The Incubation Challenge
NOTE: Most of my research and what I learned to complete the following challenge came from the Learning Center Tab on this very website. I am telling you this, so I do not have to keep saying it over and over in the following story.
I joined the Incubatorwarehouse.com team in January 2018 as an intern. I grew up on a small farm but had never incubated any eggs before. My family had always bought baby chicks from the local feed store when we needed to replenish the flock. When I began my internship, it came with a challenge entitled: The Incubation Challenge.
- We could choose any tabletop incubator we carried or had available (lots of other brands and samples they have acquired and tested over the years were on a shelf in the office.)
- We had our choice of eggs to incubate
- We could not get any help from other employees. All our information and education had to be acquired the old-fashioned way, by using the internet and anything else we could get our hands on.
- Customer service would have been my source for incubation advice.
After a lot of research across many websites, I found the information in the Learning Center on this website to be the best source for my education. I found it to be clearer and more concise with the information I needed to know to have a chance at a successful incubation experience.
The Incubator: I chose the IncuView for the clear top so I could see everything happening inside the incubator.
The Eggs: I chose to incubate chicken eggs as they are a good choice for beginner incubators and easily obtained. I chose two breeds of chickens (White Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds) known for their egg laying quantities to fill the incubator. (I figured when I had to return to school at the end of my internship, I could more easily find the birds a good home with someone who wanted egg laying machines)
With my choices made I then got the incubator and set it up. The website suggested letting the unit run for a day or two before putting the eggs inside to ensure the unit and conditions are met before putting yourself on a time clock by having the eggs waiting to begin incubation. It took me a day or so to find the correct amount of water channels to use for my environment as it is very dry here in Idaho. I also ended up wrapping a towel around my incubator because the office got quite cold at night and I wanted to help insulate the incubator a bit more to protect those outer eggs along the inside wall from being a bit cooler. Once the incubator was ready and the inside climate was where I wanted (and needed) it to be I went to get my eggs. I had chosen to use a local hatchery to acquire freshly laid eggs as they had the highest probability of all the eggs hatching. I let the eggs sit at the office overnight to settle after a car ride and to adjust to the office temperature as the eggs were quite cold from the hatchery.
The following morning the eggs went into the incubator and the process was underway. Now chicken eggs typically take 21 days to fully incubate. Around day 10 I candled the eggs with the IncuBright egg Candler and the rubber grommet on the end makes it SUPER easy to see inside the eggs because it funnels the light into the egg. After removing 2 eggs that showed no signs of developing (probably not fertilized) I had 25 eggs left and those were the eggs I would be judged on for the challenge. Somewhere around 13-15 days in to my incubation while sweeping the office at the end of the day I accidently unplugged my incubator from the outlet under my desk. The eggs went without an operating unit in a minimally heated office all night. I discovered this the next morning when I arrived for work. I plugged the unit back in and reset the thermostat settings. I was afraid I had just ruined my challenge, but there was little I could do now. All I could do was push forward and see what happened.
Day 20 the eggs began to “peep” or the birds started to crack their shells and stick their little beaks out of the holes they had made getting their first breath of air. Over the next couple of days all but one of my eggs would hatch. The last one almost made it but failed to fully escape his egg shell. After the challenge was concluded Patrick then taught me some interesting tricks of the trade that might have helped that last baby chick. (See what I was saying earlier about being a Pro?)
CONCLUSION: Of the 27 eggs I originally started with, and after removing 2 after candling to check for development. I had 25 eggs and of which 24 hatched. Even after accidently unplugging the unit sweeping one night, I still had a great hatch rate. The IncuView earned its reputation and showed me why many people like to use it. Simple yet very effective at its duty. I highly recommend it and have used it once or twice more since becoming a full-time employee this year. I also recommend if you have any questions to seek help through the Learning Center as I did. It is packed with information and common questions for you. If that isn’t enough then contact our customer service and talk with them directly. You don’t have the restrictions I had so you can ask them anything you need to. They are happy to help and knows their stuff about incubation.