Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 18

Friday May 28, 2010

It's Lockdown Day!
Today's the day we stop turning the eggs, stop opening the incubator and increase the humidity - thus called a "lockdown".  This is so the chicks can get in position to hatch.  The humidity is increased so the shell stays soft and they can hatch out.

Getting the eggs and incubator ready for lockdown.

I arranged the eggs, added sponges and a mug of water.

How can you add water to the incubator without opening the lid?  A straw!  We positioned the butter dish with sponges right under the hole.  We can use a long straw to direct the water into the dish.

Before I closed the lid, I made sure to write down where all the eggs were so we know which ones are hatching.  

Which egg do you think will hatch first?

The viable eggs are:
White Eggs: w2, w3, w4, w5, w6, w7, w8, w9, w11
Brown Eggs: b1, b2, b3, b4, b5, b6, b7, b9, b10, b11, b12, b13

Disclaimer!  Even the most experienced people who incubate eggs, don't have all the viable eggs hatch.  Plus, we really couldn't candle most of the brown eggs, because of their brown shell.  Our goal is to have 50% of the eggs hatch, so don't be sad if your egg doesn't hatch.  It's mother nature!

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Day 17

Thursday May 27, 2010

Day 17 Embryo Development - beak turns toward air cell

Incubator Temperature: 99°
Humidity: 50 % - 60 %
Turning Eggs:
O @ 7:15 am
X @ 4:00 pm
O @ 11:00 pm

Comments: Lockdown is tomorrow!  

Also, the Elett's brought over their brooder kit and Laurel dropped off a big back of chick starter feed. THANK YOU!  

The brooder is like a nursery for chicks.  Once the chicks hatch and dry off in the incubator, we will move them to the brooder to grow until they start to feather out.  We are going to clean and disinfect the brooder.  Then we will set it up in our garage so it will be all ready for the chicks!

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Day 16

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Day 16 Embryo Development - scales, claws and beak becoming firm and horny

Incubator Temperature: 99°
Humidity: 7:30 am : 30%, 11 pm : 50%

Turning Eggs:
X @ 7:30 am
O @ 4:00 pm
X @ 11:00 pm

Comments: We decided to weigh the eggs as another way to check how much moisture is being lost in each egg.  All eggs have lost between 5% and 10 % of their original weight. This is more reassuring than candling and looking at the air sac size.  So we decide to bring the humidity up to around 50%.  If too much moisture is lost, the chicks can't get out of their shell when hatching.  How does the hen do all this??!!

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Day 15

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Incubator Temperature: 7:30 am: 100°, 11 pm:  99°
Humidity 7 am: 57%, 10:45 pm: 40 %

Turning Eggs:
O @ 7:30 am
X @ 3:00 pm
O @ 10:45 pm

Comments: worked on reducing the humidity today.  Added no water to reservoir, took off air hole plug.

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Day 14

Monday May 24, 2010

Day 14 Embryo Development - embryo gets into position suitable for breaking shell

Incubator Temperature: 98° @ 7am, 99° rest of day
Humidity 63%

Turning Eggs:
X @ 7:15 am
O @ 3:00 pm
X @ 11:00 pm

Comments: the air sacs seem small.  We will try and reduce the humidity.  The air sacs should gradually get larger as the egg looses liquid.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


The second kind of egg in our incubator are Leghorns.  These eggs are white and they came free from the Wayne County Extension Service.  A big thank you to them!

The Leghorn is a breed of chicken with origins in Tuscany, central Italy. The first birds imported to North America in 1853 were called Italians. By 1865 the breed was named after the Italian city of Livorno, on the western edge of Tuscany, which in English is also known as Leghorn.

Leghorns are excellent layers of white eggs (around 280 per year) with a superior feed-to-egg conversion ratio. Leghorns rarely exhibit broodiness and are thus well suited for uninterrupted egg laying. The Leghorn is a light breed that matures quickly to only 3 or 4 lbs and is not considered a viable meat producer. Leghorns are active and efficient foragers. They typically avoid human contact and tend to be nervous and flighty.  (from Wikipedia)

Leghorn chicks

Leghorn rooster

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We have two kinds of eggs in our incubator. 

The brown eggs are Australorp eggs.  They came from the Hange Family.  The Hanges have 20+ Australorps at their farm.  They have 4 roosters and the rest are hens.  Also, Logan has some young Australorps for his 4-H project this year.  They like the Australorp breed because they are calm, friendly, hardy and lay lots of brown eggs.

This breed originated in Australia developed from Black Orpingtons imported from England; and the emphasis of the breeding program was on egg production without sacrificing too much in size and meat quality. Some sensational results were made in the Australian program, and one hen set a laying record of 364 eggs in 365 days. Introduced into this country in the 1920's, they have become useful and popular and are certainly one of the best layers of light brown eggs of all the heavy breeds. (info from McMurray Hatchery)

When the eggs hatch, the chicks should look like this:

picture is from My Pet Chicken

Full-grown Astralorp trio

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 13

Sunday May 23, 2010

Day 13 Embryo Development - appearance of scales and claws

Incubator Temperature: 99°
Humidity 60%
Turning Eggs:
O @ 8:00 am
X @ 3:00 pm
O @ 11:00 pm

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Day 12

Saturday May 22, 2010

Incubator Temperature: 100°
Humidity 61%
Turning Eggs:
X @ 8:00 am
O @ 3:20 pm
X @ 10:00 pm

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Stages in Embryo Development

I found a really neat website that explains the stages of development in a chick embryo.  The info below is from the Mississippi State University Extension Service.


Before Egg Laying:
Division and growth of living cells
Segregation of cells into groups of special function (tissues)

Between Laying and Incubation
No growth; stage of inactive embryonic life

During Incubation:

First Day
16 hours - first sign of resemblance to a chick embryo
18 hours - appearance of alimentary tract
20 hours - appearance of vertebral column
21 hours - beginning of nervous system
22 hours - beginning of head
24 hours - beginning of eye

Second day
25 hours - beginning of heart
35 hours - beginning of ear
42 hours - heart beats

Third day
60 hours - beginning of nose
62 hours - beginning of legs
64 hours - beginning of wings

Fourth day - beginning of tongue

Fifth day - formation of reproductive organs and differentiation of sex

Sixth day - beginning of beak

Eighth day - beginning of feathers

Tenth day - beginning of hardening of beak

For the remainder of the days, I'll post the development on that day's post.

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