First time hatching advice

oliverj102

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 14, 2014
58
21
89
Hello.

I'm about to start attempting to hatch some eggs and would love some advice so I don't kill the poor things.

I'm hatching 2 sets of eggs. The first 12 are buff orpington eggs from a breeder. The second 10 are eggs from my white speckle/ orpington chickens running round.

I've bo8ght myself the best incubator I could afford with humidity and temp sensors as well as egg turning.

I ran it for 2 days to check it wouldn't explode. I've now cleaned it with antibacterial spray that turns to water as it dries so the inside could be eaten off!

My bought eggs should arrive today, hopefully intact. I've got my own eggs ina cool dark room out the way, turning them each day so they don't settle. Each one was washed under warm water for 20 seconds or so until glistening before being set down.

I've got the incubator on now warming up and stabilising.

Temp is currently at 38.1
Humidity at 71

The temp is set to 38 degrees at 50 humidity but I can't lower the humidity for some reason. Tho sonce it's done through venting it's most likely very slow to adjust.

I removed all the water to get a baseline before adding eggs. But I've read dry hatching can be better, since chickens don't go swimming they can't exactly water their eggs.

Am I set to go and how should I proceed?

I plan to separate the eggs with space inside as I'll have 22 eggs and 48 spaced.

Kids and I are really excited for getting new chickens from eggs so any help would be amazing!
 

Fishkeeper

Crowing
Oct 30, 2017
2,345
4,915
286
Central Texas
You definitely shouldn't ignore water because chickens don't bring water to their nest. Living animals naturally release water from their breathing and from their bodies in general, so the humidity under a chicken isn't the same as the air around it. Plus, eggs being sat on will lose water slower than eggs in open air just by virtue of having less of the shell exposed. There's a reason people hatch eggs at specific humidities.
 

rascal66

Songster
Sep 10, 2015
387
522
207
Washington
Mind me asking what incubator you have? It sounds like everything else you've done is pretty safe and good.

I have been trying to keep my humidity between 40 - 50. Nothing more and nothing too less. My sweet spot is 43-45.

I ask which incubator you have in case maybe we can assist with helping you how to program the humidity and offer another advice on it.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,012
2,738
406
NEK, VT
Depending on your climate you may be able to "dry" incubate. I run close to 30% RH for incubation. If we are still heating then it takes a double shot glass or tumbler of water sitting in the incubator. If we are not heating and wet spring then a single shot glass or nothing.

Those troughs on bottom of incubator are only used for hatching. Getting the RH up yo 70%. You achieved that so know how many to fill when the time comes. For incubation there isn't a trough small enough in mine. I have to take a turner rail out and place my own container of water in to achieve my desired humidity. 30-35% RH is what I like first 18 days.
 

oliverj102

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 14, 2014
58
21
89
I was only asking about the dry incubation as I've found a lot swearing by it.

https://uk.redbrain.shop/search?q=Fully+Automatic+48+Digital&gclid=CjwKCAjw-ZvlBRBbEiwANw9UWnnAgosZu6eLRELamx0jftyaEWjBVrLJwgU9l7eIwHaKvduI3hr60xoC4fYQAvD_BwE

This link is to the model of incubator I have. The humidity is confusing tho. It's got no water in it yet always 68 humidity. It's set to 50 yet won't drop unless I open the lid.. which upsets the temperature!

My eggs are due in a few hours and I'm not even sure this is safe to load yet..
 

Attachments

Nov 5, 2018
744
1,414
237
Birmingham UK
I would HIGHLY recommend getting a separate thermometer at least, one that can be calibrated . A separate hygrometer wouldn't hurt either.
All thermometers have a tendency to be inaccurate including the ones built into incubators unfortunately. You would think that for the price of a decent incubator they would be accurate, but never presume.
I have three separate thermometers for incubating: two small ones that I keep inside the bator, and a third water submersible food thermometer that I have tested with boiling water. I then test the other smaller thermometers and the incubator thermometer against the food thermometer that I know is accurate. And surprise surprise all 4 thermometers read different temps. However, by keeping a record of how many degree points each one is from the 'true' temperature, I am able to run my bator as accurate as possible. It's a bit of an effort, but i have had great results with my incubator.
 

oliverj102

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 14, 2014
58
21
89
I've only got my sugar thermometer handy.. I've just disinfected it and will stick it in to see how accurate it is.

I've seen videos of people disinfecting the eggs with spray too, but a chicken doesn't have access to that so it seems weird. These are my 10 personal eggs, that seems to be their natural colour for some reason!

I've cleaned them so the shells are smooth so they should be cleaner then ones in a nest!

I'll insert the thermometer and see how it is.. the hunidity is gonna be harder as even ordering now will be a week... you would think if it has one with it they would give a reliability score!

I've added no water and it's been running 5 hours.. still high humidity... tho it is winter and very wet outside so maybe it is that moist in there...
 

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Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,012
2,738
406
NEK, VT
The word "dry" is used but you really are not running without water. "Drier" is a more apt word. Under 20% RH will result in poor hatch rate. In most climates running an incubator dry will result in that low RH. Think of the term "dry incubation" as relative, it's drier than most people and literature states but not bone dry.

If you read the actual RH from those that post in "dry" incubation threads, and if they use a calibrated hygrometer, you'll see it's typically around 30% RH target. This is where I have best results.

Calibrating a hygrometer is easy. In a closed environment wet salt is 75% RH for a long temperature range. Put sodium chloride (table salt) in a milk cap or similar container. Add drops of water until saturated- a paste. Put hygrometer and cap in a sealed container. I use a zip lock bag. Leave on counter for minimum 4 hours, when RH stabilizes it will be exactly 75% RH. However much your hygrometer reads off is the calibration. Always add or subtract that difference for true RH readings.

You'll be pulling your hair out attempting to run many thermometers. Just don't do it. Not only does every thermometer read different your incubator will have warm and cold spots. Use a medical thermometer to calibrate what you have. They are dead on accurate. Know that your incubator has a high and low swing of temp as the heat element turns on and off. You want to run the average of the high and low right at 99.5 F or 37.5 C.
 

GotCoop

Songster
7 Years
Jan 10, 2013
235
580
202
Baker, Fl
When I hatch less than a full load, I bunch them together rather than spread them out. My rationale: The eggs will experience similar temp conditions and hopefully hatch together.. I don't have any proof of that...but just the way I like to do it.
 
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