  4. Laura says:

    Sooo exciting. I used to love watching this process at home as a kid!

  5. Sue Martin says:

    Seeing those eggs in the incubator makes me want to try that again. Although last time I had a terrible hatch rate, so I think I’ll wait ’till Spring. It’s getting pretty cold, Julie. You’ll have those babies in your house all winter! Love it! I’ll have to visit when they all hatch.
    Your chicken-loving friend,

  6. Lady Jayne says:

    What an awesome idea! I can’t wait to see how it goes.


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