1st Time Incubator Maker

mangled

Songster
11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
1,467
8
196
The Wilds of Western PA
I have fashioned myself a homemade incubator. Nothing fancy, styrofoam cooler, light, etc. The temp. has held between 96-100 for three days now, but I cannot get the humidty up. Right now the bloody thing has been sitting at 51% for the better part of the day.
I have a short pan full of water, I would say it's 1/4 the size of the floor of the incubator.
Do I need a larger surface area of water?
It will be a still-air, I have no fan at this time. Will it even work to hatch an egg, or is a fan a must?

TIA-
Em
 

Josie

Songster
12 Years
Jan 3, 2008
867
0
149
California
I am by no means an expert, but I know people hatch with still air incubators all the time.
I'll wait to comment on humidity after I have a successful hatch.
 

jimnjay

Songster
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
1,911
36
201
Bryant Alabama
It should hatch just fine. 50% is just right for the first 18 days. You can increase it on the last three days by adding a wet sponge, or sock. I found that those squeege cloths they sell on TV work great and you can change them out and wash in between. How are you controlling the heat. Do you have a dimmer switch? Just be carefull as the days get warmer it may affect the temps. Err on the side of cooler is you are going to be gone for any length of time.
 

mangled

Songster
11 Years
12 Years
Jan 25, 2008
1,467
8
196
The Wilds of Western PA
Okay, I've had 98-101 degrees and 50-56% humidity in the McGyver-bator (my husband is a huge Richard Dean Anderson fan, thus I McGyvered an incubator together) for two days solid...it recovers within 5-7 minutes after opening the lid. I have a dimmer switch on the light, and made a 20 oz. Pepsi bottle with a hole in the top and a piece of aquarium hosing to use as a water-adder without opening the lid.

So, I'm ready to add my eggs. I'm a bit nervous about it, LOL. I plan to hand turn. I have hardware cloth down and I'm going to put some of that shelf-liner stuff (a Speckledhen recommendation I read somewhere) down before I set the eggs.

Okay, so, how often do you all turn your eggs? I am a stay-at-home mom, so I don't get out much, LOL. Turning shouldn't be a problem. I've read three times a day, and 5 times a day, and even read here someone doesn't turn at all.

Thanks everyone-
If all is well, I will set them in the bator tomorrow in the AM, and pray for Easter luck, LOL.
Em
 

twigg

Cooped up
11 Years
Mar 2, 2008
1,389
7
171
Tulsa
Okay, so, how often do you all turn your eggs? I am a stay-at-home mom, so I don't get out much, LOL. Turning shouldn't be a problem. I've read three times a day, and 5 times a day, and even read here someone doesn't turn at all.

If all other conditions are perfect, not turning will probably reduce hatch rate by about 50%.

As to 3, 5, 7 times a day ...... well 3 would be a minimum, 5 or 7 would be fine. A chicken turns them about every 30 minutes.

The reason for the odd number is that they don't always spend the overnight period on the same side.

Hth​
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
Some say turn 2 - 4 times. Others say turn 3 - 5. For me 3 or 4 is plenty.

Don't worry about getting the humidity up right now. Raising the humidity is for the last few days. As the chicks pip and start to hatch it will go up too. You have plenty of time to make it go up. A big wet sponge will do wonders for it.

You might want to get a surge protector to plug the bator into to help with temp spikes at night. Also make sure it is in an area that doesn't have much of a temp change from day to night.

I have 3 homemade ones. Half of my last hatch came out of one.

You might be interested in reading in the dry hatch method if you haven't already. There is some really good info in there for new hatchers.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/LC-DryIncubation.html

Good luck and have fun!
 

orlandoluv1

Songster
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
204
0
129
spring valley , CA
wow o three to five is the minimum? i heard that you only do it twice a day! wow i ahve my first babies incubating an di have been doing this wole thing all wrong. the problem wiht my incubator is that its one of those cheap rinky dinky ones and if i were to open it that many times i think the babies would not make it. any suggestions?
 

FLOWERPOT

Songster
11 Years
Mar 13, 2008
723
9
151
Southern Indiana
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR HATCH!!!
You need to turn the eggs at least 3 times per day.
It helps if you use a pencil and mark an x on one side and an o on the other side to help you remember if you turned them or not.
I have a regular incubator but made one also, just to see how it worked, and it worked just great!
Just stop turning then for the last three days of incubation.
 

MissPrissy

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 7, 2007
24,434
102
371
Forks, Virginia
Turning the eggs helps to make sure the embryo doesn't stick to the membrane and shell the first 6 or so days. After that the turning is to exercise the chick and keep it moving. By day 18 when you stop turning the chick it is able to orient itself and get ready to pip the inner air cell, eventually pip the shell and finally hatch. - verymuch the same way a human baby rolls and turns head down ready to be born.
 

twigg

Cooped up
11 Years
Mar 2, 2008
1,389
7
171
Tulsa
i heard that you only do it twice a day!

You can feel ok about turning twice a day.

The point is that the closer you get to ideal conditions, the better will be the hatch rate, and the stronger will be the chicks.

Although you might want to note the point about an odd number of turns, especially in the first week.​
 

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