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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:20 am 
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Clever Cockerel
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I'm interested in knowing if everyone incubates only during certain months of the year.

I see a few people saying they're packing away their machines because it's too hot now - is it just a matter of being difficult to keep the temperature stable, or is there an issue for new chicks during the hotter months too? Does the same go for the colder months?

When do you decide it's time to pack it all away or pull it all out again?

Does it make a difference whether you intend to raise them yourself in a brooder, or sell them as quickly as possible?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:39 am 
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These days we are incubating from late Winter through to late Spring/early Summer depending on how things go.

The reality is that you can hatch all year round with a good incubator in a climate where the temperature doesn't get too high. Incubators can raise the temperature but most can't lower it. If the outside temperature goes over incubating temperature you can have problems unless you can keep your incubator in a cooler room. In a house environment where you can keep the temp down, you can incubate all year.

Most exhibitors would choose not to breed in certain times of the year though because the climate during the rearing period matters a lot for growing out an optimum bird. Hot weather can affect appetite (birds eat less), it can affect their growth rate etc. Here in a humid environment we don't want hundreds of young chicks during the summer storm season because we know we'll have to deal with coccidiosis at a higher level and other diseases go through more easily. We want established youngsters and lower numbers by the time the weather is really hot and really wet.

Everyone's going to have a different opinion on this because they breed for different reasons and in different climates.

In the old days folk wisdom was that you should aim to get your pullets laying before Easter and then they would lay through Winter. There's a grain of truth in that. If you are producing layers you might time your hatches differently than if you are breeding exhibition birds. In the old days people who were hatching layers didn't want to be feeding unproductive birds through the Winter for months waitiing for them to come into lay. These days commercial producers control the environment eg. day length/light and those issues are less important.

There's always people hatching and selling chicks and there's always people who will buy them. Then they will come on here and ask us why their 20 week old pullets aren't laying in the middle of Winter. :laughing

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:45 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Most of my hatching is done from April to November which is what I call my "season" and that is to fit in with the show seasons so that I have birds at the appropriate age for shows so thats when the incubators are as full as I have eggs.... if a hen goes broody outside of my season I let her hatch out a few, get a few early chicks and do the odd experimental cross ( colours not breeds).Personally I try not to hatch dec /jan mostly because of how I house my mums and bubs and it gets too hot so is a lot of effort to keep them cool ,
cheers pam

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:53 am 
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Wise Wyandotte
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When I was breeding my Wyandottes I'd hatch up to Christmas and then stop.

A few reasons, I find
the heat effects fertility of the rooster,
heat makes raising chicks in a brooder more fiddly,
incubators can warm up but not cool down below the outside temperature (My incubator lives in the garage, it used to be on the breakfast bar inside but I got told to move it or else :-( )

And a pullet hatched before Christmas, generally, won't lay until the following Spring about August/September so she has a good 8-10 months of growing before the rigours of egg laying kick in, so they are a much bigger filled out and advanced bird.



Ron

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:24 pm 
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I hatch in spring to early summer when the hens are laying best. Around now mine pretty much all go broody and egg production slows dramatically and stops. Even if I de-brood them they still won't lay for a while anyway so I let them be. Mostly over summer I don't get many eggs. I might do a few more when they start again in autumn.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:02 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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rotten_66 wrote:
My incubator lives in the garage, it used to be on the breakfast bar inside but I got told to move it or else :-(


:rofl: I had mine on my breakfast bar when I hatched a couple of chickens! ... I still don't know whether or not my mother in law was happy about preparing her sandwich next to an incubator of chirping chickens! :hmmm:

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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I WAS thinking of putting mine on the breakfast bar, but hubby does the cooking in our house, and he'd probably tell me to move it too. But it'd take him a while to pluck up the courage to say so :rofl:

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Flock Master
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hmmm...doesn't anyone else incubate in their bedroom?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Clever Cockerel
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No room in there! My two candidate spots are my son's classroom (he homeschools, but is on holidays now) or a small room beside the toilet. So far, the toilet is winning based on variation in temperature during the day.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Used to, but it got too noisy, so they went to the office, now the incubator is too big, so it lives in the garage.

We were planning to stop by now, but have had a slow laying period and have only achieved about half of what we wanted, the weather is getting too hot to run the incubator successfully, so we won't go for much longer.
We will probably have a few more runs once summer has finished, so we have at least 12 week olds by winter.

We haven't noticed late hatches being affected by the heat, as far as growth rates go, thats not to say it isn't right though, just we haven't seen it.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:56 pm 
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Golden Robin
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i am stopping because i am going travelling BUT that being said, when the temps reach a certain stage of constant high 30s low 40s even the good old rcom 50 experiences trouble regulating the temperature.

mind you, ihave 3 broodies at te moment, and they are determined to hatch, and i have NO objections to that.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:09 am 
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Clever Cockerel
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Yes, I have one with chicks, 3 sitting on eggs, and another who's just gone broody. I watched when one of my silkies went back to her nest a few days ago - she was in there for AGES, just standing over her eggs - would not settle down on them. It was a really hot day, and I wondered if she thought it was just too hot to sit on them, and was standing to allow what little breeze there might be to pass over them.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:34 pm 
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I've only just started and become quite addicted, but I think this batch will be my last hatch... I have chickens die on the 23r and ducks early Jan and then that should do me for a little while.

My incubator is in the loungeroom, infront of the wood fire heater (not turned on obviously), but my other half has just informed me he will be setting a spot up for me in the shed :dontknow don't know why he thinks it's an inconvenience in the lounge roo though... Possibly as when they are pipping I spend more time looking through the clear lid than sitting on the couch with him :hmmm: hahaha.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:48 pm 
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When dont I incubate -when I find the off button.........wont happen just yet set 80 eggs the other day.If the temperature gets too high I just turn off the incubators for a few hours :-)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:31 am 
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I find in hot weather, the bator stays off and I have a hard time trying to regulate humidity.
Chicks seem to thrive in hot weather, better than the parents, but the cocci is really the biggest threat.
I make sure now that the ground stays as dry as I can keep it, means washing out water dishes outside the pen, but it seems to work.
But I hate incubating, and have broodys now to do all the hard work.

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