Monday, February 7, 2011

Incubator Score!

I’ve been debating on which incubator to get for what seems like forever.  Last week I finally decided on one and it had actually made it into the cyber-shopping cart.   I was interrupted by something or other and left the computer & website before checking out.  Later that evening I told Paul that I had finally made a decision on the incubator and was about to make that final “Click” and purchase it.  He told me to wait a day or two more because a buddy at work had an incubator in his barn that was just sitting there unused for several years & would give it to us.   So Paul brought it home a few days ago, I cleaned them up and this is what I got:
It’s a “Little Giant” still-air incubator with an egg turner.  Not only that, but he gave us two more of the same kind!  One of them had some problems, so it’s just for parts, but the other one is in working order, just without the egg turner.  So I’ll just use that one for a temporary brooder until all the eggs have hatched.
I’ve got thirty eggs in there, mostly from our hens, and a few from the neighbor’s hens.  Our rooster is a black mutt (Barred Rock / Australorp) and we have Barred Rock, Australorp, Americana & Rhode Island Red hens.  The neighbor has a White Crested Black Polish rooster and Rhode Island Red hens, so I’m hoping that his funky headgear is passed on to a few of his offspring.  Not sure if that’s how the crested-genetics stuff works, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt. 

I had been saving the eggs for six, maybe seven days, and kept them in the basement where it was coolest.  The days I had been collecting them also happened to be the coldest this winter and they were really, really cold when I was finally able to get them.  Because some of them were “older” and pretty cold, I’m assuming that the hatch rate isn’t going to be the best.  I’d be happy with a 50% hatch rate.  And of course, ½ of them will probably be roosters, so that leaves me with 7 or 8 hens out of thirty eggs.  Well, at least that’s how I’m figuring it.
Since the incubator needs to be somewhere with a somewhat constant ambient temperature, I decided to put them in the basement on my sewing / craft table.  I was worried that the basement would be too cold and the incubator wouldn’t be able to keep up with it, but the only other option would be to have it upstairs where it was warmer.  The problem with that is that although it is warmer, the temperatures fluctuate wildly since we heat with wood.  Right before bed it could be close to 80 degrees, but by morning it can be in the mid to lower 60’s. 
The incubator has been on for four days now (two days with eggs) and after messing with the temperature control for a bit, I’ve been able to keep it a pretty consistent 99 – 101 degrees. 
Thanks for the incubators, Donald!  You name the type of cookie & I’ll hook you up!


  1. Thanks for visiting my journal.

    First, let me say I am very impressed with your knowledge of living in the country and living simply.

    Second, your daughter is just a little doll!

    I enjoyed reading all your posts and am glad you lucked out on the incubators! That is something I have never done. I bought all the old-time chickens thinking at least l or 2 would set....and they did; one year! nary a setting hen since. I think I will buy a couple of banties. They can usually be counted on.

    If you just had a milk cow, you would be completely set!

    We are north of I-44 so we get all the "good" weather.

  2. Thanks for popping by! Nice to find other "local" bloggers in such a large blogosphere.

    I got a couple of silkies just a few weeks ago & hoping that they will be good setters. It's nice that you can get a bunch of eggs in the incubator, but I'd much rather have the hen do the work so I don't have to mess around with a brooder & stuff.

    I haven't really yearned for a milk cow.....yet. The goats keep us in plenty of milk, but oh, to have cream would be so very nice!

    Hope you weathered the storms ok (sorry to hear you're north of 44! lol)