There is only one more week (!) until my Basque Hens begin to hatch next Thursday evening! They will be joined by a few mutts from my own flock, the offspring of Henny the Speckled Sussex, one of the Silver Ameraucana girls, and an Easter Egger hen. Of the 15 Basque Hen eggs, 12 are still developing. I removed two clears and one blood ring after candling on Day 7. They did very well in shipping despite being delayed by several days. I will candle these again tonight, Day 14, to remove any later quitters. Any egg that dies after tonight will be difficult to identify because the eggs are mostly dark at this point. Therefore, I will leave all eggs remaining after tonight in for lockdown knowing that some may not hatch.
My Dutch Bantam eggs have not done nearly so well. Today is Day 12 for them, and there is only 1 of the original 7 still developing. Shipping was much rougher on these eggs. There are also only 2 of 6 Brown Leghorns remaining and 5 of 6 Blue Birchen Marans. I had set 7 of my own eggs of which 6 are still developing. All together, I set 47 eggs and have 32 remaining.
My incubator has been holding very steady at 99.4 degrees and about 38-42% humidity. I have a great HovaBator Genesis 1588 which I have been incubating in since last year. GQF came out with a new Genesis that has a digital thermometer and hygrometer. It is much easier to adjust the temperature in the new Genesis; the old model has a complicated system of switches to flip – navigable, but challenging. I bought the new model because I have a staggered hatch this year – two groups hatching at different times. I will lockdown in my old Genesis and move the still-incubating second batch to the new Genesis. From then on, I will use the old Genesis as a “hatcher.” This should extend the life of the new Genesis by containing all of the mess of hatch in one incubator leaving the other unexposed.
Lockdown for the Basques will be on Monday, April 2nd. Lockdown and hatch dates can be determined using a hatch calendar like the one below. You can also check out my Guide to Incubation which is a free PDF download in which I cover all of the basics as well as details such as where to obtain hatching eggs, how to run a test incubation, troubleshooting hatch problems, and how to clean your incubator!