I was so proud of my homemade incubator. I built it over the course of 2 weeks and saved a bundle over the cost of buying a comparably-sized incubator. Unfortunately, what my DIY incubator did not come with was an operators manual. If it had maybe I would have figured out the humidity was too low for hatching.
The top rack of 53 eggs were due to hatch yesterday. Only one chick made it out alive. Two others started to pip out, but later died. We tried to add a few wet towels in a last-ditch effort to raise the humidity, but it was too late.
Only 23 of the 53 eggs were fertilized, so there is definitely work to be done on the breeding end of things.
Maybe things will turn around next week. The second rack of eggs is due to hatch on Sunday, and they only had 9 of the 52 that were unfertilized. Wet towels ought to keep them in sauna-like levels of humidity for their last few days.
We also started saving eggs again, so we can put more of them in next week. I’m also told that my insurance plan is paying dividends. Last year I bought a few silkies as an incubator backup, and this week they’re acting like they want to be mommas. Mechanical incubators, even homemade ones, can’t top a broody hen for hatching eggs.