First time trying this


My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
I have a Hovabator still air with an automatic turner. This is an incubator that is being loaned to us through a school program. I have read through all the directions and read through several things on hatching here on BYC (the stickied ones at the top of the section). Just wondering if there are any tricks I should know. I have one thermometer to tell me temp, but nothing that will tell me humidity. I have seen a couple times on here, people talking about using those water wiggler things in their incubators. Is that in place of the water in the trough? Would that only be used in certain kinds of incubators? I am going to be setting up the incubator a little bit later today in preparation for eggs that should arrive on Monday or Tuesday. Thanks for any help!

Edited to add: I am still reading up in this section and I have seen a couple things I have questions about. How do you hatch them in an egg carton? Do they get out of the egg shell and carton on their own? Should I leave the wire on the bottom of the bator bare or cover it with non-stick stuff like I saw in one post? What are the pros and cons of those two things?
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I didn't have to buy one, I already have a weather station thingy, so I just calibrated it and stuck one of the sensors in there.

You can get them at Walmart for about $10 I think.
Ok, I have a hygrometer now (home depot). What about candling? Does that have to be done? What if I don't have a candling light? I feel very unsure about candling. If I do do it, do I take out one egg at a time and open and close the incubator with each egg?
I don't know for sure, I've only candled the eggs when I got them. (to look for cracks and know what an undeveloped egg looks like) I just used a small maglight. It works really well.

From what I've read here, candle at day 7 and you should start seeing veins.
You don't have to candle, but it can help you detect dead eggs and take them out before they go rotten. Rotten eggs can explode all over the incubator. Besides, candling is fun.

You don't need special equipment. I use a strong flashlight (the brighter the light, the better your results will be). I wait till after dark, because the darker the room the better the results. Then I take the eggs out one at a time, and cup my hand around the end of the flashlight to form a "seat" for the egg and to funnel all the light onto the egg. The first few times you do this, you will have a million questions because no matter how many pictures you look at online, they will never really look like what you will see. You'll post your questions here and we'll all set your mind at ease. The more you do it, the more you'll understand what you're seeing--and the more you'll learn about the whole process.

If you have a lot of eggs in the bator, you might want to take them out a dozen at a time or so and place them in an egg carton while you work, so you don't have to keep opening & shutting the incubator. Just be sure you work quickly (but carefully!) so you don't leave them out of the bator too long.

Good luck!
We just hatched 15 today.

I started with 19 eggs, tossed 3 infertile eggs on day 10 when I could tell they were not fertile. Only one of the remaining 16 did not hatch.

We kept humidity around 60 percent for the first 17 days and 80 percent from day 18 to 21 when the eggs are not turned. Turned eggs around 7:30AM, 5:30PM, and 11:30pm. Two thermometers, kept temperature between 99.5F to 101 -- temp was usually right at 100.

For humidity I didn't use hovabator parts. For day 1 to 17 shot glass filled daily with a sponge in it. Day 18 to 21 a pie pan under rack with sponge in addition to the shot glass.

We added an old computer fan run by an old phone power adapter to increase air circulation

To candle the eggs just take the top off and as long as it doesn't take too long 1/2 hour or less you should be fine. A hen will leave the nest once in a while too.

The eggs do the work we're just here to watch.
A water wiggler is a kids toy used to simulate the temp inside an egg. Interior temps do not change as quickly as air temp and a probe inside the water wiggler will help estimate the inside temp of that egg. You need water in the trough, a temp of 102 at the top of the eggs for a still air bator and a hygrometer (they're cheap) to tell you the humidity levels.
Thanks so much for the help everyone! I am feeling much more confident now and I hope that we will have a decent hatch

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