That’s right! We’ve reached the lockdown incubation stage of our second set of chicken eggs. There are still 10 eggs going strong; 5 Ameraucana, 4 Silver-Laced Wyandottes and 1 Jubilee Orpington. I did a couple of things different during this incubation:
- Hand-turned throughout incubation – the incubator we have will only hold about 9 chicken eggs in the automatic turner. Since we started with 17 eggs this time I placed them directly on the incubator platform and faithfully turned them 180 degrees 3 times a day for the last 18 days.
- Dry Hatch – this is sort of a misnomer because the hygrometer indicates the atmosphere in the incubator technically wasn’t dry. However, I didn’t add any water to the incubator and the humidity level kept steady at 45-50% throughout incubation. The last time we incubated a set of chicken eggs I often struggled with humidity levels which also seemed to affect consistent temperature levels. I suspect it helped that the incubator was housed in our bathroom where there are at least 2 showers taken in there a day thereby keeping humidity levels higher than in other areas of the house.
- Less Candling – this was really hard for me to stick to! I’m tempted to candle the eggs every single day to monitor development. However, I decided to only candle on key days this time; prior to placing in the incubator, Day 4, Day 7, Day 14 and Day 18. Should hatching take longer than I’m expecting, I may candle again to ensure there are internal pips but I’m really not expecting any major difficulties this time. The temperature and humidity stayed rock solid throughout incubation so I believe, barring no genetic issues, malpositioning, etc., that should greatly increase our hatching success.
As for the other chicks from our first set of eggs, they’re happily adjusting to life down in our basement. I had planned to move them out to the coop this weekend but The Yellow One still has some down on him, the temperatures have been quite chilly lately, and their visit out to the coop the other day showed me they just aren’t ready. I had preheated the coop and decided I would let The Yellow One and The Grey One spend some time out there to see if they were ready to be moved. For the first 15 minutes they did really well and were eating, drinking and exploring as expected. It was The Yellow One that first started indicating the temperatures were still too low for them; he kept randomly laying/flopping on his side. When I noticed The Grey One start this behaviour as well I realized they simply couldn’t handle the temperatures and I quickly whisked them both back inside. The temperature of the house is 70 degrees Fahrenheit right now. I moved the chicks downstairs though where the temperatures are more like 67-68. This should help more slowly acclimatize them to the cooler temperatures for the next couple weeks. Then, once the weather outside is a little warmer, I’ll try moving them out to the coop again.
That’s it for now! I’ll post an update on the second set hatching as soon as I can! Hopefully, this time I’ll be able to get some pictures of it as well 🙂