Calibrating incubators—necessary?

Oct 16, 2020
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Here’s a weird one...

I have a rinky dink home incubator I’ve used for a three quail hatches now, with varying success. The ‘bator has a fan and auto turns eggs, but no hygrometer. It tells me the temperature it’s at, but I’m not sure how accurate it is.

My latest hatch of 10 eggs yielded 8 live chicks so far, one still trying to get out, and one not developed. (I did shrink wrap and have to rescue 2, but that was on me. I got cavalier about opening the lid.)

Here’s where it gets interesting...

In an attempt to get my humidity right, I put a couple hygrometers in the incubator while it was working, and...this thing seems to be running COLD. like, it measured 96 degrees on one side of the incubator and 94 degrees on the other side the whole time I was incubating these eggs, and I have no idea how or why they hatched. 6 out of 10 hatched fast, too. Super healthy.

That’s not bad for an incubator running 5 degrees too cold! (Though I do seem to be hatching a lot more girls than boys.)

I checked just now, and the hygrometer is measuring 99% humidity and 89 degrees—and this is how all my eggs have hatched. I kid you not. How they are hatching is a mystery.

I’d assume these hygrometer/thermometers are just wrong, but they seem to measure the right temp when I put them in my brooder. In the brooder, the hygrometer says it’s 96 degrees

So...should I calibrate the incubator? Or trust that the incubator knows what it’s doing??? Should I get new thermometer/hygrometers???

Or should I not fix what isnt broken?

People say to check your incubator‘s temperature independently, but this is raising a lot more questions than it answers.

Thanks for your insights.
 
Jul 26, 2020
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I always and also recommend turning it on 24 hours in advance and cross checking with both a thermometer and hydrometer. As for as the hatch results in the past, if you're getting the hatch rate your comfortable with leave it alone.

Don't assume it wrong though. I've seen people do that in the past and it never ends well.
 

hysop

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Did you calibrate both the thermometer and hygrometer?

I personally wouldn’t fix what isn’t broken but... There will be some cold spots and hot spots all over the incubator. Maybe the successful hatches were in the optimal spots while the others weren’t.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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I always and also recommend turning it on 24 hours in advance and cross checking with both a thermometer and hydrometer. As for as the hatch results in the past, if you're getting the hatch rate your comfortable with leave it alone.

Don't assume it wrong though. I've seen people do that in the past and it never ends well.
You mean "don't assume the incubator is wrong"?

I think that's what I'm getting at. Because the eggs are hatching alright, I'm inclined to believe the incubator more than the hygrometers. (after all, hygrometers are designed to measure humidity, right? Maybe the temperature reading isn't very accurate.)
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Did you calibrate both the thermometer and hygrometer?

I personally wouldn’t fix what isn’t broken but... There will be some cold spots and hot spots all over the incubator. Maybe the successful hatches were in the optimal spots while the others weren’t.
Yeah, I think so too. something I notice with this incubator is eggs hatch better when there are fewer inside. I think that's a humidity issue. I live in a very damp place. I suspect when I pack eggs in touching one another, I get condensation.

I used a dehumidifier this hatch, and it made a lot of difference. No sticky chicks.
 
Oct 16, 2020
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update: my humidity is down to 70%, and now the temperature reading says it's 97.7 degrees.

Perhaps these hygrometers are just very inaccurate in high humidity?
 

hysop

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update: my humidity is down to 70%, and now the temperature reading says it's 97.7 degrees.

Perhaps these hygrometers are just very inaccurate in high humidity?

Keep checking it throughout the day to see if it changes. What kind of thermometer are you using?
 

hysop

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I'm using these hygrometers. Judging from the reviews, they are not very accurate. Unfortunatly, the kind that wOULD be accurate likely wouldn't fit in my incubator.
https://www.amazon.com/Veanic-Elect...1&sr=1-1-80ba0e26-a1cd-4e7b-87a0-a2ffae3a273c

Yeah digital ones can be iffy sometimes. And you can’t calibrate them at all or as easily as the others. I used a digital one and it was pretty accurate. But now I just use my built in one with my NR360 incubator.

Have the temperatures changed? For quail is it 99.5 F as well?
 
Oct 16, 2020
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Yeah digital ones can be iffy sometimes. And you can’t calibrate them at all or as easily as the others. I used a digital one and it was pretty accurate. But now I just use my built in one with my NR360 incubator.

Have the temperatures changed? For quail is it 99.5 F as well?
YEah, I have an nr360 that I'm running my first hatch in right now. I'm just trying to decide if I want to use this as a backup, or on alternating weeks...

Right now, I'm trying to expand my flock, and it was going slow as I started with only 4 quail.

Now, I have 20. But as it's winter, I keep being able to only hatch like 10-12 eggs at a time.

In the long run, I'll sell my little, cheap incubator and just use ones with hygrometers built in. The cheap one paid for itself, as I've hatched 16 viable quail in it so far, and Celadon quail chicks cost $13 plus $45 for shipping where I live. >.<
 

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