ATTENTION NEWBIES TO INCUBATING

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
52
113
Bolivar, Ohio
Ok.......I think I finely got it. Thanks to lots of links, reading, research, and plenty of advice from vets in here. I was so totally confused when I started, I thought I should post this so it just might help somebody. And PLEASE.....I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all. I just have really worked hard to figure this all out and want to try to help others as well.

Ok, so here is the thing. My first ever attempt to hatch was 28 golden buff eggs. They were from my hens, and fairly fresh. Long story short, only 3 hatched. I had 3 early quitters and 2 infertile. 20 of them were fully developed chicks that died just before they were due to hatch. Eggtopsy showed me they never turned in the shell so obviously didn't internally pip. I had to know why.

Research taught me I probably had the humidity a little too high. The chick got too big and couldn't turn to finish the process.

Ok....round #2

The next batch was 22 golden buff eggs also from my same hens. Keep humidity low this time I told myself. I didn't want that to happen again. So.....I ended up with 22 dehydrated "jerky" chicks!

Ok......research..............research........................research!

So then I asked a whole bunch of really stupid questions of some really patient people who tolerated me and kept trying to tell me there was no way to answer my questions. I didn't get it! What humidity do you use I asked. Depends was the answer. I was frustrated, and so were they. NOW, I GET IT!

During incubation, each egg needs to loose between 12% and 15% of it's body weight. That allows things to shrink up enough inside to allow the embryo to grow, but still have room to turn around to internally and externally pip.

What is also happening during this same time is the air cell at the top of the egg is getting larger. This air cell is where the chick will take its first breath after internally pipping.

If the air cell is full of water (from too high of humidity during incubation) the chick will drown. If the air cell is too small, there is no air in there to breath, and if the air cell is too large, the chick was probably dehydrated and is now dead anyway.

So....the correct answer to how high should my humidity be is: It depends on where your egg is at in the process of evaporating just enough, but not too much water from within the egg.

There are two ways to scale this.

#1 Look at and monitor the air cell by means of candling the egg. The problem here, is enough experience to know how big is should be at the time you check it. There is also the problem I have of not being able to see the air cell. I don't know if it is just these old half blind eyes, or my shells are thicker than some, or maybe because they are brown eggs. But what ever the reason, I just can't make out the air cell.

But, there is another way! I am putting a batch of 40 in tomorrow. I will weigh and mark every egg. Then, every 3 days, I am going to weigh them again. Each 3 days, they should have lost just about 2.4% of their original weight. If they are on track, fine. If they are too heavy, I need to reduce the humidity in the incubator. If they are too light, I need to increase the humidity in the incubator.

• To alter egg weight loss by 1%, humidity should be changed by about 5% Rh or 2 degrees F.

I will keep you posted, but from everything I know now, this should lead to a very successful hatch. It will be a long 3 weeks waiting to know!

And PLEASE veterans, PLEASE, PLEASE let me know if there is something here I am mistaken about.
 
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Sally Sunshine

Crossing the Road
Premium member
7 Years
Aug 23, 2012
57,536
10,498
957
LOL
now how many times did I direct you to the hatching 101 article for understanding that humidity is not a set number<giggles> its been there all along, just sayin
and I will add there are a number more important factors for a good clean hatch in the article so KEEP READING and RESEARCHING there is ALWAYS something more to learn to improve hatchability!


HUMIDITY
The Air Bubble in the Egg
The average chicken egg has thousands of pores running through the shell allowing the embryo to exchange oxygen, carbon dioxide. and water. Soon after an egg is laid, a small air bubble or “air cell” forms in the large end of the egg from this water loss. Humidity levels in the incubator determine moisture evaporation during the 21 days of incubation and hatching. The air cell is crucial for the chick to break out of the egg shell at the end of the incubation period. The chick can drown if the air cell is too small or the chick may be retarded in growth if the air cell is too large. This is why maintaining the proper humidity is crucial. Slightly lower humidity levels are more likely to be less disastrous than slightly higher humidity levels. There are quite a few opinions on Humidity, but it is no set number.

Humidity is NOT A SET NUMBER, you need it YES!

However, you use it as a tool to "adjust" egg weight loss during incubation. We candle on days 7,10,14,18 To WATCH WEIGHT LOSS IN EVERY EGG! An EGG MUST lose approximately 13-14% of its weight during the incubation process. THIS IS YOUR GOAL!! You can monitor this by marking Air cells and also by weighing. Please refer to CANDLING section of this Article for more Air Cell info.

Size of air cell on day 7, 14, and 18 of incubation

WHY to MEASURE WEIGHT LOSS IN EGGS,

MEASURING PROCEDURES (HOW TO), HOW TO CALCULATE, and HOW to interpret RESULTS
http://www.aviagen.com/assets/Tech_Center/BB_Resources_Tools/AA_How_Tos/AAHowto1WaterLossEN13.pdf


I choose the easier method, keeping a close eye on air cell growth during incubation. You begin by ONLY adding a small amount of water and keep Humidity between 20%-30% and adjusting as you weigh or candle depending on moisture loss. IN SOME AREAS OF THE COUNTRY YOU MAY NOT NEED TO ADD ANY WATER! USE IT AS A TOOL FOR THE CORRECT WEIGHT LOSS IN THE EGG! So if your air cells look too large at each candle period you must add some humidity, too small air cell lower it, and if your weighing you adjust as needed. UNTIL DAY 18 LOCKDOWN,
then stop turning and raise humidity to 65-70%

UNDERSTANDING HUMIDITY

Views of Day 18 Candle.....
 

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
52
113
Bolivar, Ohio
"its been there all along, just sayin"

Yes, but until I tapped the ruby slippers together, I didn't get it! Thank you for the help!
 

Sally Sunshine

Crossing the Road
Premium member
7 Years
Aug 23, 2012
57,536
10,498
957
"its been there all along, just sayin"

Yes, but until I tapped the ruby slippers together, I didn't get it! Thank you for the help!
HA HA HA!

I just saw that funny joke on FB

something about "Scare Crow" not having a brain, he was defending himself because he wasn't the one that couldn't find his way on ONE yellow brick road


sometimes things are right underfoot, we find them eventually if we search for them hard enough



Where will you be posting through this next batch of yours? you know to find me in the diary thread if you need anything! Wish you guys the best with the new bator too!
 

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
52
113
Bolivar, Ohio
HA HA HA!

I just saw that funny joke on FB

something about "Scare Crow" not having a brain, he was defending himself because he wasn't the one that couldn't find his way on ONE yellow brick road


sometimes things are right underfoot, we find them eventually if we search for them hard enough



Where will you be posting through this next batch of yours? you know to find me in the diary thread if you need anything! Wish you guys the best with the new bator too!
Thank Sunshine,
I think I will keep this going right here.


This was during warm-up. Thermometers could not be MORE in agreement!


I just finished warming up the incubator. 3 thermometers all reading right at 100 now. Humidity at set 48%. I didn't add any water at all yet, but it is raining and fairly humid outside. I will just wait for that.

Average weight about 67 to 75 grams. I marked the weight on every egg!

 
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Dawnrenae

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2012
301
7
108
May I hijack the thread for a moment?

Thanks!

What happens if I just lay the eggs in the incubator, and hand turn them several times a day?

I am at a loss.

My first hatch should end Sunday!. Yesterday was day 18. While my air cells seemed healthy, life seemed to have stopped for all but 1 egg.

Temp was 100° with very few changes, between 99 and 101 and humidity between 45 and 50% (now that I am reading, probably much too high.) I only candled three times. Day 7, 14, and 18. Until day 14, I didn't even know I should turn more than twice a day! :( I had my eggies in an egg carton (homemade turner).

I am hoping this last lil one makes it, but for whatever reason, it looks to have grown in the big end of the egg, where the air cell should be?

Any ways, I thought I had read, researched, re-read and listened to EVERYTHING possible from all my chicken people, and still, one out of 12 eggs made it to day 18!

Thanks for listenin'.
 

blucoondawg

Songster
6 Years
Jan 27, 2013
1,650
203
206
Northern Wisconsin
May I hijack the thread for a moment?

Thanks!

What happens if I just lay the eggs in the incubator, and hand turn them several times a day?

I am at a loss.

My first hatch should end Sunday!. Yesterday was day 18. While my air cells seemed healthy, life seemed to have stopped for all but 1 egg.

Temp was 100° with very few changes, between 99 and 101 and humidity between 45 and 50% (now that I am reading, probably much too high.) I only candled three times. Day 7, 14, and 18. Until day 14, I didn't even know I should turn more than twice a day!
I had my eggies in an egg carton (homemade turner).

I am hoping this last lil one makes it, but for whatever reason, it looks to have grown in the big end of the egg, where the air cell should be?

Any ways, I thought I had read, researched, re-read and listened to EVERYTHING possible from all my chicken people, and still, one out of 12 eggs made it to day 18!

Thanks for listenin'.
What made you think the eggs were all dead at day 18 except for that one? I hope you didn't take them out of the incubator, you may get a surprise from those eggs, at day 18 it is hard to see any life in the eggs as the chick fills up most of the egg and it will just be black with no real definition of movement. Keep all those eggs in the incubator unless you have one that is smelly then it is likely dead and rotten.
 

Dawnrenae

Songster
7 Years
May 1, 2012
301
7
108
All of my eggs were pretty clear. The eleven of them have blood rings around the air cells that I didn't notice on day 14. And the saddles never darkened.

And then for lil egg #12, the only one that seemed to turn into a chick, I can't seem to find an air cell at all, because it looks like the baby is in the big end of the shell?

I have no clue. I did however leave all eggs in, and probably will until Tuesday, as was advised by my friend.

I just have NO idea.
 
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