How to Become Ms. or Mr. Mother Hen – Day 1 April 20, 2012
I love hatching chicks at home. I LOVE seeing their first blinky-eyed look at the world outside their little egg. I love that when they’ve first hatched, I can put my hand inside the brooder, and they all rush to snuggle beneath it like I’m their mother hen.
I love hatching beneath a real mother hen, too… but sometimes that’s just not possible, so you have to be the mother hen. Sometimes you just don’t have a broody, sometimes your broody isn’t broody when you need to hatch eggs, and sometimes you have a broody who abandons her eggs before she’s done.
If you you’re using an incubator rather than a hen, there are many to choose from. When I first started hatching at home, I started with a styrofoam incubator; it was fine, but work-intensive. It was a still air, so no fan. I monitored temperature because there was no automatic thermostat, and getting the temperature at the proper height—at the top of the egg— was harder than I thought it would be. Four times a day I faithfully turned the eggs by hand. They were marked in pencil with an X on one side so I could make sure they were all turned properly. I made sure to sanitize my hand before turning. I monitored humidity with an after-purchase hygrometer, and I filled the water reservoirs with clean distilled water when needed.
Then… I worried. A lot. I guess it’s just what you do when you hatch at home.
Doing it all manually like that takes a surprising amount of time and effort. Even so, somehow I ended up with a fairly good hatch, although a terrible male to female hatch ratio. I hatched a lot of eggs in that incubator over the years, and I ended up adding a fan, then a turner. That definitely cut down on the amount of work required! But eventually I was able to upgrade to a Brinsea Octagon 20 Advance.
Ahhh, Brinsea. I don’t like to love things, but I do love your thing, Brinsea.
Yes, I admit it. Even though I don’t like to get too stuck on things, I love my Brinsea incubator. Well… that, and my dishwasher. I love my dishwasher, too… how embarrassing. Ever since my mom made me stop creating soap-sud beards more than 30 years ago, I’ve hated doing the dishes. There’s just no fun in it, if all the bubbles have to stay in the sink, know what I mean? So I love my incubator and my dishwasher for the same reason: because they both make life easier for me, and sometimes I just need all the help I can get.
Having a good incubator—a really GOOD incubator—makes incubation a breeze. While no incubator can guarantee every egg will hatch, getting quality means that at least the 21 day journey is not quite so difficult.
That’s the reason we’d like to give one of our readers the opportunity to upgrade to a Brinsea incubator 21 days from now! Are you ready? I am. My eggs are in the incubator: 21 days to go!
ENTER TO WIN!
Brinsea wants to celebrate Mother’s Day with you by providing a Mini Advance Incubator for one lucky My Pet Chicken blog commenter located in the US! Plus, My Pet Chicken will be offering the winner six assorted fertile hatching eggs you can use to fill your fancy new incubator for the first time. That way you can become Ms. Mother Hen… or even Mr. Mother Hen, as the case may be!
To enter the contest, comment on this blog post below telling us why you’d like to either start with—or upgrade to—a Brinsea incubator. (Please note that complaints about particular incubator manufacturers, particular suppliers of hatching eggs, particular candlers, etc. will be disqualified as entries.) Contest ends May 13, 2012—Mother’s Day!
Keep watching our blog for updates on Lissa’s hatch in our “Ms. or Mr. Mother Hen” blog series to find additional opportunities to enter.