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Counting Chickens BEFORE they hatch: Place your bets!

 
Craig Dobbelyu
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I thought it would be fun to play a little game. I have 52 eggs which I've just begun to incubate and would like to see who has the best guess as to how many will hatch. Just for fun. Post a guess.

Here's the data:

There are 52 eggs in total that were collected over the course of a week.
The rooster is a one year old Easter Egger.
Hens are 1 black austraulorp, 5 RIR, 1 barred rock and some easter eggers that lay pink eggs. Didn't really want pure EE but it's tough to tell a pink EE egg from a light RIR egg.
They are in a Hovabator (genesis model), being hand turned 3 times a day.
Temp is a very consistent 99.7F
Humidity is constant 55%
They were stored at a temp of about 55F before incubation and tilted 3 times daily.
They went into the incubator on Sunday April 7.
Expecting to hatch on April 28th

Need any more info to assist your guess? Ask away

IMG_2750.JPG
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Doodles: livin it up!
 
Rick Roman
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Hi, Great idea! I gonna say 38. He just looks super fertile! Good Luck!
 
Judith Browning
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fun! I'll say 42. nice rooster.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Rick Roman wrote:Hi, Great idea! I gonna say 38. He just looks super fertile! Good Luck!


Yeah as often as he breeds each hen, they'd better be fertilized. There are 17 hens and they all have little bare spots on their backs. He's a "busy" rooster. Protective, good natured BUT HE'S SO VOCAL! Never SHUTS UP! Aside from that, a great bird.
 
John Polk
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I'm going with 75% = 39 chicks.

Egyptian brooders (men, not machines) used to have large adobe 'caves' they brooded in. The temps & humidity was constantly controlled. They often lived within their 'brooders' so that they could monitor the situation 24/7.

If a farmer brought them 4 eggs, they would give him 3 chicks in exchange. Their only profit came from their ability to get that 4th egg to hatch. With a 75% success rate, they could only break even.

Can your Hovator beat what they were doing 100-200 years ago?

Good luck.
 
Renate Howard
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I'll guess 48! We're having good success without as much care as you're giving your eggs so yours should do even better!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Update: The average temp for the past 4 days inside the incubator has been 99.6F The humidity fluctuates between 50% and 56%, generally staying around 54%. I'm still turning them 3 time/day.

I also wanted to take a second to mention this as well: All of the eggs are numbered. From 1-52. They were numbered in the order that they were collected. I'm interested to know how much the pre-incubation storage affects the hatch rate. I'm expecting more of the early numbered ones to be duds. We'll see, I guess.

Keep the guesses coming.
Maybe I'll have to come up with a PRIZE for the best guess.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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SECOND BETS!

Guess which one will hatch first.

There are 52 eggs, collected over 7 days. (approx 6-8 eggs/day). Each one has a number on it. 1 is the oldest. 52 is the youngest.

WHICH OF THE 52 EGGS WILL HATCH FIRST?

For the purpose of clarity let's have "HATCH" mean: The first chick to break completely free of it's shell.

I'll do my best to photograph or video this but... ya know... I could be sleeping when it goes down.


 
Rick Roman
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Lucky # 7
 
Judith Browning
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Rick, you are quick! I will say number 11...although seven seems more likely.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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For those who wanna get a good look at the eggs, here's a photo. You can make out some of the numbers if that matters to any one.
Dec_Apr 2113 222.JPG
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Pick an egg! Any egg! Step right up!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Just finished candling all the eggs. ALL but one are alive and kicking! The one clear one went into the compost and the other 51 are carrying on. By the by... Number 22 was the dud.
 
Ben Plummer
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I'll go with 41 to hatch total and 33 to be first.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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As of 10:53 pm EST there are two chicks with their beaks poking out of the eggshells. The Race is on! By morning we'll have a winner for "first to hatch".

 
Craig Dobbelyu
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AND THE WINNER IS #52. The ones that pipped last night are still working at it. There are about 25 that are now pipped. It's getting noisy in there.

#52 did all the work in just under an hour. It pipped and hatched with vigor and is now resting and talking to his/her siblings while drying off. Offering encouragement... I hope.

More updates to come as the day goes on.


 
Rick Roman
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Congratulations! Please keep posting results. Thanks.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Five more to go!

Sadly, one chick died while trying to free itself over night. It unzipped about half way and then... Looks like it just didn't have the strength to finish the job. When I opened it up there was still a sizable sack of yolk still outside the chick's body.

So if my accounting is correct we have 44 live chicks, 5 still in the shell (one pipped), 1 DOA and 2 that were never fertile.

I'm giving the remaining eggs a day or so to sort themselves out.



AND... the chicks I ordered online arrived in the mail this morning! I tried to time it so I could combine the chicks into one flock. My timing was off by one day I guess. Not bad.

There are about 100 chicks in my bathtub right now!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Waiting on the last three (#10, #33 and #39) to do "something". All those that were pipped, have hatched. Could it be that the last three are duds too? Perhaps just fashionably late? We'll see.

So far they all seem to be getting along just fine. The ones we hatched here are a little more sluggish than the ones we bought from the hatchery but I suspect that's just because they just hatched and are probably pretty tired still.


While all this is going on in my laundry room, I've been planting trees and shrubs (about 70) in my newly swaled food forest area. It's been a crazy 72 hours of planting, mulching, chicks and chaos. Last night I slept 3 hours, so my wife took the day off so I could continue to work outside. Anyway... Gotta go build a grape arbor.



 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Final Total is 45 live chicks out of 52 eggs.

After candling again last night, the three remaining eggs showed little hope. One had a blood ring and the other two seemed to have just stopped developing at some point in the last week.

If my math is correct then that makes a hatch percentage of 86.5%. Not bad for my first effort.

The only hiccup I had was on "Hatch Night". The humidity got so high from all the wet chicks that the thermostat on the incubator went a little wonky. The digital display was reading 110.8F while my analog back-up thermometer was reading 95F. I think the humidity shorted out the digital thermostat for a bit. I barely opened one side of the incubator to vent off the humid air and within 20 minutes the thermostat seemed to get back in line with reality. From then on it was smooth sailing, but of course I didn't sleep because I was worried and a bit excited too.

Now I've got 98 chickens in my bath tub, peeping away. They all look good and fluffy and happy. Now I have to finish building their outdoor coop. It's too nice to stay inside. Plus it smells a little fowl in here. LOL


 
Craig Dobbelyu
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We're just a little past the one month old mark now and here's the skinny.

All of the chicks looked great after the first day except two. One was tiny and NEVER fluffed out. Despite this, it lives on and seems to be doing well. It's currently it being called the runt, but seems to be catching up to the others.
The second one had some kind of issue with goopey eyes and general lack of vigor. I think it was from irritation. The cheek tufts on the Easter Eggers come close to the eyes sometimes and this chick had really large cheek tufts which were matted to it's eyeballs. I cleared it eyes, fed and watered it (it wasn't getting to the water station on its own) and separated it from the others so it could get a break. I also wanted to prevent it from spreading to others in the event it was a bacterial infection. A few hours later it was feet up and stiff. I suspect that if I had noticed it sooner maybe it would have lived but...

From that point on things went well.
I had one other loss due to crushing. When they were being moved from the indoor brooder to the outdoor hoop coop quite a few of them tweaked out and piled in the corner. By the time I got them all moved, one was dead in the corner. It only took a few minutes but there's no real way I could have done it better with what I was working with. I'll have to make a more accessible brooder next year.

On a happy note: It's really interesing to see how the genetics plays out in the offspring. There's lot's of variance in colors and markings. Some are really nice looking while others are complete wrecks. Anyway.
That's it so far.
 
Jessica Gorton
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That's a lot of chickens! Congrats!
 
John Polk
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By the time I got them all moved, one was dead in the corner.


That is the prime reason many people use round pens.
No corners to run into.

 
Craig Dobbelyu
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John Polk wrote:
By the time I got them all moved, one was dead in the corner.


That is the prime reason many people use round pens.
No corners to run into.



That had never crossed my mind. Thanks for the tip. Fortunately next year this will all be going on in an out building of some sort. The ground was still frozen in the area I wanted to build so it became another "delayed until further notice" projects.

 
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