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Date Posted: 14:42:42 08/06/08 Wed
Author: Dave H
Author Host/IP:
Subject: Class of August '08 failed

I got one chick hatched, again, and it died two days later. Again. I'm beginning to think I should change my name to Grim. It was plain this chick was going to have a struggle though, because it had a curled foot and a crooked leg. It had a hard time getting around, and got progressively weaker.

I swore I wouldn't try to hatch any more eggs after this failure, but now I'm determined to get a decent (i.e. more than one) hatch. I'm going to make some more changes and try to do it right this time. But I have a few more questions for the experts:

1) Is there such a thing as too much egg turning in the incubator? I suspect I wasn't turning the eggs enough. (The best I could do was turn them 3 times a day, but some days I only got one or two turns in and a couple of days I missed completely.) I have an idea for an automatic roller, but I don't know if a half turn 4 or 6 times a day is better, or a very slow continuous turn that lasts all day. Any thoughts?

2) Is it possible to have a brooder that's too big? I have a 3 foot plastic tub, but I've seen photos of cardboard boxes half that size with two dozen chicks in it. Cardboard would certainly hold heat better.

3) How do you get 85% humidity in an incubator? With my first clutch I could barely keep 40% with a pan full of water in the bottom of the incubator. (I'm using a styrofoam cooler for an incubator.) With the next clutch I added a sponge to expose more surface area, but that didn't help much. I finally added an aquarium pump bubbling air through a bottle of water and blowing the moist air into the incubator. I could get to a little over 50% with that, although the inside of the incubator smelled like vinyl from the plastic tubing.

I know, lots of questions, but I'm looking for any hints to improve my odds when I try again.


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