What a year, I have my chickens all settled and growing up fast (10 weeks old), I built the coop 3 weeks later and a few hundred over budget, I built a nice coop for the Guineas with all the left overs and it cost nothing (Phew!!!), and I have a semi working incubator. I will be shutting the power down tomorrow so I can pull it apart. I need to see why my hatch rates are so unpredictable. My first hatch I had 6 eggs, the Guinea's were less than a year old and 4 were clear and 2 hatched. The Guineas came from a variety of colours but it seems the coral blue's were the only one that had a male, 3 colours, 2 from each and only the coral blues developed, the other 4 eggs were clear all the way through, I was playing with my homebuilt incubator and the temps varied wildly, the heating element failed and I had to remove the eggs to take away the heating element and fit a couple of bulbs to heat it, I had a dimmer switch that failed and I couldn't get the humidity right. Not expecting any to hatch I also pulled the incubator apart and make it with an external ducted fan system to keep the temps even. 2nd eight eggs came from the same group of birds, 4 developed and 4 were clear, NONE made it through to hatching, I was not brave enough to open them up to see but they were pretty much filling the egg on candling. The temps were 99.6 +_.3, the humidity on the flukers 50% and the zilla 30%. The Zilla also showed a temp 2 degrees higher, I had all the thermometers in different parts of the incubator and changed them around every 3 days to see if it was placement, but they always stayed consistent. 3rd eight from a different place, his Guineas run wild so they found 8 eggs and gave them to me, same temps,same humidity same method, 4 clears and 4 developed, 4 chicks. I'm onto something here, maybe it's the Guineas. 4th and final hatch. Same Guineas as 3rd batch, 4 clear and 4 developing, then disaster, 4 days early one pipped. 6 hours later saw it running about the incubator, strange colours but perfectly formed, worried I had turned the other eggs when they were trying to pip I stopped turning that day. Another had already pipped so I was a little concerned about drowning them. I plugged the vents and added the sponges and humidity went up as it should. Zilla at 102.2 and the Flukers at 99.6, Zilla at 45% and Flukers at 70%. The remaining eggs have stopped moving in the past 4 days, i candled one today and decided with a large glass of wine to open the shell up. At this point I should mention chick 2 arrived 3 days early (was the zilla right and the Flukers wrong all this time?). the embryo was formed, positioned correctly and looked intact as far as I could tell (also worth mentioning is chick 2 has 'funny' looking feet, still gets around but I will keep an eye on it) and normal feet. Thats as far as I could tell, no.4 is still in the bator as today was hatch day, if no movement by tomorrow I will shut it down and call it a day. I also have an aquarium thermometer that I have in a hollowed out egg filled with water, this supports the flukers down to .1 degree. However it was a $1.99 ebay special. Next year I will have another incubator incorporating all the modifications I made to this one. My egg supply will hopefully be my own so i can play with finding out what temp I should be aiming for. I think i would like to try with the correct setting on the zilla and ignore the other 2. Also chicken eggs will cut the research time down to 3 weeks instead of 4. Any one have any opinions? At present I have between 0-100% hatch rate, there must be something I can do to even the numbers up slightly. My information is limited but from what I can gather the temp is too high, the membranes are not dry and leathery, the chicks are wet on hatching and don't look like they need more humidity, but I could be wrong. Any advice gratefully received, even if it's buy a proper incubator.