Originally Posted by Jessimom
I have a Little Giant with a fan and an auto turner. I keep ZERO water in the 'bator for the first 18 days. My humidity runs around 36%. You should candle the eggs to see if the air cells are losing the correct amount of moisture since you have the channels full of water. What is the humidity?
I have a second little giant bator (no fan) that I had very successful hatch rates with. I kept wet sponges in there, rather than using the channels to up the humidity for lockdown. I was able to add water through the vent holes to keep the sponges wet. I have since broken that incubator trying to add a fan. I think the temps I ran that at were 99 - 100, but my chicks hatched late - days 21 and 22. I replaced the broken bator with an Incuview and had a HORRIBLE hatch.
I agree, once you lock down the eggs, don't open it again until most chicks have hatched. They can go 2 to 3 days without food or water.
Go here to get more info.... http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
XS 2 I prefer the low humidity incubation and run dry when I am able to stay above 25% dry.
Originally Posted by ConfusedTaru
So my incubator is at 101, and I have been turning my eggs 2-3 times a day. The eggs have been in the incubator for three days, so I will candle in 3 days. I have hatched eggs before, but with an auto turner. I will not refill the water reservoir then until it is lock down. I do not know what my humidity is. How do you measure that? Also, for future reference, would all this be the same for duck eggs? Bantam eggs? I have all of those species, and occasionally we need an emergency rescue from a new broody. I also wanted to thank you guys for the quick replies, this is my first thread on BYC, and I thought it would be much, much slower. I will give you guys updates in pictures when I candle and when they hatch. I will leave the chicks in the bator until all have hatched. This is my first time hatching full sized chickens, so I am excited to add some more variety to the flock, although I am a bit clueless. Any more advice is very welcome.
Thanks so much!
HI there!! 101-102 is ideal for still air bators. I also hatch in a LG but mine has had the fan added. I have awesome hatches. I highly recommend using a low humidity method for the first 17 days and checking the air cells so you know how and when to adjust if needed. I highly recommend purchasing a hygrometer and checking both the hygrometer and your thermometers for accuracy as that can make or break a hatch. I use this method for incubation: http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com/blog/throw-away-those-incubator-manuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity Many people using styro bators especially have had awesome results that way. (Note: Higher elevations need higher humidity so I do NOT recommend it if the hatcher is at a high elevation.)
Now for when to remove chicks. That is a personal choice. Many wait until after the hatch is complete to remove chicks, some wait until they are dry to remove them then there are plenty of us that remove them as they hatch. The biggest factor you need to take into consideration is your humidity. If you have your humidity upped for hatch (I run at 75%) and your incubator recovers humidity easily, then opening the bator during hatch should cause no issues. I remove my chicks as they become active. Sometimes that means they are in there a couple hours, sometimes less than that. Because I run a higher hatching humidity my chicks dry and fluff better under the brooder lamp than in the incubator. I think the longest my chicks are ever in the bator is if they hatch during the night. While theory says that chicks can last 3 days on the absorbed yolk, you have to take into consideration that growth/embryo charts show that chicks normally start absorbing yolk at day 19 and are done by day 20. So if the majority of the chicks absorb "on time" they are already exhausting that supply at hatch. You also have to factor in possibility of dehydration during hatch. I equate the theory of "they can last for 3 days on the absorbed yolk" to I can last three days w/o food too, doesn't mean I want to. I pull my chicks and provide food and water (electrolyte infused) from onset. Normally, the majority of my chicks are drinking within hours. Eating ranges from some eating within the first 24 hours to others that really aren't interested until after 24 hours. People hatch, raise and brood in many different ways. No one way is right. Finding your comfort level and what works for you is the goal. As long as you are meeting your idea of success, that is what matters, no matter which way you choose.
As for duck and bantams. I haven't done ducks myself but many friends have and they are pretty similiar with exception of incubation period and many people mist their duck eggs during incubation. Bantams are no different than standards, the only thing with bantams is they will often (though not neccessarily) will hatch a day or two early.
I have an auto turner, but I choose to hand turn and have had my best hatches hand turning. I turn at least 3 times a day, 5 if I can get in the extra couple. I also stop trning at the end of day 13 so that they can start their rotation to the big end w/out extra handling. (I also candle when I want too. )