First time incubator...humidity question!!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Dispatch273, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. Dispatch273

    Dispatch273 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just got my hovabator 2362N a few days ago. Set it up with consistent temps of 99.5. We went to a local livestock auction and picked up 3 dozen mixed eggs and set them up in the incubator last night. The temp has stayed consistent but I'm having an issue with the humidity. It was at a solid 75% before we put the eggs in. Then it dropped to 35% so I waited just to be sure it wouldn't go back up and it didn't after about an hour. I added a little bit more water and it's now staying 66% is this ok? Also, when should I be candling the eggs? Thank you! My boys and I cannot wait for them to hatch(although I'm not sure any will...this is our first time!). Thank you for any advice you can send my way :)
     
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    75% and 66% humidity is too high for the first 18 days. 30-45% is the regular humidity for 1-18 days that most people use. I use the dry incubation method, which is basically not adding any water in the incubator (although you have to watch the air cell size and adjust your humidity accordingly, in the link I provided is a drawing with air cell sizes), the humidity usually stays around 20-30% for me. During lockdown I try keeping humidity at 65%. I've heard a lot of stories of failed hatches with dry incubation but it's mostly because of where they live. If you live smewhere dry, dry incubation is probably not the best idea, but if you happen to live in an area where it is too humid dry incubation would be best! The climate in New England is pretty neutral, so dry incubation works fine for me (I live in CT too). Here's a a very informative article on incubating eggs: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
    Hope is helps. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  3. Dispatch273

    Dispatch273 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much!!!!!! Very informative. I will get the water out of the incubator and go from there. Do you think my eggs will be ok after being exposed to this high level of humidity? I already lost one from the get-go due to a crack.
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Absolutely, remember these are human made guidelines not hard fast rules... Monitoring egg weight loss or gain and air cell development is a FAR better way to monitor humidity level over a gauge... Also humidity should be measured as an AVERAGE over the time incubation time period, short term temporary up and downs are irrelevant as long as the average is mostly consistent and air cell development and egg weight are good...

    I have said it before and I'll say it again, trust me there is no way a brooder bird can lower the temporary 100% humidity on a 90-95° rainy day, they don't even try or give it a second thought and neither should you...

    I do staggered hatches in my incubator all the time, I raise the humidity for 2-3 days each time a hatch is due, and then lower it back down and I have seen ZERO negative effect on the development of the not due eggs in the same incubator, my air cell development is 100% normal even with those temporary highs and lows...
     
  5. Dispatch273

    Dispatch273 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is great news! We're very anxious to see what these little eggs will hatch into. They were sold as a mix and the eggs are white, brown, green, blue and olive. Should be some cute little chicks :)
     
  6. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

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    High humidity is no lethal in the way that high temps are, it's more cumulative. You need a certain amount of water to evaporate through the shell to make room for the chick as it grows. Not enough evaporation (from the humidity being too high for too long) makes the chick to large and the air cell too small, the the chick does before hatching. The opposite (too low humidity) makes the chick small and maybe too weak to hatch. The only time the absolute humidity at a point in time is important is when they are hatching. Dry air can make the membranes tough and they can stick to the chick, leaving the chick stuck (this is often called "shrink wrapped"). I think the shrink wrapping is awful and I incubate with low humidity (20 -30), but jack up the humidity in the hatcher as high as possible, usually it is 80% or more until hatching starts, then it often goes to 95% or more. I also lower the temp a bit in the hatcher to compensate for the high humidity. I learned these tips from the Porter Heritage Turkey site and since turkeys are considered a bit harder to hatch than chickens, figured it might be optimal for chicks too. Since doing this, I have had no shrink wrapped chicks. Some still die in the shell, but I'm much happier with the overall hatch doing it this way.
     
  7. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps


    Humidity before the hatch is important as well. If the humidity is too high before hatching time, the embryo will drown and will not make it to lockdown or hatching. But in this case, since the eggs are on their first day the eggs should still be fine.
    The humidity range I gave was just a reference, everyone has a different humidity that works best for them. Just keep a close eye on the air cell size and adjust humidity accordingly. :)

    I also candle eggs on day 7, 14, and 18. I always wash my hand before handling the eggs, this prevents bacteria from contaminating your eggs and washes away some body oil ( if you handle eggs too often, sometimes the oil on your hands will cover the egg's pores, preventing the exchange of carbon dioxide, water, and oxygen).
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  8. Dispatch273

    Dispatch273 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for the very helpful information :) I removed the water from the incubator last night and the humidity has been holding steady at 26%. I cannot wait to candle them on day 7(Monday!!!!)
     
  9. Veer67

    Veer67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good luck! If you can, give us updates. :D
     
  10. Dispatch273

    Dispatch273 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll definitely be giving updates. This waiting until day 7 to candle things is killing me! I'm also going away this weekend to a fish convention(yeah....Im a fish nerd LOL!) so leaving turning the eggs to my hubby....this is causing me some anxiety but I'm sure my little eggs will be just fine! Monday is candle day!
     

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