How much will a power outage
affect your incubator? Is it worth keeping the eggs going after
the juice comes back on, or should you pull the plug and start over?
We had a two to three
hour loss of power during the second week our incubator was running,
and we did see a slightly lower hatch rate, but not enough that I feel
we should have just started over. During our first hatch of the
season (same incubator, same parents), we had 90% viable eggs, 95%
hatch rate of those viable eggs, and a 94% survival rate to four
weeks. In contrast, the set of eggs that lived through the outage
had 95% viability, 80% hatch rate, and 94% survival
(to one week). (See my 99 cent ebook, Permaculture
Chicken: Incubation Handbook for more information on
calculating these rates and improving your hatch.)
How long eggs can
survive in the incubator without power depends on a variety of
factors. Length of time the power is out is an obvious one, and
so is air temperature in the room --- shorter outages and warmer rooms
cause less of an impact. If you're around during the outage (we
weren't), you can close all the vents, add a hot water bottle if you
have one, and wrap the incubator up in a blanket to conserve heat,
which will mitigate the outage to some extent.
Another factor to
consider is age of the eggs. The further along your chicks are in
their development, the less likely they will be negatively affected by
a power outage. As embryos develop, they begin to produce a bit
of heat by themselves, which warms the inside of the incubator slightly.
Have you left the
incubator running after a power outage? I'd be curious to hear
how long your power was out and
what percent of the eggs survived to hatch.
Our chicken waterer got the surviving chicks off
to a healthy start with clean water.
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