Like the title said, it was a stormy night and I was just settling down to go read a book before bed. I always check the temps and humidity in the incubators before I retire for the evening. I want to make sure I don't need to add water or miss something. All was good and I was ready to relax. Then the next thing I know, the power went out. Crap.
Of course anxiety kicks in and I automatically think about how am I going to keep the incubators warm? How long could this power be out? A few minutes, hours, DAYS!?
I calm myself down and hatch a plan (yes, I said hatch, I couldn't resist)
Years ago, I had gone through this exact thing. Incubator set, no power and panic.
At the time, the only thing I could think of doing was grabbing some ziplock bags and filling them with hot water, closing them tight and lay them under the basket in the 'bator.
Then I wrapped the whole machine in towels. The power was out for 4 hours and I was sure my little unhatched fluff balls were toast. The eggs were not nearly as warm at they would be if the incubator was powered up and I'm sure the humidity was low. That night, I slowly pulled the lid off and grasped a beautiful blue egg in my hand expecting that when I candled it, there would be no movement. So, with my stomach in knots, I shone my little light in the the shell and miracles of miracles, there was movement! I excitedly checked on the next one, then the next. All had movement! All were alive! I felt a small victory in that I was able to keep the little guys alive. Just over a week later, they hatched out and all was well.
But every time I set eggs after that, I always worried about what if the power went out? What if it was way longer? So, I had an idea. We go camping in spots where there is no power or utilities. Off in the bush or on a stranded beach. We always take a small generator with us.
So, the next time the power went out, I ran to our travel trailer and grabbed the little generator and gassed her up! I hauled in an extension cord through the window and plugged it in to a power/serge bar that the incubators were running off of. Then I ran back outside and started the darn thing up. It took a few try's, but I got it going and we were off to the races. I can't tell you the pressure that floated away when I saw my incubators start up and purr like kittens. My hatching eggs were warm and cozy and turning nicely. The power was off for quite some time, 6 or 7 hours I think. But did I worry? Nope! As long as I had some gas to refill the generator with, I was good for days.
So when this power outage hit the other night, I threw on my rain jacket, walked up to the shed and pulled out my fabulous generator! It was a pain in the you know what to drag it through the storm to the house, but I sure felt better knowing that the eggs would survive.
So there's my little tricks to keeping your hatching eggs alive during a power outage. If it's a few hours, they will be just fine with a hot water bottle in under the tray and the outside of the incubator wrapped in towels. If you are prone to long and frequent power outages, I would highly recommend a generator. A little one will run you a couple hundred bucks, but it's worth the sanity. A used one is even cheaper and easily found on local sale sites.
What are your experiences with incubators and power outages? Any tips or tricks?
Side note: Always remember to run the generator outside of the house. They release fumes and carbon dioxide. Just run a water proof extension cord through the window and park the generator as far from the open window as it will go.