Locked down the incubator this morning! That means "no touchie until hatchie!" I'm not sure where the term "lockdown" came from ... sounds like it was coined by someone who watches too much television. But the word does convey the principle ... leave the eggs alone!
Generally, you should lock down your incubator three days before hatch. Some say five. Usually, I keep turning the eggs until day 18 but stop turning them at that point. Before lockdown, ensure that you have adequately prepared the incubator for your new arrivals! If you have an automatic egg turner, take that out. Place some material over the grate or mesh so that the chicks will have safe footing once they hatch. I use cheap, breathable shelf liner material. Next, and most importantly, ensure that you will have 65% to 70% humidity at hatch time. This is tough in a forced-air incubator, especially in the late-winter months. I soak some NEW kitchen sponges in very hot water and add them to the incubator. This will immediately raised the humidity level and help maintain it at a high level. I also run a humidifier in the room.
Then, it's just a waiting game. So let's all wait a few days and see what happens!
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