At last, some hatching action! Well, hopefully anyway...
Brother Marc (he isn't a priest by the way - in fact quite the opposite) has got 12 Cream Legbar eggs in the incubator. These are blue eggs and are an 'auto' sexing breed. This means that when they hatch you can tell what sex the chick is by its colour. The cockerel (male) is a cream colour with the Pullet (female) having a darker down.
He also has 5 of our own eggs in there, which is really a test to see if our cockerels are doing the biz. Actually I know that they are getting in to gear as regards 'coupling' shall we say, but whether or not they are fertile remains to be seen. One things for sure, there is no room for free loaders here at Bootle Hens. The cockerels may be firing blanks but my shot gun doesn't.
Here are a few incubation tips:
Eggs hatch 21 days after incubation begins.
The correct temperature for incubating chicken eggs is 37.7 degrees Celsius.
You can take eggs out of the fridge and incubate them successfully but for every day that passes (up to seven days, after which there is a relatively low chance, if any, of them hatching) the chance of the egg hatching goes down.
Incubators should be disinfected before use.
Set the incubator going a while before adding the eggs to get the temperature right.
Eggs should be washed before adding them to the incubator.
Eggs should be marked with an 'O' on one side and an 'X' on the opposite.
They are generally turned twice a day but apparently the more the better (but I don't think doing it 700 times a day would be very good as all the temperature fluctuation would be too much). I do it 3 times a day. I also turn the eggs 3 times a day.
In the incubator there should be a thermometer and a hygrometer (humidity sensor).
Humidity is increased by adding water to the incubator. I personally use a fine spray bottle.
You need to increase the humidity in the incubator to about 50-60% after about 12 days. For the final 4 days increase it to 80%. This softens up the egg shell a bit more for the chicks hatching.
Hatching eggs yourself is a wonderful thing - especially if you have a young family. They will love it. If you decide to have a go then please remember that you may well end up with chicks that will grow in to adult birds which are not very cute at all in comparison to chicks. And you should be able to accommodate them. A chick is for life not just for hatching.
Following my instructions will NOT guarantee success.
The above comment can only be reinforced by the fact that only 4 eggs hatched out of 16! Various factors dictate with the main ones being egg fertility and incubation conditions.