First Hatch September 26th
Our first hatch for this season was poor. We set 46 eggs, Faverolles, Silver Laced Wyandottes, OEG crosses. About 30% of the eggs hatched, of these some died soon after hatching, a few were deformed and we culled some of these. We ended up with 11 chicks, a few Faverolles had splayed legs (which appears to be a common problem with this breed). Not a very good result.
We can put this down to two main factors :
* the thermometer was reading low, so incubator was too high by a couple of degrees fahrenheit.
* water channel ran out of water at some stage, we should have been topping this up more frequently. This is usually a contributing factor to splayed feet and failure of chicks to get out of the shells.
Hatching October 24th
This hatch was much better. We had about 55% of chicks hatch, which is at the low end of a normal hatch rate. We made sure the water channel was always full, and maintained the temperature at 103F using a new Fowlers thermometer.
New chicks recently hatched still in the incubator.
Healthy day old chicks
Four of the Faverolles died soon after hatching, they seemed to have trouble breathing and would lie down gasping and die. We will need to research this problem more. Kirsty suggested we try hatching a batch of Favs naturally and see if the same thing happens which would suggest that it might be a genetic problem.
Of the seven Faverolles, two had a mild case of splayed legs. Kirsty has reasonable success taping up legs to help straighten them out.
Faverolle With Splayed Feet
This hatch was early by 2 days. The incubator states that the temperature should be set to 103F. After reading up a bit, this might be too high for a still air incubator.
For this type of incubator the temperature at the stop of the eggs should be 101.5F to 102F. And it is better to be a little bit cooler than too hot.
I will make sure the temperature is lower for the next batch. Hopefully we will get a better hatch rate. 60%+ would be good.
We will be spending 9 days at the farm next week, so will be able to collect the fertile eggs every day. We should have clean eggs no old than 9 days to set early November.