Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Chick or the Egg, Things I have learned

Night Owl

I have had an incubator now for about a year and by trial and error I have learned a few things.  I thought I would share.
  1. Wash your eggs with dish soap.  Without cleaning with a anti microbial soap I had very low hatch rates.  But when I wash the eggs with dish soap then rinse well I had super good hatch rates for example 29 out of 33 eggs last week.
  2. When hatching mixed batches of duck and chicken eggs put your duck eggs in the icubator 1 week before the chicken eggs.  I killed my first batch of duck eggs when the chicken eggs hatched and I had the incubator open.
  3. I put a cup of water in the incubator for increased humidity.  When they are hatching if they do not get out quick then the membrane drys and effectively locks them in the egg.  The added humidity slows that drying process.  The humidity trays in the bottom of the incubator are not enough.
  4. Chicks can wear themselves out trying to hatch thru a hard egg shell!!!  Some chicks just pop right out a few minutes after they break thru with the first hole.  Others can lag on for hours with that inside membrane drying and then die before they can hatch.  At first I was afraid to "help" them and I had several half hatched chicks die.  Now my rule is if they have a hole open to air for more than 4 hours then I break a line with my thumb nail all the way around the end of the egg just like when they do it naturally.  Then the chick can stretch and pop out comes the chick.  They do not bleed this way and they survive well.  I lost one this last week out of 29 hatched chicks.
  5. Ducks drop their eggs all over.  It is like an easter egg hunt every day around here.  It is like they are walking, drop and egg and keep on walking.  I have found duck eggs in the strangest of places!!!
  6. The poultry industry has worked with genetics to get big eggs, big breasts etc but they have done gone and bred all of the brains right out of chickens.  They will NOT go broody to save my life or theirs!!!  If anybody has any ideas on how to kick start them then please share.....
  7. Eggs make great balls!!!   Just ask our Pug!!!!!
  8. Pigs will do anything for an egg.  Including walk straight across a field to go get in the stock trailer.  Poor Pork Chop had no idea where that stock trailer was then going to!!!  We get him back from the butcher today or tomorrow and are planning a ham dinner in celebration of his home coming!!!  He was our first to raise and get off to the butcher...  He was 240lbs on the hoof and dressed out at 173lbs....

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