Eggs and Chicks

Posted on: March 23rd, 2013 by
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Mods to the 'bator

Mods to the ‘bator

I finally modified my incubator and set my new eggs. I removed the old wooden lid and replaced it with plexiglass. I haven’t put the hinges on yet, the plexiglass is just sitting on top of the incubator. It’s actually rather convenient that way. I can just slide the plastic back as far as I need to without having to lift the whole lid off. It conserves the heat much better.

The new knob.  Sure, it looks like a stick...but it's so much more! Ok, it's just a stick.

The new knob. Sure, it looks like a stick…but it’s so much more! Ok, it’s just a stick.

I also added an extension to the thermostat control knob. To adjust the temperature I used to have to open the lid, detach the thermostat from it’s plastic housing and dodge hot light bulbs simply to nudge the temperature up or down a little. All the heat would escape and I would have to wait quite a while for the temperature to get steady again to know weather I needed to adjust the temperature further, and repeat the process again. I had originally planned on having this knob extension the first go-round, but super glue does a poor job of attaching plastic to wood, and the knob would not stay in place. This time, I took no prisoners, and went straight for the plumbers putty and epoxied that sucker into place. Works great! Now I can make those micro adjustments from the outside!

With the adjustments I made, the incubator has been holding a steady temperature much better than it did before. I still need to put legs on it so that I can put them in saucers of boric acid so the ants can’t get in during the hatch.
Ants weren’t a huge issue last time, but they were annoying.

I’ve also got the eggs laying on their sides for this hatch.

At it again!

At it again!

Last time, the eggs had been so shaken up from shipping that the air cells were badly shaped and had to be incubated in an upright position. This time the damage wasn’t so great, and I can put them in a much more natural position. The chicks will hatch faster and have an easier time getting out. I have a feeling I’d have three more live chicks from the first hatch if I’d been able to lay the eggs on their sides.

The chicks are doing well. They’ve taken to the fermented feed very well. They hoover that stuff down as soon as I put it in the brooder! I’ve had to start limiting their intake and feeding twice a day instead of free feeding all day! They gorge themselves on the fermented feed!

Do they like it? I'm going to have to say yes.

Do they like it? I’m going to have to say yes.

They did start flipping their water dish today. I had to change watering strategies. They now have a nipple waterer instead of a dish. I was worried they might not figure out how to work it, but I shouldn’t have worried. They like to peck at EVERYTHING, and they learned how to work the nipple very quickly.
I had a difficult time finding the right fitting here in town. I could buy what I wanted online for fairly cheap, but only by the dozen. I didn’t need 12 poultry waterers, so I had to search. I lucked out too. All of the nipples I found online (oh dear, that could be taken the wrong way) were plastic. In town I found solid brass ones! They’ll last much longer and be far more durable than plastic.
What I acutally bought was not a ‘poultry’ waterer, but a rabbit waterer. When I went to the feed store(s) looking for a poultry nipple waterer I got a lot of strange stares. The people at the chain store just kind of shrugged their shoulders, but the local folks listened to what I wanted and figured that a rabbit nipple waterer would work well. It’s twice as expensive as the plastic ones, but like I said, it’ll last forever!
I screwed that sucker into a soda bottle cap, siliconed it into place, screwed the cap onto a small bottle, poked a hole in the bottom (don’t forget that part, these things don’t work without an air hole), and voila, instant drip-free, can’t-flip-it-over-and-get-the-cardboard-wet-and-peck-your-way-to-freedom poultry waterer. (Yes, as a matter of fact I do speak from experience!)

The first chick approaches.  "What is this shiney thing?" it muses.  Peck Peck! OH! It's WATER!

The first chick approaches. “What is this shiney thing?” it muses. Peck Peck! OH! It’s WATER!

More of them wander over to see what the big deal is.

More of them wander over to see what the big deal is.

One at a time!!

One at a time!!

Maybe I shouldn't have worried they wouldn't figure it out and should have worried they'd trample each other in excitement over the new toy

Maybe I shouldn’t have worried they wouldn’t figure it out and should have worried they’d trample each other in excitement over the new toy

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