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bodger

Nearly there.

Yesterday I started collecting eggs for my first foray into hatching eggs for the best part of two years. I've already got eleven eggs saved to go into my Brinsea 20, so that means just another nine eggs to go.
So far I have nine Anconas and just the two Light Sussex. Another couple of days and I should be putting the eggs in.
horace

Best of luck with them
confused

Great stuff , wish I had the space to get more involved . Years ago when I lived in the country I did loads of hatching under broody's  , fattened a few pigs , reared orphan lambs on my goats , just wish I could turn the clock back .
bodger

I'm making the most of having a smallholding while I can.
Mo

How long can you save eggs until you start the hatching process and where do you keep them (please don't tell me you keep them down your trousers)
bodger

What do you think I am? Some kind of pervert? You've been living 'up north' for too long  

I keep the eggs in a coolish stone outhouse but basically the eggs need to be kept somewhere, where they get neither too hot or too cold.

When it comes to how long I will keep hatching eggs before sitting them, I like to have them as fresh as possible but if you look to nature, it may take a hen up to and over three weeks to lay a full clutch, yet I've regularly had a hen come out of a hedge bottom and present me with twelve or more healthy chicks.

When I used to show my chickens and I wanted eggs from a particular pairing, I'd stored eggs for over two weeks and nearly always got good hatching results from quite old eggs.

This time it's only going to take me about three days to get enough to fill the incubator but what I've done, is to put a pencil cross on one side of the egg and I've been turning them by hand once a day.
Mo

I am currently eyeing the eggs on my worktop and wondering how many are fertile now... might have a play at candling later, just to see how many are, then who knows?

Your comment about the crosses reminds me of a family friend.
Many, many moons ago his dad incubated by turning by hand. He, as the young son, was one day given the task of marking the crosses. The first time he did this dad asked why he had gone to the bother of marking the other end with a O

bodger

When you say candling the eggs, are these eggs that have already been in an incubator for some time? If they aren't, then candling wont show up fertile or non fertile eggs.
Mo

bodger wrote:
When you say candling the eggs, are these eggs that have already been in an incubator for some time? If they aren't, then candling wont show up fertile or non fertile eggs.


Ah! Ooops!
bodger

I usually candle after the eggs have been incubated for about a week. You can do it earlier but I've never been that confident.

I've got space for two more eggs, which I'll get today before putting them into the incubator. So far, I've only got three LS eggs in the kitty, so I'll leave it as long as possible to see if I can get a few more today.
bodger

Last night I set 24 eggs in the incubator. Unfortunately only three of the eggs were from my Light Sussex. I don't know what's been wrong with my stock birds for the last few days. Maybe they got stage fright.
This means that I have 21 Ancona eggs on the go. but not to worry, I'll be taking steps to ensure that my next batch should have a full batch of LS.
bodger

The LS laid two eggs this morning, so I whipped two Ancona eggs out and slipped them in. Better a bit late than never.
nigelhughes7

Been a while since I have been on here I have been hatching since early January I keep eggs no more than 10 days and try and breed around 200 large a year this years proving difficult because some hens just haven't laid an egg I have 300 eggs in the incubator at the moment and can at full capacity hatch about 600 in one go
Dave C

That's some big numbers there mate

What breeds are you hatching ?
nigelhughes7

I keep only Game poultry , asil shamo Brazillian shamo some oxfords (if they lay) large carlisles , but I also hatch for 2 or friends helps with the electricity they breed some interesting birds all show stuff not the breeds that should interest the smallholder because the birds will never supply the egg consumption but as for meat that's a different matter some I breed will reach 12 lbs plus live weight after 8 months yes I know slow growing but there we go The sumo wretlers eat them look how big they are
sapphire

Been a while for me on her too. Only just got incys down from loft. Collected a fe serama eggs, couple of Ko & Booted. Picking up Goose eggs Sunday. Incys on Sunday/Monday.

Happy hatching everyone!
bodger

A mild panic here this morning when it dawned on me that the eggs are due to hatch in the next couple of days. I'm going to add a drop of water to the incubator right this minute and of course, I've stopped turning them. Fingers crossed.
Yorkshire Geordie

Good luck - I hope you get a "cheep" thrill.  
Martyn
Dave C

Yeh good luck with the hatch John  

I'm cheating a bit and getting some day old chicks in 2 weeks time.
Then the Incy will be going on for the IG eggs after the hens have been with there new fella for a few weeks.
bodger

Well today is the day that the 21 days are up. I'm up and about this morning and so far, there's just the one chick in the incubator. It's a Light Sussex. It's still wet and hasn't been out of the shell for very long. There are a couple other eggs that look to have chipped, so here's hoping that my chick isn't alone for too long.
bodger

I'd better nip out and switch the electric hen on. The Light Sussex has just been joined by an Ancona.
Dave C

Fingers crossed mate
bodger

I've just got in from walking the dog and another LS is on its way out.
bodger

I'd got three chicks by the end of yesterday and I've another four this morning.

Not a brilliant hatch but it'll have to do. I stuck 24 eggs in at the start but nine of those were discarded early on because they were empty. I can see that there are some eggs in the incubator that have chipped but still haven't hatched.
confused

Hope they come out ok,
bodger

I've taken the last four out of the incubator and put them under the electric hen with the first three. This is the 22nd day and I've noticed that of the remaining eggs at least three have chipped. I never know whether to assist stragglers or not. I'll probably wait until late afternoon before deciding. Fingers crossed that they're able to break out unassisted.
bodger

Another two chicks have hatched. That's nine out of fifteen so far.
brewer66

Good luck with the rest Bodger.
I've just hatched some chicks from the hens I got from your eggs last year.
I had a LS cock already although I thought he might be getting a bit old.
Not a bit of it   .
I put 24 eggs in, seven were clear (I think there must be one hen he doesn't fancy as all the clear eggs looked alike ) 15 hatched, 2 dead in shell. Not bad.
 



You will miss all this when you sell up or are you going to buy another holding and carry on but in a different place ?
bodger

Those look as though they're going to be big chunky birds. Just the way that I like them. Is Dave getting some from you ?
Dave C

No mate I could have some of a local guy at Barnard Castle
He got an original cockerel from me off the eggs I hatched from you.
Then when I retired the hens 2 years ago I have them to him and apparently they are all still laying well and going strong.

So how old will they be now  
bodger

I'm not sure but it's nice to think that they are still up and going strong.

I put 24 eggs in the incubator and through 9 duds out after one week. I've ended up with 13 chicks from the remaining 15 eggs.
Yorkshire Geordie

Well done Bodger.  
13 must be a lucky number for you.    
Martyn
bodger

No, when I went to put the last four under the electric hen this morning, one of the one's that I put under yesterday had kicked the bucket.

I feel another setting of eggs coming on.
Dave C

Picked up 2 broodies last night from a mate
1 will b sitting on half by Buff Rock eggs this week, other half in Incy.
And the other will hopefully be adopting the Sasso broiler chicks I'm picking up next Saturday.

This morning neither looked particularly broody  


Typical, they have just scratched around the runs on there broody coops all day, I think it might be incubator and heat lamp unless things change pretty dam quick !
bodger

I'll be setting another lot within the next few days.

On slightly different note, has anyone had a go at hatching quail in an incubator and if so, have you got any tips for hatching and then rearing the little blighters?
sandrar

Thinking of giving it a go. I was going to just buy POL quail but the ones I ordered never seemed to materialise so thinking of hatching some, would also be interested in others experience.
bodger

I'm off in a minute to fetch some chick crumbs but don't tell Karen, I've had another idea. The merchant has some fantastic looking guinea fowl running around the yard and I'm going to see if he has any eggs to spare.
Guinea fowl take 28 days to hatch, so I don't see any problem if in 7 days time  I add some chicken eggs to top the incubator up. Well it's a plan.
sandrar

gleenies - noisy, prehistoric monsters.
Dave C

Just been out in the crazy wind & snow to set some eggs under a poor broody  

Didn't seem right with s covering of snow on the ground but hay ho.
Got half in the Incy just in case.
bodger

It was 3.3 degrees here this morning. Very Chilly but nothing that should really affect a broody. In three weeks time it will be sweltering.
Dave C

Forecast -3 here tonight  
bodger

I'll be loading up again this evening. At the moment I've got ten LS eggs saved and I'm hoping for a couple more off them today. I'll top up with Anconas.
My Welsummers do lay lovely dark brown eggs but there are far darker egg layers about and if I was to ever want to hatch some more, then I'd probably buy  eggs in. The one's that you see on the internet look so dark, they hardly seem real.
bodger

bodger wrote:
I'll be setting another lot within the next few days.

On slightly different note, has anyone had a go at hatching quail in an incubator and if so, have you got any tips for hatching and then rearing the little blighters?


I've just found this excellent article on quail. It's going to be  a great help in my quest.

http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/607/raising-japanese-quail/
sandrar

Great link - thank you
bodger

Works well for Anconas too.  
sandrar

I have been giving them some serious consideration ! Just not sure if I've room for another breeding group. I'm reluctant to replace my Exchequers as I've worked on them for a while now and have a waiting list for POL, they are becoming more widely available now however whereas Ancona LF are quite scarce.
Dave C

Was up at 5.30am this morning to drive up to Hexham in Northumberland
To pick up 21 of these little meaty fellas.





bodger

They look bonny big chicks Dave.

My quail project has advanced by three weeks. My next door neighbour has offered to get me two and a half dozen Golden Quail hatching eggs and to lend me an incubator too.
Dave C

Well both my broodies have jacked in  

1 on Buff Plymouth Rock eggs the other only on dummy eggs.
I still have some Buff Rocks in the Incy & all I can hope for now is they re sit & I can use 1 as a foster mother!
bodger

The first of my sitting geese has jacked in today as well. On the plus side, if things go to plan, then my quail eggs should be here this weekend.

I'll be candling the second lot of hens eggs this evening. They've been in the incubator for about a week.
sandrar

Have you thought about the type of housing you are going to use for the quail? I've been researching different styles and can't decide what would work best. Any ideas appreciated
bodger

Quail are prone to vertical take off, so we have a well sheltered 6x4 aviary for them to go into. I'm going to put some plastic netting beneath the roof to stop them from hurting their noggins.
bodger









Quail?
I've never kept them before but within the last few minutes I've just put these into a small incubator that I've borrowed.
The eggs are from Italian Golden Quail which are supposes to be pretty good layers. They are very precocious creatures and are supposed to start laying at around eight weeks old. The book says that the eggs should take eighteen days to hatch.
Fingers crossed, we'll have to see what happens. smile emoticon
The larger of the two incubators is my own and has chicken eggs in it.
Dave C

I've knocked the heat lap off my chicks.
It gets very hot in the hay barn where they are when the suns out.
So it's off until later this afternoon.

They are only 1.5 weeks old so a bit early to put them out.
bodger

Me too.
sandrar

It's been misty with a cold wind here, we lit the fire quiet early this evening.
bodger

It was 25 degrees plus all day long here yesterday and we sat outside in the garden till way after nine. I was unsure whether or not to put the electric hen back on for the chicks last night but eventually erred on the side of caution.
Dave C

Similar here, was 23'C & we sat out until about 8pm, even had our tea out side  

I put the heat lamp back on but lift it quite high.
Hoping to harden off these quite quick & get them outside as quick as possible as I need the space for my next batch.
But I suppose it will take as long as it takes!
Dave C

My chicks are just over 2 weeks now & growing like weeds!!

What's the earliest you've had them off heat & outside ?
Its normally about 5 weeks for me.
sandrar

I've had them out at three weeks in previous summers. They were absolutely fine. As you know wet is worse then cold, so as long as they have shelter they should be good.
Dave C

Got 3 eggs piped, 30 hours early  

This has happened a few times now & it tends to be the early ones that don't make it, but we will see.
bodger

I stopped turning my second batch of hen eggs last night and added some warm water to the incubator. They're due to hatch on the 20th. Candling only reduced the batch of 24 by three or four, so I have a reasonable chance of quite a good hatch.
Dave C

There was a nice little batch of Buff Rock chicks waiting for me this morning  
bodger

Dave C

bodger wrote:
I stopped turning my second batch of hen eggs last night and added some warm water to the incubator. They're due to hatch on the 20th. Candling only reduced the batch of 24 by three or four, so I have a reasonable chance of quite a good hatch.


What breeds are in this batch mate ?
bodger

I've got some interesting stuff in right now. The one's I'm quite intrigued with are the First LS from the Fred Hamms cock that I hatched, across my original birds. It'll be interesting to see how they turn out.
And I also have some more Ancona eggs in too.
bodger

I've got some interesting stuff in right now. The one's I'm quite intrigued with are the First LS from the Fred Hamms cock that I hatched, across my original birds. It'll be interesting to see how they turn out.
And I also have some more Ancona eggs in too.
bodger

I've not altered the settings on the incubator since the last setting but I have two eggs chipped already.  Excuse my excitement, I never tire of it.    
Yorkshire Geordie

Success - congratulations to Bodger the Hatcher.  
Martyn
Dave C

Yes my Mrs laughs at me saying it has me acting like a little kid  

Finally I'm having some luck with my broodies
Tried my Buff Rock under one last night & all looked well this morning  
bodger

It will probably be another 24 hours before they make it out of the shell.
sandrar

I've a hatch due tomorrow - Welsummers from dark eggs. Although 100% fertile I'm not sure on how successful the hatch will be, they fair much better under a broody hen. ( which I didn't have at the time but now have 6 )
bodger

As you know, I've always struggled when it comes to hatching Welsummers, where as my LS and my Anconas are pretty much idiot proof.
sandrar

I'm trying a completely dry hatch for the first time. I've been incubating dry for a while now but have always added water on day 18. Humidity is reading 31- 33+ % naturally and the air sacs are still on the small side, so I thought I'd give it a go. All my instincts however say 'add water'.

I've also tried sanding areas of the shell to see if this aids water loss from the egg. I think the obvious answer however is leave it to the hen
bodger

Two very recently hatched and rather tired Ancona chicks waiting in the incubator for me this morning.
sandrar

Lovely - today's hatch day and not a squeak I usually have something by now but do find the dark eggs slower...I'll try and be patient. Good  luck with your hatch.
bodger

It's looking OK so far. There are five chicks out now and I can see that there are plenty more chipping.
bodger

Eleven chicks so far and it looks a s though quite a few more are on the way.
sandrar

Great news! I have pipping. I'd forgotten this is the hatch which was newly set when we had the electric turn off one morning to swap the meters over to smart meters.
Dave C

All's looking good with the broody





sandrar

bodger

Funny looking things those silkies.

Well that's me done hatching for the season, the incubator can go away for at least another year. I've managed what amounts to almost a full house with this last hatch. I initially put 24 eggs into the incubator and took out three duds a week into proceedings leaving me with 21 viable eggs and yes ! This morning I have 21 chicks !

   
Dave C

Yeah the Silky isn't mine she's on loan ha
She was only drafted in Monday night after the other 2 failed.

Well done on the hatch mate  

I'm doing 1 more end of June if I can get my timing right, which will include more table birds, hopefully some Indian Game if I can get the right ones, some Wyndotte's for the Mrs and some Guinea Fowl.
bodger

Quail eggs are due to hatch on the 25th. I'm going to clean the incubator out this morning and transfer the eggs to it. The incubator that they're in is a borrows one and its such a fiddly little thing.
I've been promised so guinea fowl eggs but I don't know if I'll bother. If I do get them Dave, do you want me to post them to you?
Dave C

The Guinea Fowl will be going in the Pheasant pens on the shoot at about 8 weeks old. They will live with the young Poults and work as an early warning alarm (well that's the idea).
So after a few weeks they will be free with the pheasants feeding from the hoppers,
When the season starts they will have a fine on them but generally most will be taken by February.

So depends if you're ok with that, as they won't see much of old age  
bodger

You should know me by now Dave, I'm not at all concerned. In fact, thinking back a good many years ago, I ended up shooting the last lot we had so that we could get some peace. Noisy little buggers they were!
brewer66

Great hatch Bodger.
Looks like the Fred Hams cockerel is a good one  
Dave C

Didn't think so John  

Yes that will be great then thanks, let me know when you're likely to get them & it would be nice if they fall in line with my last batch.
Dave C

Last batch went in yesterday.

12 Indian Game
12 Ixworth x Hubbards
6 Blue laced Wyndotte bantams

I also have 20 Sasso Farm Rangers & 20 Guinea Fowl chicks being delivered in 3 weeks so I can rear them all together.

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