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#42341 - 08/12/02 11:09 AM hatching in a home built forced air incubator
BC Breeder Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 434
Loc: Canada
I'm in the middle of my second hatch with a home built incubator. It contains a fan for air circulation. During the first hatch, I had a problem with alot of goo sticking to the chicks and I found I had to wash a few with warm water to free up glued feet and wings. It really seemed to prolong the fluffing up stage of hatching. However, the chicks that I washed, I wrapped loosely in a facecloth to protect them from a wind chill. I found these chicks ended up fluffing up the fastest. I concluded that the chick bouncing against the cloth fabric helped to clean and dry the chick. I also don't recall ever seeing a gooey chick come out from under a broody hen.

With this in mind I modified my hatching procedure. On day 18 when I removed the eggs from the rack and placed on the tray, I placed them on a clean towel and then folded the towel over to cover the eggs. This way, when they hatched, they would be spared the fast dry effect of the fan and the towel would help retain a humid zone. It seems to be working so far as the chicks are hatching our much faster this time and keep popping out of the towel nice and clean. Being a newbie, I haven't a clue if there is a downside to this, I'll save that for those with more experience.

In case anyone is wondering, the small cage is so that I could keep chicks from one specific hen seperate from the rest. It has worked well in helping me keep track of parentage of the chicks. Even though none of these chicks have any realistic breeding potential, it's a way for me to practice methods wink



ok, the image didn't seem to work, and neither did the direct link to it, here is attempt 3, haha.

http://bcbreeder.tripod.com/index.htm
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http://www3.telus.net/OmegaBlue/

Pictures related to my blue eggers can be viewed at:
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#42342 - 08/12/02 11:26 AM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
Thanks for the post. Does anyone on the board know something about converting a refrigerator into an incubator? I vaguely remember an article from a long time ago :rolleyes: that featured just such a conversion. If you have any leads, please post 'em. Thank you.

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#42343 - 08/12/02 11:35 AM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
Graciel Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 423
Loc: New York
I looked into the refrigerator idea this spring, BigBoy, and found this link: http://www.utm.edu/departments/ed/cece/idea/incu.shtml

Didn't do anything about it at the time, but then I'm still waiting for my current refrigerator to fold so I can go buy a new one and experiment with my old one. wink

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#42344 - 08/12/02 12:04 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
D. Caveny Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1102
Loc: Arizona
I was looking at your reference list and noted you seem to be interested in Reciprocal Recurrent Selection...even Art Heisdorf who wasted years on the program deceided in the end it was a waste of time. He published his conclusions at the Breeder's Roundtable in the late 70's or 80's. A look at Hutt & Cole's paper in 1973 Selection and Heterosis in Cornell White Leghorns: a Review, with Special Consideration of Interstrain Hybrids. Animal Breeding Abstracts 41(3):103-118 SHOWS THAT IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO CROSS THE SAME BRIDGE MORE THAN ONCE. Once a population nicks it will neck from then on!

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#42345 - 08/12/02 12:24 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
D. Caveny Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1102
Loc: Arizona
I finally got you photo to load. The photo tells me what your cause of sticky chicks is. The humidity is 79%...setting from day 1 thru 18 should be about 56% (84F wet bulb) then during piping to total emergence 73% (90F wet bulb) and then to dry (fluff) chicks back down to 56%. Doing this will stop the sticky chick problem. You may have to modify you ventilation slots on the cabinet if you are having troubles reaching this level of relative humidity.

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#42346 - 08/12/02 12:25 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
Rob Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 783
Loc: Pennsylvania
BC, if you can locate the Rare Poultry Discussion, there has been a lot of info on reeferbators. some have 1,000 eggers. Its what works for you that counts most, I like to read of personal experiences as you mentioned in your last post. It is posts like this which keep the COOP THE place to be.

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#42347 - 08/12/02 12:38 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
Rob Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 783
Loc: Pennsylvania
I WILL have pedigree baskets before next season, I can no longer tell several of my chicks parentage. I will make them today thanks to your post BC.

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#42348 - 08/12/02 01:03 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
Thank you graciel for your post. I read it and will study it later. I appreciate your helping me out. Rob, I made a template for use on 1/4" hardware cloth and cinctured the sides with j-clips and hold the "lid" to the "box" with big rubber bands (for added security I have loosely clipped the top on one side and knotted a piece of string through the box and lid on the side opposite of the lid-clips). The label is cut from one of those laths from a cheep (chicken entendre) set of venetian blinds cut to about three inches long and the pertinent data placed on the lath piece with a magic marker and slipped under the rubber bands. I have also used just plain 'wedding veil' mesh and placed the eggs in the center of a circle of the material, put a bread-wrapper twistem having the label on it and twist it around the top of the cloth bag after gathering the circle up. The bags or boxes are then placed in the hatcher and left there until the hatch is completed.

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#42349 - 08/12/02 01:52 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
BC Breeder Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 434
Loc: Canada
Bigboy, I had downloaded direction on building a fridge incubator but can't find it at the moment. I actually used ideas from it when fine tuning my home built. When I find it, I'll post a link. BTW, thanks for the additional tips on pedigree baskets, I like the idea of a rubber band instead of using twisted wire.

D Caveny - when I find a place where we can go indepth into breeding discussions without fear of getting the threads closed needlessly, I will be happy to debate our opinions of RRS and it's relevance to poultry breeding. It won't be hard for me to broaden your perspective on this issue, but doing so will require a fair bit of reference collecting and time on my part. I want to know that the effort won't be wasted on an unreliable medium. I've addressed this issue with the admin here and have yet been assured that the mod will refrain from playing with the closed thread button. If you are aware of a suitable location for the discussion, I'm game wink

I hear you on the humidity issue. The problem is that I followed the standard recommended temps and humidity settings (37.5C, 60% incubate, 70% hatch) with my first hatch and it was problematic. Starting with the hatch coming in two waves, one on day 20 and the second on day 22. Makes it tough to have seperate humidities for the hatching phase and the drying phase. Also made it tough to diagnose my temp and humidity settings. Many chicks pipped and then died in their shells, but none appeared to drown.

I'm also not certain of the accuracy of the hygrometer. Therefore, with the second hatch, I maintained the temps the same as the first hatch and decided to modify my humidity approach. I also read up on the technique of dry incubation.

With this second batch, I didn't add any water to the incubator from day 0 to day 18 and let it maintain a humidity of roughly 25-35% depending on the weather. Then on day 18, I added a tray of water and moved the eggs to the hatching rack. The humidity reading has been fluctuating between 75 and 85, but mostly hovering around 80% However, like I suggested before, this is just a reading on the digital instrument, it hasn't been verified with a quality wetbulb.

So far this hatch is going faster and cleaner but I won't assess the humidity setting until it's completion. I will see how many went full term and then died in their shells, including how many drowned. My one concern is that again they are hatching on the morning of day 20 and not day 21. I guess if I get a good hatch rate despite the early emergence, I will lower my temps on the next one.

One factor complicating my observations was a bone headed move on my part on day 14. I decided to clean up and apply some finish to the hatching rack to make it easier to clean. With the rack out, the incubating racks was able to travel further then intended when I rotated it. Coupled with the fact that the holes in this one are one size too small, more than half of the eggs fell out and fell to the styrofoam floor. many cracked and the ones with bloody cracks were discarded. The ones that didn't bleed were marked with a C and then returned to the incubator to see if they would hatch. Plus there is a chance the shock of the drop killed some without cracking the shell, but I didn't think to mark all the ones that dropped. I guess it won't effect those that went full term. So far some of the cracked ones have hatched, so maybe I got lucky.

rob, thanks for the tip, I'll see if I can find that site.
_________________________
Omega Blue Farms
http://www3.telus.net/OmegaBlue/

Pictures related to my blue eggers can be viewed at:
http://groups.msn.com/BCsBlueEggers

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#42350 - 08/12/02 03:21 PM Re: hatching in a home built forced air incubator
Rob Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 783
Loc: Pennsylvania
I do hope we all will be informed where/when you begin this debate. Obviously, we have something to gain. I would hope you could carry on right here @ the classroom!

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