First hatch, a million questions

Joplus

Songster
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
516
36
136
Ok so I put them in my incubator April 6. I have 1 dozen Rhode island reds, 1 dozen Copper Marans, 1 dozen Buff orphingtons, I got locally from to breeders. I have a farm innovators incubator with no fan or turner (finances are tight plus I'm not working so I have time to watch this thing like a hawk). Well its actually not as bad as some said, the temp fluctuates between 99.5 and 101.5 and humidity a pretty steady 40%. So I read others have it set at a lower humidity, I thought it was supposed to be 40% til the last 3 days, why do some people keep it like 25%. Also I can't candle the dark eggs, if they are bad will they really explode? Also I'm in AZ so its dry and all the wells are filled to get to 40%. How will I get it to 65%? I'm sure I have more questions...
 

tonkatoy

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 13, 2014
14
2
26
I heard from a local breeder here in AZ that he goes to the hardward store and buys those paint brushes with the sponge on the end and puts several of them in water to keep the humidity high. makes sense to me...It'll only get more challenging as the summer progresses. I plan on trying to incubate and hatch next year after I build my incubator out of an old refrigerator. Good luck with this.
 

A roo or two

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 16, 2013
268
4
88
Florida
Ok so I put them in my incubator April 6. I have 1 dozen Rhode island reds, 1 dozen Copper Marans, 1 dozen Buff orphingtons, I got locally from to breeders. I have a farm innovators incubator with no fan or turner (finances are tight plus I'm not working so I have time to watch this thing like a hawk). Well its actually not as bad as some said, the temp fluctuates between 99.5 and 101.5 and humidity a pretty steady 40%. So I read others have it set at a lower humidity, I thought it was supposed to be 40% til the last 3 days, why do some people keep it like 25%. Also I can't candle the dark eggs, if they are bad will they really explode? Also I'm in AZ so its dry and all the wells are filled to get to 40%. How will I get it to 65%? I'm sure I have more questions...
It's called dry hatching. Everyone has their own thoughts on what works best. I dry hatch. I keep my humidity as close to 30% as possible. I am on my third hatch now. 60% hatch rate the first time, 69% the second. Hopefully I will go up even more this time. Then the last three days I bump it between 55-65%.

If your light is bright enough I think you should see something. I have blue eggs and green eggs and I can see in both of them. Even if it is just the rim of the air cell to see veins. IDK about the exploding part as I remove all egg as I see necessary.

I use a regular house sponge to raise the humidity.
 
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Joplus

Songster
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
516
36
136
So I've seen a rag put in the wells too or like the paintbrush in the well but what about the screen? how do I get to the wells with the eggs on top of the screen?
 

Joplus

Songster
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
516
36
136
Ok getting close now. I'm getting so nervous. I need exact directions. Please someone help me. I read everything I could and there's still some differences I'm seeing. Ok I candled my eggs as best I could. 34 look good. Today is 15 if I count day 1, I put them in April 6 late afternoon. I should bring the humidity up to 65% beginning of day 18 or at the end? Then I CAN'T open after that? What about the hatched ones will they cause problems? Also I've had it at 40% humidity the whole time (one dip to 25% yesterday) but my air cells aren't very big.
 

A roo or two

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 16, 2013
268
4
88
Florida
Ok getting close now. I'm getting so nervous. I need exact directions. Please someone help me. I read everything I could and there's still some differences I'm seeing. Ok I candled my eggs as best I could. 34 look good. Today is 15 if I count day 1, I put them in April 6 late afternoon. I should bring the humidity up to 65% beginning of day 18 or at the end? Then I CAN'T open after that? What about the hatched ones will they cause problems? Also I've had it at 40% humidity the whole time (one dip to 25% yesterday) but my air cells aren't very big.
They will be due to hatch around the 27th if you set them on the 6th. If you set them late in the day then on the 18th you can raise the humidity. It doesn't matter to be exact on the time of day. I like to do mine into the 18th day or even the 19th day once I hear a cheep that someone has pipped. I use a tube that I run through my vent hole on the top down through the mesh and into the well. Then I just fill it by syringe as needed. Anywhere between 55-65% is good, it will shoot WAY up once someone pips, I have had it hit 90%. So I put mine near 55% at lock down.

I recommend NOT opening it if you can help it. Everyone says you can as long as there are no external pips but last time I opened mine to remove chicks when there were no external pips (as they seem to bowl the eggs around) and I had 11 chicks shrink wrap and die :( Ended up with 27 happy babies but still broke my heart knowing I caused it by opening the bator.

I keep my humidity near 30% during the first 18 days as I said above, I wouldn't think 40% would be too high but IDK. In the last couple days, even during lock down air cells still continue to increase in size.
 
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midget_farms

Songster
11 Years
Apr 15, 2008
1,359
10
171
Dunlap Illinois
Getting good advice here -

Couple things you need to know -

1) never (almost) help a chick hatch - it will make it out or it wont - but if you help it can cause more problems than you want.
For example - the chick gets its oxygen through the umbilicle attached to the membrane - the pip is the trigger for the blood supply to start shutting down as the chick is now breathing air. If you help the chick hatch - it may bleed to death if the blood supply has not fully shut off. Bad news.
Another example - the chick inside the egg must be able to slip & slide against the membrane to twist and turn in order to unzip the shell - if you open the incubator the slick inside of the egg turns sticky & the chick can't open the egg - this is called shrink wrapping. As mentioned before this can happen to pipped & unpipped eggs - if you MUST open the incubator make it very quick & do something to bring the humidity way up - spritz the eggs with a little hot water, or add a sponge or something - but really - it's best to just leave them be.

2) Chicks can survive 2 or 3 days in the incubator without food or water - the yolk is there for that - this is how they survive being shipped. It is OK to leave them in the incubator while you wait for them all to hatch.

3) You want humidity relatively low (30 to 40%) so enough water evaporates out of the egg to have a good sized air cell - the chick will pop its head into this cell to breath as it starts the hatching process - too much humidity during the hatch means too much water in the egg - means a fully developed chick will drown right when it wants to hatch - not cool. So you want the humidity low.

During lock down you want the humidity high so the membrane stays good & slippery - if it gets even a little dry it goes sticky & as described before - they dont hatch. In your climate you need to do whatever you can to keep humidity up during the hatch. I have gone so far as to add steamy hot water to the wells to get the H up.

4) Not all chicks hatch & not all chicks make it - "never count your chickens before they hatch" ever here that one? Because they just dont all hatch, for any number of reasons - my rule of thumb is count on 50% - then I am pleased when I get more vs. disappointed when they dont all make it.

Of those that make it - some will die - I tell my kids "baby chicks are like light bulbs - sometimes they just burn out" - a weak chick will not survive for long - its just the way it is - so be prepared to lose a couple.

Finally -Just relax & enjoy! this is the fun part of hatching! Understand that chickens have been hatching for thousands of years - they know what to do - just sit back & watch!
 

Joplus

Songster
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
516
36
136
Omg ok thanks everyone. I just sent my husband out to return the PETCO reptile thermometer, it has been reading 102.6 and the other is at like 100.0, I think it broke. I can't believe its that hot. I will try the one I replace it with. I have been aiming for 100.5-101.5 since its a still air. Then at hatch do I drop the temp? To what temp? Thanks again.
 

WalnutHill

Crowing
5 Years
Mar 16, 2014
7,000
2,235
346
SE Michigan
I drop hatching temp by a degree, and it works well for me. But if you leave it at incubation temp you may be okay too.

Use a fever thermometer to check the accuracy of your other thermometers. Those are calibrated. But remember they are not instant read so give them time to come up to temp.
 

Joplus

Songster
5 Years
Apr 15, 2014
516
36
136
Ok I calibrated that thermometer with our fever thermometer before and it was the same then redid it yesterday, read 1° higher. Then today really looking hot by that like almost reaching 103° at times. Then returned it and the new one quickly shot up to 103.1, this is with the probe resting on top of the eggs, so I turned down the temp. Do they put off heat like right before they hatch? My temp has been perfect and relatively stable for 17 days, I never even had to mess with the thermostat. Will the temps between 102-103 for the past couple days killed them?
 

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