Hi! I am hatching a batch of chicken eggs this April, due next week on Tuesday/Wednesday!!! I'm excited but also nervous since I haven't incubated since I was a kid, and because I've already gotten 5 early quitters. Ugh, it's the worst. I'm sure it's something I did improperly. Was it the hand sanitizer I used before candling? Was the incubator dirty (i did wash it)? Did I jostle them too much? Tomorrow will be eggtopsy day, hope I can figure out what happened. (And that they were all roosters, so I don't feel as bad. right?)
Anyone would want to weigh in on their day 18 and lockdown protocols for a still-air HovaBator 1620? I've found so much great info here on BYC, but I want to make sure I've got great hatching conditions since now my last few babies are seeming precious... Links, personal experience, etc. I'd love to hear it!
Wish me luck!
Hi! I use a Hova still air too :-) At lockdown, I put the grippy shelf liner down over the wire mesh to prevent little legs and feet from getting caught and to try to prevent slipping and splay legs. You can also use paper towels if you don't have an grippy liner on hand. I don't have an automatic turner to remove, but if you do- of course that needs to come out on day 18 and eggs placed on their sides.
I aim for 65-70% humidity during lockdown, and my house is dry so I use the wells to add water and also put clean sponges on the shelf liner and dampen them through lockdown as needed. Once chicks start hatching, your humidity will jump up and you may see upwards of 80% that's ok- it will drop back down between hatchers.
Since still air needs a warmer temp through incubation, I run at 102 degrees until they start hatching, then I'll drop it to 99.
Many people recommend not opening the incubator to remove chicks until your hatch is complete. This is to help maintain humidity and avoid drying membranes of any who have pipped. You may not see the pips because the eggs get rolled and moved around a lot which is ok. Your chicks don't need to come out immediately after they are dried. Mine will chirp loudly, flop and stumble around the first hour or two, but will quiet down and sleep as they get their legs under them a bit more.
I hope that helps a little and you have a great hatch 😀