Tuesday, 9 April 2013

They're set in the Brinsea!

I just set the Blue Orpington eggs!  I decided to let the incubator sit overnight and load the eggs this morning...  my foggy memory finally tweaked last night as last year, I loaded the eggs at night (after warming the incubator all day) and found that the temperature was not right in the morning.  By loading the eggs in the morning, I'm able to keep a closer eye on the temperature all through the day ensuring consistent accuracy by the time I go to bed.  A too hot incubator for 8 hours overnight can have a disastrous affect on the hatch rate.

Orpingtons are fantastic chickens.  They are winter hardy, docile and they lay well.  Additionally, they do brood well and make excellent mothers.  Hopefully, our hens will go broody this Spring and hatch out their own eggs.  We had a few "girls" go broody a number of weeks ago, but as we were still in the depths of winter (-25C) with 5 feet of snow AND we were going on holidays, we decided to continue collecting the eggs and not let them incubate.  Poor girls....  I feel so badly doing that but as the hens were in their toasty warm coop, they didn't really know that it was still winter outside!

Our incubator is a Brinsea Octogon Eco 20.  It's economical and easy to use but more importantly for us, it's quieter than other incubators.  This model can hold 24 chicken eggs depending on the size of the eggs.  I have 22 in here but there is room for 2 more eggs.  Eggs can rest laying down or upright as long as the large end of the egg is up (not the pointy end).  Angled sitting is fine, too.  As you can see, the black rails come out and can be inserted where needed to support the eggs and keep them from rolling around.  The eggs rest on the mesh basket ~ the weight of the egg is not actually supported by the rails.


I should also mention that there are 2 troughs in the bottom of the incubator (under the black mesh egg basket).  Those are for water to maintain humidity in the incubator.  I check those every few days and add more water if needed.  In the 2 days prior to hatch time, the troughs need to be VERY full as a higher humidity is require to facilitate a successful hatch.


Excuse the flash in the picture above - it's very early in the morning and still dark...   This is what it looks like all loaded up and closed.  Look below now...
See the octagon shape of the sides?  This is for turning.  Instead of lifting the lid and turning the eggs manually, we simply rotate the incubator forward and backward 3 times/day resting it on each side of the octagon base.  Easy and better for keeping the temperature stable and preventing accidental breakage.  I've left the cord cover off so you can see where it plugs in.  Note the tiny red temperature adjustment screw.


This screw adjusts the temperature by MICRO turns.  Literally, tiny, millimetre, micro  adjustments make a huge difference in the temperature...  


Once it's at the perfect temperature of 99.5F (and stays that way), I'll screw the cover back on to prevent tampering and keep any splashes and dust out.  The temperature goes down initially as the eggs are at room temp going in, but slowly, the temperature will rise today as the eggs warm up.  I'll check it every hour to make sure it's stabilizing well.

We should have chicks hatch out on or around the 30th of April!    









10 comments:

  1. I never knew there was a smaller incubator. Gosh, my incubator is probably 20 years old, and it is noisy!

    I hope you have a successful hatch!

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  2. I really want to hatch out some chicks this year. But I might wait for some broody hens instead of dusting off the incubator. Ours turns them automatic, I don;t think I'd remember to do it otherwise! Good luck with your hatch.

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    1. Yes, a broody hen is the way to go... so much easier to let nature take it's course! We are a bit partial to incubating a batch indoors as the kids just LOVE to see them hatch out. I suppose I'm a bit like a kid, too... it's so magical to watch. Our wee granddaughter, Penny will be very interested in seeing the chicks emerge, too :)

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  3. Oh so interesting! How exciting!

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    1. I KNOW!!! The kids came home from school and rushed straight to the incubator even though they KNOW nothing will happen for 3 weeks :)

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  4. I look forward to seeing your chickys. We have (in the last 10 days) got a black Orpington. She's 5 mths old, so not quite laying. She's a real sweetie though.

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    1. Orpingtons are so easy to have around... great all purpose chooks!

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  5. it's just amazing, truly is. Narelle's chicks hatched last night our time, she posted some lovely pics on facebook of them half out of the shell and then fluffed up and looking for a meal! Hopefully she'll blog about them soon.
    Can't wait to see yours and also to see Sweet Penny in her red cardi ;)
    xoxo

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  6. How exciting! I didn't realise incubators could be so small and neat. I can't wait to see the little chicks. Lily. xxx

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