All I asked "Santa" for last Christmas was for an incubator so we can start raising our own chickens. For the last 6 years, we've tried to let our hens go broody and raise their own chicks, but our success rate is exactly ZERO! I am participating (read: co-organizing) our local Farmers Market and decided to sell chicks, along with my soaps, strawberries, plant starts, and anything else under the sun I can think of selling.
I began gathering eggs at the beginning of March and ended up with 20 eggs to put in the 'bator. For the first week, I forgot to check the moisture level (I now have a humidity sensor on its way) and lost hope of actually hatching any chicks.
I took them out of the automatic turner at day 18 to let them settle and get in position to pip (or begin to break through the shell). I increased the water level.
On the evening of day 20, our first two eggs pipped at around 11pm, and one had completely hatched around 3am (by the way, if you want a good night's sleep, DO NOT put the incubator in your bedroom...even if it's the only place that is 'safe' for them!!) The second hatched around 7am, but honestly, I was so exhausted I didn't keep track, all I know is that the sun was up!
Eggs that did not hatch, time to clean the incubator for the next batch.
They are all mixed with our Rhode Island Red Rooster and the hens were Americauna, Rhode Island Reds, Delawares, and Buff Orpingtons.