1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Getting ready to start.

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tmarr, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. tmarr

    tmarr Chillin' With My Peeps

    292
    17
    73
    Jul 15, 2015

    Thanks! I'll get a pic up as soon as I can! Taking 12yr olds ice skating Agh lol! Do the more expensive brands brinsea etc have humidity readings? It's staying pretty stable now at 37.5 but I can't put anything in until I get the thermometers etc.
     
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,679
    520
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I don't recommend many hygrometers and thermometers. It will drive you crazy sorting it all out. Lazy Gardener gave great advise to calibrate your equipment. Once calibrated it's accurate and then no need for more devices that will need different calibration numbers. Keep it simple.

    If your unit has a thermometer assume it it way out in reading. You'd need to calibrate it to a trusted thermometer. Have faith in the medical thermometer in your bathroom. This is what you'd use to calibrate temp in lieu of hundred dollar laboratory calibration thermometers so have faith in it. Use it to find how much you need to adjust the incubator thermometer. Write the calibration down on tape and stick it right on the incubator. Get the medical to read 99.5F at top level of eggs (101.5F if a still air incubator) then subtract the incubator reading from 99.5 (or 101.5) for calibration number. ex. incubator reads 104.0; 99.5-104.0= -4.5. Write that on tape and stick to incubator as reminder to always subtract 4.5 from incubator temp for true temp (at top of eggs).

    You can look up "salt test" here or anywhere online. Best resource is online cigar humidor site. It's simple and accurate. I'll list how I do one every spring prior to hatching season. My temp/hygrometer is a inexpensive small humidor model about 1.5 inches in diameter. It doesn't matter what you use as long as it works well and fits where you want it.

    Pour salt in a milk or juice cap, add drops of water until saturated. I pour off standing water.

    Put hygrometer and salt cap into sealed container. Sandwich or quart zip seal bags work well, I provide small pillow of air.

    After minimum of 4 hours (humidity reading is stable) take the RH reading and subtract it from 75 for calibration number.

    Ex. Your reading is 82%; 75-82= -7. Write that calibration on tape to stick to incubator as reminder to always subtract 7 from reading for true %RH.


    If calibrated even inexpensive equipment is reliable. No need to purchase many units all reading different, just calibrate one and stick with it.

    I highly recommend a low humidity incubation. I achieve the RH I want with either a double shot glass or small coffee cup sitting right in the incubator. I like 35%, you can decide what you'll use but know that the bottom of incubator trays will jump humidity to 60-80%. That's far too high to incubate at. The last three days called hatching (starting day 18) is when humidity is raised. I like it 70%+ but not too high it condensates all over the viewing glass, that's too high and a pain to see through.

    Good luck, It's not as hard as all that writing makes it sound. Even chickens dare to hatch.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  3. tmarr

    tmarr Chillin' With My Peeps

    292
    17
    73
    Jul 15, 2015

    Brilliant ideas thanks! I don't like the idea of pouring water into the bottom bit, I think I'll try a shot glass (may need to substitute it with tequila lol!). Is 35% enough for Pekin eggs?
     
  4. tmarr

    tmarr Chillin' With My Peeps

    292
    17
    73
    Jul 15, 2015
    Guys has anyone a rough idea how much it costs to run the incubator per hatch? My partners having a freak about how much it will be to run lol! It's only a 20W! Also is there a brand that doesn't make a noise!!!!! :)
     
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,679
    520
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    [​IMG]
    I've never hatched anything other than chicken eggs. But the only difference is the added time to pace and wonder if they'll ever move, pip or zip. The trick to getting your humidity right is by weight of how much moisture is lost in the egg. There are actually people that weigh the eggs prior to incubating and then monitor weight loss through hatch. That's a bit of work and much easier to simply candle the eggs on specific days to visually see the air sac growing in the egg. It grows by the amount of moisture lost. With a duck egg I'd wait until day 10 and candle some eggs. Get an idea of overall/average size of air cell. If it's close to the diagram then your humidity is good. If not then lower humidity would speed up the air cell growth and higher humidity slow it. Keep in mind the diagram is not exacting nor do your air cells need to me as large as the diagram shows for start of hatching (this is the time you raise humidity to 70-75%). It is important to understand what the humidity is all about- growing the air cell so the chick has a place to internally pip into. In doing so there is a multitude of things that go right, one being the absorption of yolk sac prior to hatching. So without saying all the things that can go wrong or what happens if too low or too high in humidity it's simple to say try 35% RH for 10 days and candle a few eggs to see for yourself. If they look close enough candle again at day 18 or 21. This still gives you plenty of time for any minor tweaking. I doubt you'll need it with 35% but the good news is you can monitor it yourself and have plenty of time to correct. Just don't get yourself in the trap of constant fiddle and candling. Take it easy and stay relaxed. Going in knowing what to expect will aid your piece of mind a lot. Few candle, only adjust if things are actually wrong and wait for them to take effect. Relax.
     
  6. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,679
    520
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Is that 20W with the turner and fan or only the heating element?

    Regardless, here is the math to calculate cost. 24 hours in a day, X watts used per hour, 21 days for chicken or 28? for ducks, cost of your electic per KW (mine is near 15 cents).

    (X (24) (21 or 28)) / 1000 (0.15 or your KW cost)= dollar amount and cents cost

    If 20 watt and 21 days and 0.15 cost of killowatt is used it amounts to $1.51, I don't really believe your only using 20W an hour. Say it's a 40W table top size heater and 15W fan and another 15w for a turner =70W but lets just round it up to 100W to show how little it costs to hatch duck eggs in 28 days.

    100w per hour for 28 days and 15 cents a killowatt cost= $10.08 total
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2015
  7. JetCat

    JetCat Chillin' With My Peeps

    806
    51
    106
    Oct 26, 2015
    Southeast Alabama
    it varies depending on room temp and a few other odds and ends. i've got one of those meters that you plug your appliances into and it keeps track. a Hova-bator 1602n w/ the 1611 turner and a fan used 4.32 KWh. i also have a GQF 1502 with the digital thermostat (uses more electricity then the wafer thermostat) and it uses 59.8 KWh.

    both running roughly 25 days per cycle.

    @Egghead_Jr the Hova-bator 1602n is in fact 20w with heating element ON so the average is well below that as it doesn't run at a 100% duty cycle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,679
    520
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    OK, thought my Hova was 40w heater but it doesn't really matter as we've shown it's not a lot of money to run for a month. It's the bulb in the brooder that can add up. I use a 125W for a livestock water trough brooder. $12.60 to brood chicks to 4 weeks, add on 20W heater cycling on and off, fan and auto turner for incubator it's probably right about $15 to hatch and raise up a batch of chicks ready for outside.

    You really do get a lot for electricity, convenience of a switch and cheap, 15 cents a KW is a high price in New England (12.5 cents is my actual cost). The expense is not the electricity it's the fees some local municipalities tack on for cost of reading the meter I suppose. The power companies cost is all inclusive with service to boot. It seems the only thing left to create is creative ways for governments to tax us.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015
  9. tmarr

    tmarr Chillin' With My Peeps

    292
    17
    73
    Jul 15, 2015

    Brilliant thanks! I must get a meter to keep track! :)
     
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    5,679
    520
    326
    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You know that Jetcat's GFQ is the size of a refrigerator right? That's why it uses as much power as his hot water heater. I'd think the expense of rigging up a meter to prove to your partner how inexpensive incubating is would be self defeating. But I agree it's the little competitive things that can spice of a relationship.


    The 20w cost of $1.51 is the maximum cost. If that heater was on and stayed on 24 hours a day for 21 days. Being that it shuts off and on to control heat actual cost will be much less. As Jetcat said it varies due to how cold the room it's in etc.

    A side note on saving energy- Those $25 thermal blankets (insulation not mylar) wrapped around a water heater will return almost $30 a month savings.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2015

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by