My summer hatch of 2013 was a dismal failure, hatch-wise…I set about 75 eggs, and only had 8 to actually hatch! The babies died along the way to lockdown, and some died those last few days as well. I expected a certain number of losses since some of the eggs were from young pullets, “first-timers”, but there were also a good number of eggs from my tried-and-true performers. I made sure to supplement the parents’ diet well before collecting eggs, with extra protein, wheat germ, kelp, vitamins and minerals. I was very diligent with monitoring the humidity during incubation, something I have a hard time doing on a regular basis… I had eggs from my Cream project, barred, blues, chocolates, even a couple from my Mauve project. The only possible explanation I can come up with is the incubator, my beloved Genesis 1588 …Humidity and temperature was not an issue (I checked temps and humidity every day), so what could cause such a horrible hatch rate?!? Perusing the internet and it’s amazing groups and forums, I found that some people had declining hatch rates with styrofoam incubators after a few hatches, despite thorough cleanings between hatches. Aha, could that be my problem??? My incubator has seen many hatches…could my losses be due to a bacteria living in the styrofoam, even though I clean it with vinegar and peroxide, and lately, oxine? I’ve decided to chuck the current 1588 and buy a new one for my Fall hatching…it has served me well in the past, but I think it’s time for a new one! Has anyone else had a problem like this?
That’s the “agony” part of this post…the “ecstasy” is that my 8 chicks are happy and healthy in their new brooder (thanks to Erik!), and they really seem to be liking the EcoGlow 20! They do seem calmer and happier without having a red light on them 24/7, and one unexpected benefit is that none of these chicks had any pasty-butt! My chicks usually had it the first week or so, and then it would disappear. Nothing I tried ever seemed to make a difference…it was not life-threatening, just annoying to constantly be washing those little fuzzy butts! Once again, the forums and groups mentioned several people who said pasty butt might be caused by temperature fluctuations, or even too high a temperature in the brooder. Whatever… I’m happy to report that I’m very satisfied with my new heater, and apparently, so are my latest Seramas! It is always a joy to sit and watch them…it is similar to human babies in the fact that they grow so fast! And, we all know the upside to that – more hatching!