Sunday, March 1, 2015

Egg-citing Times on the Farm!

With all that has been going on over the last week, I'm happy to say that there have been some bright spots as well. And I'm so excited to share with you what is happening right now here! Are you ready?!?

Eggs!!! I received my eggs from Cluck N' Chatter Ranch! Wendy was so gracious and sent me not just one dozen, but TWO dozen silkie hatching eggs! :) I can't even begin to explain how happy I am! In that two dozen she included 3 silkie/easter egger cross eggs! 

Soooooooo eggcited!

Look how perfectly they were packed! And she sent along a little surprise!

I've never hatched shipped eggs before, and I know that viability of them goes down due to shipping. But I'm hoping that the fact that they only took a day and a half to get here that there wasn't too much jostling or damage done to them. I candled them the day I got them and some had saddle shaped air sacs...while a few were detached, which isn't a good thing. But I let them set for a little over 48 hours to help them settle a bit.

Hatching eggs in the past has been a wonderful experience, especially since I was using my Brinsea Mini Advance incubator. I honestly can't say enough good things about that incubator! Not only is it simple to use, but Brinsea as a company is wonderful! After my first hatch I noticed that there was a crack in the base, I contacted them via e-mail and got an immediate response from Rose, their office manager. No questions asked they shipped me out a brand new base, free of charge! Now THAT is customer service!

Since moving to the farm I've had dreams of more and more chickens. And in order to fulfill this dream I needed a bigger incubator. So at the beginning of this year I reached out to Brinsea to see if they'd be willing to offer me a discount on a bigger incubator so I could use it and share my experience with all of you! They graciously offered me a wonderful discount and I accepted and in a matter of days my incubator was at my door. I can't even begin to tell you how it's killed me to leave it in the box and not throw eggs into it immediately!

But the time finally came for me to bust open the box and set it up! And I can't even begin to tell you how easy Brinsea makes their products to use!

I could barely stand it! This box was SCREAMING for me to open it!

I took out all the contents:

- The Incubator Base
- The Incubator Lid
- Incubator Cord
- Egg Tray & Wire Dividers
- Turning Cradle End Pieces
- Turning Cradle Bars
- Instruction Manual

Attaching the bars to the two Turning Cradle ends was super simple!

After sliding the rod onto the peg, you use a phillips head screw driver to screw in the included screw. This screw goes into the peg and expands the peg, which holds the bar in place.

Once you do that on one side, repeat with the other side. And Voila!

Okay...I won't lie...I'm not a big reader of instructions...but I did have to look to see where you connect the power cord for the Incubator lid! It's under the cap that the screw is holding in place! Sneaky!!

Plug in the cord, place and screw on the cap and you are ready to go!

And that is it! How simple was that! Clearly I cleaned out the inside of the Incubator Base and Lid with a warm, damp cloth just to make sure there wasn't anything in there. But can't get any simpler than that!

After getting the incubator set up, Brinsea recommends (and I fully stand behind it) that you plug in the incubator and allow it to run for several hours at a minimum, longer if you can, to allow it to come up to temperature and you can make sure that it's working properly! Don't skip this step! It's truly important because you don't want to just plug it in, toss eggs in and lose the whole batch. So my incubator ran for a good 10 hours before I even thought about setting the eggs.

Once it was time to set the eggs I got everything ready. Now the Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance is such an amazing incubator, it's all digital and displays the temperature as well as the humidity. While my incubator was running for the 10 hours I did have a thermometer in there that tracked the temperature and humidity as well, just to double check everything was working as it should. And I'm happy to say that my Brinsea was spot on! :)

In the instruction manual that's included with your incubator, they give you a bunch of wonderful information. If you need to change any of the settings, it's all spelled out for you in black and white. This is useful if you are setting eggs other than chicken eggs. The temps may be different, so they allow you to change it with the click of a button. They've worked so hard at making this an almost fool proof operation!

One thing they suggest is that you track the weight of your eggs in order to make sure that they are losing the correct amount of moisture during incubation. This is important because you want to make sure that they aren't retaining too much moisture, or losing too much because this will affect your hatch rate. So the way I do this is each egg is numbered and I grab a notebook and write down all the numbers and then weigh each egg with my kitchen scale, but I do it in grams.

This gives you a good starting place. I also use this time to candle the eggs one last time before putting them into the incubator. I'm checking for cracks as well as making sure the air sacs look good. For my birthday last year, Michael bought me the Brinsea OvaView and OvaScope. He did this because he didn't like the one I made. LOL But hey...this works a heck of a lot better! So thanks to him candling has become a lot easier!

After candling them I placed them into the egg tray, using the wire dividers to hold them upright. This is such a great system because it makes it totally versatile! You can hatch eggs as large as goose eggs, or as small as quail. I've even seen some people use it to hatch parrots or finch eggs. But I won't get into that! ;-) After all the eggs were weighed, candled and securely placed in the egg tray, I weighed the entire tray. I did both for a few reasons. I know that not every single egg is going to hatch, nor will each egg that was sent be viable, that's just a part of this entire process. So by weighing each of these eggs individually, I will always be able to add them up to get my "initial weight" even if I have to remove eggs. This will help with tracking the weight loss of the eggs.

Each egg is numbered and their initial weight is recorded.

And with that...we are ready to roll! Well actually the dividers are in there so they don't roll around! I normally write their initial weights down on a piece of paper, but I will eventually enter them all into an excel spreadsheet so it's easier to track...yea I'm a nerd like that! 

After the incubator had run for 10 hours, and I checked it several times to make sure the temperature and humidity held was time to set the eggs in. 

Cover comes off, egg tray goes in, cover goes back on and we are IN BUSINESS! Now they recommend that you don't make any changes to the incubator for 24 hours to allow the eggs to come up to temperature. I'm also holding off on putting it on the cradle for a while too to allow the eggs to settle. 

I'm super excited about this hatch! I can't wait to see if I get some wonderful little silkie chicks!! And I'm thrilled to be using this wonderful incubator! I've created a page here on my blog that I will be posting daily updates and they will continue on into moving the chicks into the brooder! I so love sharing all this with you, and I hope you take the time to check out Brinsea's page!! And place an order! While their products are more expensive than the Styrofoam incubators...I'm a firm believer in, "You get what you pay for." 

Oh, now would be the time to tell you all that I even set up my Brinsea Mini Advance so I could hatch a few of my own eggs as well! Check out my Hatch A Long page to read more about the eggs I put into that one! 

To find the Hatch A Long Page here on my blog, I placed a link on the right side of the page. Just click on that, bookmark it in your browser and we are all set! 

Take the opportunity to check out Wendy's FaceBook Page "Cluck N' Chatter Ranch"! She has beautiful birds, and if you can get your hands on some of these it! Or I know she even sells some of her chicks, straight run, locally! Keep an eye out for that!

And don't forget to check out Brinsea's page! They have been so wonderful to me, and they truly are a company that appreciates your business and they want you to succeed in your hatching and raising of chickens! They are so wonderful in fact that they gave me a discount code to pass along to you all! How great is that!?! 

Well I'd better get a move on! I have so many things to do today, but I couldn't wait to share this with you all! 

Until next time...Keep Cluckin! ;-)


  1. Oh ! Now my little styrofome one just doens't feel good enough... I have always love the Brinsea ones... might just have to break down... sigh....

  2. Jennifer Haga JohnsonMarch 1, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    How EGGciting is this!!!!!!!!! So eggcited to follow this process with you! Thank you for letting us learn with you!

  3. Always an adventure watching your page I can't wait for our snow to be gone !!! We are redoing our coop this spring and I an very excited!!

  4. Aww thanks! :) And I would love a bit of snow! LOL Take away the mud! And how exciting about your coop!!!!

  5. So happy that I CAN share it with you all!!!

  6. Get one! Get one! Get one!! :)