When my hens start to pick up their laying, I look forward to hatching season. This year I’ve stepped up the Copper Maran hatches and experimented with dry hatching. The reason I researched this method is because 1) I noticed that the Copper Maran dark shell was harder than other eggs. Even when I hardboiled these eggs, it was difficult to remove their thick shells, and 2) I lost too many chicks during hatching because they didn’t have time to break out of that hard shell before they ran out of air and/or strength. My hatching rates were pathetic.
So, for my last hatch, I did not add any water to the incubator until the beginning of week 3. It was a small hatch of 9 eggs and all had moving chicks inside (my last candle was on Day 14). On Day 14 I added water and did not open the incubator again until I removed the egg turner 3 days before hatch.
I’m pleased to report that I had a 100% hatch rate! I did have to assist the last 3 because I had opened the incubator too many times. Also, 2 of the chicks were a day younger than the rest and insisted on hatching early. This can happen sometimes when they hear the other chicks peeping. The younger chicks were much weaker and I had to keep them separated for a day until they gained strength, but now all strong and thriving.
I have 22 in the incubator right now and I used the dry hatch method. I’ll keep you posted on this hatch, expected on Valentine’s Day!