Any advise for 1st timer at hatching?

Happy Chooks

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Jul 9, 2009
Northern CA
My Coop
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My bator is coming today or tomorrow. It's a hovabator with auto turner. I'm going to calibrate my hygrometer and get it running. Eggs will be arriving at the end of this week.

I know pointy end down (thanks for the posts about this, I probably would have screwed it up)

So from what I've read humidity should be in the 35-40% range until lockdown, then 60% or so? Is this correct?

Lockdown is day 18, correct? So I take the eggs out of the turner and put them on the soft, spongy dish liner I bought. (read that here too
) And of course, no opening the bator after that.

Anything else? I'm so excited!

ETA: When do I candle the eggs?
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Thanks for posting. I have my incubator on, regulating the temp. Supposed to pick up my eggs tomorrow afternoon!

This is so exciting!!!
I would hatch out a little over 60. I get mine up to 85 but 65-75 is usually recommended.

Big big big... once they start hatching DO NOT open the incubator up. Even to save a chick or to remove some. Chciks can go at least 48 hours without food and water.

If you do open it up, chances are great that the rest of you chicks in the eggs will not be able to hatch out. Even a quick opening 10-15 seconds has done it to mine. I do live in a dry climate, but I have learned the hard way not to open it up until they are done or close to done.

The membrane will dry out and hold that chick like glue.

When you think they are all done, and you are willing to chance opening it up, check each egg. Sometimes you will have chicks stuck that you can carefully help out if you choose. But read up on helping out because it is not easy. They can bleed to death quickly.
Also, you might want to think again about hatching on the shelf liner.

I am not sure if it was just my hovabator, but it was very hard to keep my humidity stable with that in there. I tried it 3 times and finally stopped.

Now I hatch in an egg carton that you cut down and cut holes in the bottom for ventilation. This helps keep the eggs from being rolled and kicked around by the chicks that have already hatched.

I have just hatched on the wire, but I like this method better.

Don't over candle the eggs. It is tempting but not good for the chicks. Especially shipped eggs. Candle at day 7-10. You should see veining and or movement even in the dark eggs by day 10. Then I don't candle again until day 17 right before lockdown and get rid of any late quitters.

In the meantime get ready for lockdown. I really like to add several sponges soaked with water along with filling my water troughs at lockdown.

If you use sponges, place them directly below the vent (which is where you will add warm water if needed) I use either a baster or large syringe and squirt it through the vent onto the sponge.

Last item to watch is the temperature. If your Hova is too warm your eggs will hatch early. Too cold isn't good either. Aim for 99.5 to 100.5 You should use more than one thermometor to check as they vary. And the ones that come with the hova are (to my experience) not reliable.

good luck

This is just a guide, keep reading and learning and find out what works for you

the third days you can do it, but to be sure enough, better on 7th days.

and from all posts i realize you've got enough information to do it well without power outages of course.

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