Check the Accuracy of Your Instruments for Incubation

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by speckledhen, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    For all those new to incubation, I wanted to tell you that the thermometers that come with bators are notoriously inaccurate. They can read as much as 2 degrees off sometimes, completely destroying your eggs. If you just rely on that one and dont check it against another and even a third one, you may be in for a big disappointment come candling day or hatch day. Temps are much more important than humidity. Humidity can vary quite a bit, but not those temps.
    You can calibrate a hygrometer, too, by placing a cup of 1/4 c. salt in 1/2 c of water inside a plastic ziplock bag with your hygrometer. After at least 8 hours, it should read 75%. If it says, say 80%, you know that it is reading 5% too high and can make the adjustments in your readings.
  2. ncgnance

    ncgnance Songster

    Aug 22, 2007
    Iredell County, NC
    Good info, Speckledhen. I bought a digital hygrometer/thermometer from a cigar store. Can I use your method to check it for accuracy? The water and salt won't hurt it?
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Sure, you can do it, but you don't want to get it wet. I did it with my digital one from WalMart and my digital from Home Depot. The ziplock just has to be large enought to sit the cup of salt water inside then the hygrometer and seal it shut. Put it where no one can knock it over. It works just fine.
  4. ncgnance

    ncgnance Songster

    Aug 22, 2007
    Iredell County, NC
    I just thought of the other question I wanted to ask (come on brain, catch up). When you use more than one thermometer, how do know what's right? Do you average it or what? This gets very close to Math, which I am not real good at.LOL
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Sometimes, it's just hard to know. If you have two and they are close to each other and the third one is way off, you probably should go with one of those two. The best way is to buy a thermometer that is known for accuracy and spend the extra money. There are digital incubator thermometers sold by Cutler Supply and others that are supposed to be accurate to a 1/10 of a degree.
  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:Or a 1/4 cup water to a 1/2 cup salt. The articles I've read on this say that you want a wet salt slurry. It takes a saturated solution, but even as you had written, a quarter cup salt will not dissolve in a half cup water so it's still a saturated solution...
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    My favorite way to measure temperature in incubators is with a medical thermometer or lab equipments because they need to be certified for use due to the safety of human health. They have to be accurate unlike the walmart specials. I've often found digital junks made in china highly ill reliable too because of cost cutting.
  8. KKluckers

    KKluckers Time Out

    Sep 4, 2007
    Where would be a good place to buy a thermometer? Online that is.
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Here is one place that has them at all price points, about 13 different ones.
    mac, sorry, I if wrote that backwards. I also read that just putting a pile of salt and wetting it in a bowl, not a certain measurement does the same thing. Anyway, good thing it's so easy to calibrate them.
  10. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    I tested the 3 thermometers I have against the dairy thermometer we use for cheese making. It's supposed to be carefully calibrated so our cheese doesn't poison us. So, hopefully it will also allow a successful hatch this weekend. :)

    I wonder, could you do the same with a candy thermometer? They need to be accurate so your candy gets to the right heat stage? But maybe not accurate enough for incubating.


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