Thursday 21 February 2013

More Fench Chicks (Part 1)

Eggs are kept at room temperature for 24 hrs before setting

 I have just finished putting the first batch of 2013 eggs into the incubator. Its a tricky business simulating a mother hen but this machine has automatic turning and temperature control; the eggs are turned every 45 mins and the temperature is kept at a steady 37.5C.

The angle of the trays changes through 90 degrees every 45mins

Good humidity control is just as important as temperature and turning. In the broad rounded end of the egg there is an air sac and during incubation this expands to provide an air supply for the embryo in the hours before it chips its way out of the shell. Ideally the egg has to lose 13% of its weight over the first 18 days of incubation. Moisture passes out through the shell pores and is replaced with air. The eggs are weighed regularly to check; if weight loss is too low humidity is reduced and vice versa.

 In order to monitor weight loss I plot the ideal on a graph (red line) then at seven days and 14 days I weigh the eggs again. The 42 eggs set averaged 65g today and by day 18 they should weigh 56.7g.

Next Thursday (day 7) I will candle the eggs to see how many contain developing embryos and they will be weighed then. Hatching should happen after 21 days on the 14th March.

If 90% of the eggs are fertile and 90% of those hatch I should get 34 chicks from the 42 eggs set. Watch this space.......

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