Thursday, 26 January 2012

The incubator is on...

.... for the first test hatch of 2012. It is a little earlier in the season than I usually start but the mild winter has lulled me into a false sense of security.

I prefer to hatch using broody hens but my first setting is generally with the incubator. This year the incubator is in the garage. Previous years it has been in the hallway of the house and I have had many successful hatches when sited there, but the constant humming of the machine annoys certain family members so the garage it is. The garage is built into the hillside, so mostly underground, with a stable temperature and so far the incubator is remaining constant.

I set the eggs on Monday 23rd January.

24 eggs: -
12 Exchequer Leghorns.
4 Gold Duckwing Welsummer
8 eggs from various hens running with the young Partridge and Gold DuckwingWelsummer cockerels. These birds will be crossbreeds but should be good layers of brown eggs.

At the beginning of next week I will candle them. Any clear eggs will be removed. For now I am running the incubator dry, if when I candle the eggs the air sac looks a little too large for the dates I'll add a small amount of water to the tray. Then it is just a case of waiting for the 18th day of incubation when I will candle again, remove any non goers, fill the bottom of the incubator with warm water and wait, for hopefully a successful hatch.

If in the meantime any of the hens go broody ( I have a feeling the Speckled Sussex is 'thinking about it ' ) depending on the number of eggs proven to be fertile I will more than likely transfer them across to the hen. If a large number of the eggs are fertile I will probably wait until they hatch and transfer the young chicks across.

2012 breeding season has begun ...hopefully.

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