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! 😀