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Messages - Michael Robinson

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Housing, Health & Hatching / Re: Breeding pens
« on: July 02, 2018, 08:47:38 PM »
  Cardboard vision blockers are often used at the shows when cocks or cockerels need isolation to prevent fighting through the wire coops.  This works in cages also!  I've seen clear plastic sheets tried, but it doesn't work very well.

Thanks Paul! A piece of cardboard or maybe some luan plywood that can easily be hung and moved on the front of the lower cages would be a good solution if needed when a rooster is in.

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Housing, Health & Hatching / Breeding pens
« on: June 29, 2018, 10:40:34 AM »
I’m getting ready to start on an open floor space 32’ x 32’lean-to with one end open to the outside. This will probably be a work in progress over the next year or so.

I’ll use minimal dividing walls, so that it can be refitted to whatever my needs are at the time - breeding pens, grow out, etc.

I’ve noticed some of you have pens that are basically 3 - 2’ x 3’ double stacked cages. I like the idea of using these for better quality breeding stock.

As someone that’s relatively new to chickens, if I place these cage type pens in a single pen with a 3’ - 4’ walkway between them, will I have issues with roosters seeing each other across the aisle, or issues with placing other breeds in the center aisle to breed (for example Easter eggers) to utilize space.

My understanding is that you need a divider 3’ - 4’ high between pens that the roosters can’t see through , so that the roosters don’t try to fight through the wire or fencing.

Just looking for some feedback from some of you with more experience. Thanks!

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Housing, Health & Hatching / Re: Worst hatch rate yet
« on: May 14, 2018, 11:53:00 AM »
It’s life. Beyond putting a cheap outdoor thermometer/hygrometer in the first hatch or two, I haven’t really worried much about humidity. I’ld have to almost write a book to describe my incubator in detail to get quality help and advice.

Normally I have done what many call a dry hatch just using ambient room humidity for 18 days and adding water to raise the humidity at lockdown.

I’ve pretty well decided that I’m going to have to get a reasonable quality remote hygrometer before next season to work all the kinks out.
 
To raise the humidity I have two large double cake pans sitting underneath my eggs, yet on top of my heat source. The pans can have water added without opening up the incubator. I have a couple of sponges in each pan to help the water evaporate some. Next step would be to add aquarium air stones to the pans and a small aquarium air pump outside of the incubator.

Biggest issue is needing to be able to monitor humidity. In the past, I haven’t had problems, so why fix something that’s not broken - except now it’s broken.

For temperature, I use an amazon digital thermostat that can be set to a tenth of a degree. I set it by making a few egg size water balloons and then checking them with an older human mercury thermometer. For safety I have an additional digital thermometer. Even though neither is accurate, I write the temp readings for both down when I get the water balloons at 99.5. The thermostat has held true even from year to year.

The incubator is well insulated and has a heat sink, so that if the door is opened to candle, the temperature will bounce back up pretty quick, or if the power goes out the eggs would be alright for a while. I have a generator if needed.

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Housing, Health & Hatching / Worst hatch rate yet
« on: May 13, 2018, 09:21:06 AM »
I had my DIY incubator loaded with the most eggs that I’ve put in during the last two years. Haven’t taken the eggs out yet, but it looks like a 10-20% hatch rate.

The incubator is located in a finished basement that in the past hasn’t been heated or any AC. Well, we put AC in there a month or so ago because my daughter and family are living down there. I just didn’t think about it making a difference, but I guess that I should have! I guess I’ll chalk it up as newbie learning curve.

I have the vent in the room turned off, but the door gets left open so much that the humidity is going to equal out.

I guess once I pull the eggs and chicks out, I’ll leave the incubator on and see if I can troubleshoot it.  Never had to worry about monitoring humidity, but I guess the equation has changed on me.

Any advice from the more experienced here that have their incubator in conditioned space?

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