|Judy in NC ||
Posted 09-09-2004 at 07:48:55
[Reply] [Send Email]
I just thought I'd share with you my experience using an incubator - it has been VERY disappointing.
I purchased one from Southern States (a feed store chain here). I did not purchase the automatic egg turner, or the optional fan kit for air ventilation (which adds to the cost CONSIDERABLY, but I think probably would make all the difference in the hatch rate). It holds about 50 eggs at a time. I have had an extremely low hatch rate - like 10% or so. I have tried every possible idea to increase the hatch ratio. I monitor the water to keep the humidity up. I make sure the eggs are cleaned before putting them in - preferably from a clean nest, and just wiped with a dry cloth, but use a moistened paper towel if necessary. I have tried a weak germicidal solution on the eggs. (I had read this helps a lot with duck eggs.)I turn the eggs faithfully. It just seems they are so fragile and the embryos die at various stages. I have had a lot of them fully develop and just not hatch. When I read the likely causes for this they didn't seem to apply in my set-up. The strange thing is I tried a couple of batches of guinea eggs this summer and had almost 100% hatch rate! I know my chicken eggs are good - 100% hatch rate when a hen goes broody and I put eggs under her. I'm just not too successful at mimicking her efforts. I feel like a murderer when things go bad with the batch.
For my purposes, I've decided I'm better off ordering chicks. I don't lose the use of ALL those eggs I've been putting in the incubator, save a GREAT DEAL of manpower time spent turning and monitoring the eggs, and the bought chicks are pretty inexpensive - about 20 cents each (when purchased by the hundred). I'll probably keep hatching the guineas - I can raise the keets myself (verses their dimwitted mothers losing them) :-) and keep them safe, they hatch well, and would be expensive to order.
Hope you have better success!
Judy in NC