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Dickey Hatcher questions

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by capayvalleychick, Apr 9, 2015.

  1. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 26, 2010
    Guinda CA
    I'm using a Dickey hatcher for the first time and need advice from people who are familiar with this hatcher.

    I'm having trouble getting the humidity to get to 65% and stay there. I have the bucket thing that sits on top of the hatcher and supplies water. Today is Day 18, so I need to put the eggs in it, tonight. I turned the hatcher on, yesterday morning. Room humidity has ranged from 50-59%. R Com incubator humidity has been stable at 45%.
    Here are the readings on the Dickey hatcher:

    April 8- 10 am- Temperature 98.4 Humidity 48%
    12:40- T 98.6 H 59%
    2:26- T 98.4 H 62%
    3:26- T 99.7 H 62%

    I tried adjusting the thermostat at this point.
    4:43 T 99.5 H 65%

    I thought it was stable, but when I got up this morning...
    April 9- 6:27- T 99.3 H 62%

    I opened the hatcher and put a small round dish of water in the bottom.
    7:47- T 99.3 H 58%
    8:26- T 99.5 H 62%

    Since the humidity yesterday stayed at 62% for most of the day, I'm not sure if it's going to change, even with the added container of water. Maybe I need a wider container of water in the bottom?
    Someone told me to add a wick. I'm not sure how I would do that? The water pan in the top is full.

    How is it going to affect the eggs, when I open the door and the temperature & humidity fluctuate? Is that going to "shrink wrap" the chicks?

    I'm used to the RCom incubator, where I just push a button to adjust temperature & humidity and the change is immediate. I fill the water from the outside easily and there's a level indicator. Very easy. Trying to get the temp & humidity stable in this hatcher is difficult & frustrating!

    Any experienced advice appreciated!
     
  2. Titanpaul726

    Titanpaul726 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Dickey as well. My method for raising the humidity to 65% is pretty simple. I place four dollar store sponges in the water tray. They float on the top of the tray. That's it. Without the sponges I stay around 52% When I add the sponges, it goes up to 62-68%. I was pleasantly surprised that it was that easy.

    I usually set a tray of eggs every other week, moving the older trays down one step. Because of this, I'm usually opening the incubator during hatches quite a bit. The temp and humidity go down some of course, but it always get's back to the right level fairly quickly. I've never had any issues with it causing me a problem in the hatch. I just finished a hatch yesterday. I ended up with two unhatched eggs. One wasn't fertilized. The other had a developed chick that just didn't hatch for some reason. I think it was 28 that hatched successfully. I think that's a 93% hatch rate. My first hatch was a 74% hatch rate. I placed the sponges in the tray on day 18 when I go into "lockdown". After that, the humidity usually stays around 62%.

    Haven't had any shrink wrapped chicks. The only issue I've had is a prolonged hatch. Usually 2-3 days. I'm going to try Amy's suggestion and start rotating the trays to see if that helps.

    My incubator has the electronic thermostat with the wafer back up. It never deviates more than .2 degrees, until I open the door. If I hold my face too close to the door when I open it, my glasses fog up from the humidity.

    Mine is the incubator with the tilting trays. If you have the hatcher, it may be a little different but I wouldn't think it would be much.
     
  3. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guinda CA
    Thanks. Any idea why the sponges make a difference?
     
  4. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another question... do you have large fowl chicks? Do they fit ok in the trays with the covers?
     
  5. Titanpaul726

    Titanpaul726 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL! I had the exact same question. Yep, large breeds (chickens) only. Honestly, I put the cover on the hatching tray with the last batch. Shortly before they started hatching, I "chickened" out and took it off! I think they will fit with no issues. But the space seems pretty small to me. On a side note: I've had two chicks fall out of the tray at the back. The first one was in there for at least 2 days before I found it. After that, I always check the bottom of the incubator.

    The sponges provide a larger surface area for the water to evaporate from. I think it also breaks up the surface tension, making evaporation easier. If you want to go over 65%, you might try wetting a large sponge and laying in the bottom (as well as the sponges in the tray).
     
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  6. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guinda CA
    The humidity ended up rising to 67%, right before I needed to put the eggs in. So, I removed the extra small water dish. I didn't have sponges, will get those when I go to town for next time.
    Opening the door dropped the temp to 91.6 and humidity to 51%. The temp went right back to 99.3 and doesn't change.
    After the eggs were in, the humidity seemed to stabilize at 65%. Then, when I looked this morning, it was down to 62%. Now, it's 63%.

    I hope this slight range doesn't matter too much. It's frustrating because I'm used to the RCom, which only varies 1% and is so easy to add water and adjust settings.
     
  7. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guinda CA
    Yet another newbie question... do you pull the trays all the way out of the hatcher to load the eggs? Or do you just pull the tray out a bit?
    I pulled the trays all the way out, so I could have the door closed while I sorted the eggs into the trays.
    The eggs rolled around a bit while I slid them back into the hatcher. I hope that didn't hurt them.
    Can you tell I'm a worrier? [​IMG]
     
  8. Titanpaul726

    Titanpaul726 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL!

    Ah, the rolling eggs!! It's so funny that we've had the exact same concerns!

    I pull the trays all the way out. I shut the door and load the trays. I carefully (to limit the rolling egg factor) place them back in. They bump around some but I'm 99.9% sure it causes no problem whatsoever.

    I'm also 99.9% sure the humidity levels fluctuating have a very, very limited impact. I was concerned about it as well but have found no issues whatsoever. Mine usually stabilizes within 30 minutes or so at 62 to 65%.

    When I started with the Dickey incubator I was a worrier too. Now I just follow the established plan and the eggs hatch. It makes incubating life so simple it almost feels like cheating. Especially compared to my old incubators.
     
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  9. capayvalleychick

    capayvalleychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guinda CA
    Your answers are such a relief to me. Thanks so much!

    First chick out this morning. YAY! Looks like there is enough head room with the lid on the hatching tray. We'll see if it's the same for the Delawares, which are much bigger eggs.

    I do feel bad for it, walking around on that hard wire floor. I have the door with the standard small window. I figured out that if I hold a flashlight against the bottom of the window, it illuminates the entire hatcher, so I can see what's going on in there.
     
  10. Titanpaul726

    Titanpaul726 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's great news. How'd the rest of the hatch go?
     

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