Complete Incubating Newbie: Please Help!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Beanzie, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Beanzie

    Beanzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2014
    I've read the long threads here very detailed about incubating and specific incubators and have tried to comprehend it. I've tried writing lists and narrowing it down but I still am having issues getting the big picture. So what I beg of this community is just a brief description how I should set it up. Perhaps a play-by-play of what I should start with. I have a Farm Innovators incubator from Fleet Farm with the egg turner.

    How much water do I put in the basin, and how often to I add more to keep humidity stable?

    How long should I let it run before putting eggs in?

    Can I ensure an egg is fertilized before putting it in? How do I candle an egg? (Moreso what should I be seeing.)

    Will the temperature self-regulate or what can I do to keep it consistent?

    As far as location goes: Is my bathroom alright? Will showering effect the humidity? I have a window there but blinds are always drawn, and it is draft-free for the most part. Yay/Nay?

    How is hatching bantam eggs different from large fowl?

    And any other simplified help you could provide me would be greatly appreciated. I do not know why I just cannot fathom figuring it out for myself. [​IMG] Prayers that it works out for me. I would like some of my eggs to hatch. I won't have any eggs available to me until it warms up as thus far my eggs freeze solid by the time I find them. Lol. Thank you all for the help. [​IMG]
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    I’m not familiar with that specific incubator but the way I understand it, you have a forced air incubator. Some things are standard.

    Read the instruction sheet that came with it. Do what they say.

    Set it up the way the instructions tell you to. I don’t know how many water reservoirs it has, but run it a while. Get the temperature and humidity stabilized. Then try adding water to different reservoirs and let it stabilize. Record your reading so you can compare. My humidity reading scan vary more than 15% with the same reservoirs filled, depending on background humidity and the temperature of the air going into the incubator. Play with it some so you get an idea of how it reacts.

    Do not trust the instruments that come with it. They can be off. Calibrate a thermometer and a hygrometer so you know what temperatures and humidities you are actually getting.

    Rebel’s Thermometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/ThermometerCalibration.html

    Rebel’s Hygrometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/HygrometerCalibration.html

    Each incubator is different, even the same make and model. If you move it from one side of the room to another, conditions will change. You need to play with it and get used to it. The good news is that you have a fairly wide window of opportunity for success. You don’t have to be extremely precise, but just do the best you reasonably can and you have a great chance for success.

    Now, your specific questions.

    How much water do I put in the basin, and how often to I add more to keep humidity stable?

    As I said, play with it to determine what works for you.

    How long should I let it run before putting eggs in?

    Until it has stabilized so you know you don’t have to tweak the temperature.

    Can I ensure an egg is fertilized before putting it in?

    You cannot. What you can do is open some eggs and look for the bull’s eye. If most of the eggs you open have the bull’s eye, most of the ones you don’t open should.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008&p=6

    How do I candle an egg? (Moreso what should I be seeing.)

    Look in the Learning Center above.

    Will the temperature self-regulate or what can I do to keep it consistent?

    If the thermostat is OK, it should be pretty steady. Some of that depends on where you set it up. Put it somewhere the temperature is stable. Avoid putting it in direct sunlight or in a draft. Especially avoid heating and cooling vents. Keep it away from doors that open to the outside.

    As far as location goes: Is my bathroom alright? Will showering effect the humidity? I have a window there but blinds are always drawn, and it is draft-free for the most part. Yay/Nay?

    Instantaneous temperature and humidity are not that important as long as you don’t get it hot enough to cook it. What counts is average incubating temperature and average humidity. When you take a shower, the temperature and humidity will rise. Will that be enough to cause a problem? Probably not. But what it does is add uncertainty and inconsistency. What I suggest is that you try to put it somewhere stable and be as consistent as you can with both temperature and humidity. Humidity can be a bit tricky with changing weather conditions, but do the best you can without obsessing over it. Keep track of what happens. Then analyze the results of your incubation and see what you think you might need to tweak. If you are fairly consistent, you should have a better idea of what to te3ak than if you are inconsistent. The same humidities don’t always work for all of us. There are different reasons for that, but the humidities that work fine for me may not work for you at all. There is some trial and error involved. The good news about that is that there is a fairly wide window of opportunity that does work so you don’t have to hit it squarely. Close is usually pretty good. I don't know what other options you have but a bathroom where you are taking showers would not be my first choice.


    How is hatching bantam eggs different from large fowl?


    They are not different, as long as they fit in the turner.
     
  3. Beanzie

    Beanzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2014
    Thank you very much, that was quite helpful. I have been messing with my incubator for a while, running it and getting a feel for it. I read the directions and it actually called for a meat thermometer, which is something I have so I pulled it out to test it. From what it seems the thermometer in my incubator is fairly accurate. I have got it to stay at 99/100 degrees for most of today when I was running it.

    The factory thermometer and my meat thermometer comparison. First line on the meat thermometer is 100 degrees. If it is off it is only by a few degrees, but I will likely use my meat thermometer as a reference.
    [​IMG]

    The one thing I haven't gotten much of a feel for is the humidity. Left alone it was at 40%, and when I added the water it went up to 50% but no higher. Will it take a good while for the water to evaporate? I put green food coloring in the water so I would be able to see it from beneath the egg turner. I filled the trays about 1/2 to 1/4 full, and let them be. I am actually fairly interested in the dry hatch method, but I am not sure how low I can get the humidity.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I am working on getting some hatching eggs to try out. I certainly will not be able to start this endeavor until after this coming weekend. I tried having both the egg turner and heater plugged in my bathroom outlet and ended up tripping the breaker. [​IMG] Really not a huge ordeal, got it back on and I am pondering places to put it. I might just run an extension cord to a different part of the house out of sheer lack of motivation to find another place. I was also thinking one of my clients has Wyandottes like crazy, although her eggs might be freezing like mine. But it may be worth a shot to see.
     

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