It is officially 18 days from the first day I put my eggs in the incubator.
That means it's time for lock down.
Lock down happens 18 days after first day of incubation. On day 18 the incubator stays closed unconditionally for the next three days while the chicks hatch.
After fighting irregular temps and humidity in the Hovabator I am taking a risky and potentially dangerous course of action.. (cue movie trailer music and throaty guy voice over).."Lock down in a home made incubator".
So, okay, while obviously not the wisest course of action I was feeling entirely powerless with the fluctuating temps and humidity in the current incubator. I was also (probably irrationally) scared that there was no air flow in the incubator.
*warning: the following is going to make most of you seasoned fowl professionals cringe and or possibly induce eye rolling- please stop reading this woman's misguided actions now*
Faced with the idea that all my clutch (possibly five) that survived thus far are potentially a loss.. I made my own 'bator.
Ingredients for my idiocy.
1- 10 gallon fish tank (washed and dried)
1- Utensil tray (unused and waiting for a yard sale, to hold the eggs)
2- Kitchen sponges (brand new, to draw water up from the bottom of the fish tank)
2- Locker mates shelves (un-assembled and laid flat)
1- Toddler sock (soaked in water to aid in the humidity)
1- heat lamp 250 watt (make you crazy red bulb)
1- Fish tank air pump (gets sock wet with the bubbling action and also works as a fan.. sort of.)
1- Thermometer/Hygrometer (Timex: because if it fails me, it's going to take a licking)
1- Soft bath mat and or stroller snuggly (for insulation)
This is the result: (chicken experts after you've finished laughing at the above, please avert your eyes from the below)
The temps have been holding steady at 99-100 degrees and the humidity is steady at around 50%.
I've had my few schizophrenic moments of sitting next to the tank for what seems like hours, glaring red light burning my brain, staring at the eggs, swearing I just heard something or saw something move, I swear I heard something... I may have swatted at a few imaginary flies.
It was like living in the Kenny Roger's Roaster's Episode of Seinfeld.
My husbands laughter turned to a odd worried look when I told him I wanted to sleep in the mud room with the incubator, just in case I hear something again.
I'm waiting for that all glorious first pip.. that first sign of life.. and the relief and elation that I'm not a complete failure at hatching eggs.
Update in the morning-- I'm going to put another pot of coffee on.