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Any advice would sure be appreciated!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by jenEbean, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. jenEbean

    jenEbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2015
    I actually made my still air incubator the other day as I knew my eggs would be arriving today. I bought the best digital thermometer/hygrometer that money can buy & so far the temp & humidity has stayed consistent for 48 hours. It definitely takes some babysitting but I'm home all day to check the levels & turn the eggs. Our eggs arrived today! I did have a question about the humidity levels at the beginning. I've read a few different things. What should it be & I've also read different things about letting them come to room temp before I place them in the incubator. Any advice from you chicken lovers on temp, humidity & resting to room temp before incubating would sure be appreciated! I trust the info I get here more than the random answers I've received through my research. We have Silkie X Cochin eggs. Hooping for a good hatch! I did this when I was younger & it was the coolest thing! I wanted my 8 year old son to experience it after he made all As on his report card. So we're giving it a whirl. We were dying for Silkie eggs due to being the "lap dogs" of the chicken world. However, I've researched & read that Cochins are wonderful as pets too so I'm really hoping we have a few hatch. So excited to see what they'll look like!! Thanks in advance guys!!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    You don’t want water condensing on the eggs from the air. If your heat or AC is on, the air in your house probably drier and cooler than the air inside the incubator. By letting them warm to room temperature if they start out cooler you reduce your chances of water condensing on them.

    I don’t know if you made a still (thermal) air incubator or if you put a fan in there and made a forced air. In general a forced air will have the same temperature everywhere inside, though it’s possible you have some pockets. It’s probably OK to take the temperature anywhere inside a forced air. Your target is 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

    But hot air rises. In a still air you can get tremendous temperature differences depending on how high you are inside that incubator. Try it to prove it to yourself and your son. It can be a teaching moment. It’s very important where you take the temperature inside the incubator. The normal recommendation is 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit at the top of the eggs.

    Humidity gets really complicated. There is no one perfect humidity for each and every egg. There are a lot of different reasons for that. Each egg is different. They can have different porosities and some egg whites are thicker than others so they lose moisture differently. Some eggs have been stored longer than others so some have already lost a reasonable amount of moisture before incubation starts. Each incubator is different in how it bring in outside air to replace the air inside. The temperature and humidity of the air coming in is different on different days, let alone the time of year. That makes a difference in how much moisture is sucked out of the eggs as that fresh air is brought up to incubator moisture and temperature levels.

    The good news is that there is a pretty wide range of humidities inside the incubator that will work. You don’t have to have an extremely precise humidity to get the eggs to hatch, you just need to be in the general neighborhood. What that neighborhood looks like will vary for each of us. That’s one reason you can get so many different recommendations on what humidity to use.

    For a repeat hatcher I generally suggest to try something, be as consistent as you can, and analyze the hatch to see if you need to tweak something. For a one time hatcher that gets harder. I could be giving you bad numbers. I suggest you shoot for something around 40% to 45% during incubation and raise the humidity to at least 65% (can go higher) during lockdown. Those are averages that should work for a lot of people.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    No matter the quality of the hygrometer it should still be calibrated with a salt test. The thermometer can be verified next to a medical thermometer too. I prefer and have much better results starting with a dryer incubation. For you to know your humidity level is good you candle day 7 and day 14 to monitor the air sac growth. Eggs need to expel moisture to grow that air cell, I find 30-35% get's me spot on to a model growth of air cell. It may be different for you but would start low and candle on day 7 to confirm. Adding just a shot glass or coffee cup filled with water will change the humidity, it's based on surface area of water, number of eggs in incubator and air flow. Knowing that it's easy to get to any desired 5% range. If the air cell growth is small when candling then lower humidity or if large then raise the moisture level. I hatch at 70% RH anymore. I use to be 65% but found that delayed hatching chicks tend to get stuck in shells due to the spike of humidity during piping and zipping that turns the album to glue then drying back down to 65% get's the late bloomers to stick. 70-75% keeps things greased.

    [​IMG]
    A quick and easy way to do a salt test:

    Fill a milk or juice cap with table salt and add drops of water until saturated. Poor off standing water.

    Put hygrometer and cap into a zip seal bag (sandwich or quart size works). I provide a small pillow of air.

    Wait at least 4 hours and take the RH reading. A salt environment should be 75% give or take a few decimals.

    Subtract your reading from 75 and write that calibration number on piece of tape to stick to incubator as reminder.

    Ex: Your reading is 82% RH. 75-82= -7. You'd always subtract 7 from your reading for true RH.


    Shipped eggs should settle from the turbulent travel. Place them fat end up in egg cartoons at room temp for a good 24 hours. Your hatch rate with shipped eggs can vary depending on your area, treatment at shipping facilities. On average 50% hatching from shipped is a good number. Letting the air cells realign to fat end of egg by resting them is a good way to get the hatching % up.
     
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  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    You'll get plenty of information in the learning center: "Hatching Eggs 101". I read this entire article before starting my hatches. Always good to refresh. No matter how much money you spend on a thermo/hygrometer, they need to be calibrated. Wrong is still wrong, no matter how much you paid for it! I calibrate thermometers (the ones that can be immersed) to 100* in a cup of water using an oral digital medical thermometer. They are guaranteed at +/- .2* accuracy.
     
  5. jenEbean

    jenEbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all so much! I did calibrate the hygrometer & let the eggs settle before incubating. My problem now is the temp. I've been shooting for 101°- 101.5° but today it's fluctuated between 102° - 104°, which I immediately fixed as I've been watching them very closely. My humidity goes between 40°-53°. I can easily fix that though. I tried to think of it as a convection oven by poking holes under the light & above the eggs. Since heat rises I figured it would be pull the heat over the eggs without over heating them. I have it well ventilated but am finding myself plugging & unplugging the holes when the temp gets too low or too high. It just figures because it kept perfect levels for 48 hours UNTIL I put the eggs in! Go figure. [​IMG] I'm just hoping the brief fluctuation in the higher temps didn't hurt them already. I remember it quickly so it wasn't long but as a new chicken momma, it concerns me. I don't have a fan wired in it but would it be helpful to place a small desk fan near it to circulate the air through the ventilation or do you all think that would that mess with my temps? You guys are awesom! Thanks for all of your advice!
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Room in the bator for that fan? Not a recommendation, as that's a safety call you'll have to make, just wondering out loud. Got ventilation underneath to bring in fresh air? I like to have my fresh air enter near my heat source, then circulate around to exit after making a full sweep through the bator. I also have bator running for 24 hours with water bottles to = the planned egg volume to tweak temps before committing eggs.
     
  7. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Your problem with temp when just putting eggs in is due to the eggs being at room temp. It will take up to 12 hours or more for them to get up to the incubator temp. That's why it reads low right now. Try not to fidget with it too much until it stabilizes. That you have already just make sure it doesn't get over over 102.5F measured at top of eggs, low is normal until eggs get up to temp.
     
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  8. jenEbean

    jenEbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2015
    Yes, I did poke holes under the heat source them some above the eggs (I was thinking like a convection oven since heat rises) I also had some holes in the sides but I'm finding myself taping over them & then removing some of the tape to keep the temp correct. Do you think it's best to keep holes for ventilation all around or just on the ends where the heat source & them eggs are? No the fan is not in the bator, I was think plugging a small fan outside of it to circulate the air through the ventilation holes. I'm up for any suggestions!! Lol
     
  9. jenEbean

    jenEbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2015
     
  10. jenEbean

    jenEbean Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 22, 2015
    Thanks so much! That explains a lot!
     

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