Today is Day #20. Huge thanks friends for the replies on my incubation project. Your support is so helpful and reassuring. Yes, I am wondering if my hydrometer is wrong. I've decided to not believe it anymore, but I don't have a backup right now, so I'll have to just carry on.
and, yes, I also checked the size of the air pockets until lockdown. They were advancing nicely at low humidity in the 'bator, as the various guidelines describe, aiming for a 13% weightloss. I kept it around 25% or less, and carefully checked the air pockets. They looked great. And, I saw plenty of embryos, and movement, and veins and such, except for in the 6 eggs with dark shells, I could not see inside the dark ones.
On day #17, I added all the water and the shamwows, and on day #18, I sprayed some warm water inside, and locked er down. I haven't opened the lid at all yet. I'm trying hard to follow instructions to leave it alone during lockdown. I am just hovering and peering in there every hour or so, and fretting. This is HARD !!!!
One of you said you kept your bator at 60% humidity the whole time. Question 1: How did you get the %% so high and keep it high at our altitude? and Question 2: Did you have nice/proper sized air pockets in your eggs with this much humidity?
Experienced incubator friends.... do you usually see pips in the outer shell on Day#20 ? Or do they come on Day#21, or later?
I don't see any pips yet. Should I worry?
Kind regards, Hovering chicky moma - Jan
Everything sounds good to me, especially the hovering part. That is why the thing is called a Hoverbator. someday you may want to experiment with those heavy duty incontinence pads in your lockdown: they hold a LOT of water, are tidy, and pose no risk of drowning.
With no hydrometer, you will have to watch carefully for condensation and be willing to crack the lid if/when it occurs. You can mist the eggs with WARM water if you have to open the bator during lockdown. Chicks about to hatch are more tolerant of small changes in temperature than developing embryos. Some people have pips on Day20. I think a lot depends on the temperature range during the incubation, but I believe you should expect your chicks to pip on Day 21 if all has gone according to plan. I assisted a pipped chick on day 25, a full day after I shut the incubator down. Another chick pipped and hatched on day 24. These guys were in a cool spot of the incubator and they should not have hatched at all. If it were me, I would leave town on hatch day, because there's not much you can do by that time.