Help!!! 1st time using an Incubator

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by SkeeredChicken, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. SkeeredChicken

    SkeeredChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Orlando, Florida
    Gotta say I'm nervous for the babies [​IMG] I think my humidity may be too low, because the air cell looks like it's irregularly shaped when I candle my eggs. They're going into their 11th day in the incubator. Either that, or I'm just a naturally skeered person (could certainly be). But either way, I want my chickies to come through it alright.

    I think the air cell looks more like it's in it's 18th day. It's my 1st time using an incubator, so sorry for the fuss!

    Here is the view of the air cell I marked off with pencil of where I thought the air cell might be:
    [​IMG]

    1st photo of the egg being candled:
    [​IMG]

    And 2nd photo of the egg being candled:
    [​IMG]

    I took these pictures with my cell phone, so they're slightly low grade. And the more I think of it, the more I think about adding more water to the incubator.

    Thanks for any help....
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  2. Oh my, that air cell does look big for Day 11.
    I don't usually candle until Day 14 and the air cells aren't that big. I agree, they look more like Day 18.

    What are you using to measure humidity? I like to keep humidity around 45% for the first 18 days and 65% for Day 19, 20, and 21.

    What flavor incubator are you using?
    In my Little Giant, keeping the middle troughs filled is enough to keep the humidity *right* during the first 18 days.
    Good luck!
    Lisa
     
  3. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    Are your eggs ones that were shipped? I have had irregular shaped air cells with shipped eggs and the still hatch. I agree the air cell does look large for day 11. It is very dry at this time of year here where I live and I have to be much more carefull about adding water. I follow the directions provided by the mfgr of the incubator. Mine is a Brower Top Hatch and It says 50% for the first 18 days and 70-75 % for the last three days. There are many who have HovaBators or Little Giant Styrofoam units that have found the dry incubation method to work for them but when you see air cell development such as yours that is the best indication of what is going on. I would add wet papertowels or a sponge to your incubator and try to get an accurate hygrometer. Walmart has some that are pretty good for around $ 9.00. I know that there are lots of thing to buy when starting out but I feel the Hygrometer is the most important tool you have. Temps can be off and you will still get a hatch, possibly late if it is to low or a little early if it is to hot but Humidity will affect your hatch. Good luck and keep us posted on how thing go for you.
     
  4. SkeeredChicken

    SkeeredChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Orlando, Florida
    My incubator is actually a home brewed one. I saw a ton of information on the net about making your own. I didn't find exactly what I wanted, so I settled for a 70 quart Coleman outdoor cooler that I modified. As for the hygrometer, don't actually have 1. I used a substitute one. I bought some hygrometer wicks and a food thermometer from the grocery store (man can I imagine the horror and gasping at this point! "You did what!?!?"). But I'm actually REALLY thinking about getting that $9 one from Wal-Mart, provided they have it.

    Here's a picture of what it looks like:

    [​IMG]

    I mounted duel fans on the top lid. I can prolly guess that 2 60 watt bulbs might be a bit excessive, as it climbs above 103 degrees F and levels off to 100 degrees after about a minute. At least that's what the digital thermometer claims. And 103 degrees?? Ouch, I know they can stand that momentarily (I think), but can't be in that high a heat for an extended amount of time.

    I added a wet paper towel to it before I went to work, and to my amazement, it's still wet. I'll candle them again friday and cross my fingers and hope the babies are okay. Hopefully they dont get too dry by then. Though when I candled last night, some of them seemed to have normal looking air cells. I did add a new pan to fill with water when they get ready to hatch. I think the last problem may be that I'm using warm well water, instead of distilled. Our water has sediment and high iron, which may be contributing to the low moisture.

    As for the question as to whether they were mail, order, yes. I ordered a dozen Buff Orpington eggs from Double R Discount Supply. They're fairly close to me, since I live in Florida.

    Thanx
     
  5. jimnjay

    jimnjay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    Your incubator looks good. You are right the bulbs could be over kill for the size of your unit. I have insturctions for an incubator and it required two 25 watt bulbs.

    I am not sure how you would convert your candy thermometer to a hygrometer, I have never seen or used a web bulb thermometer/hygrometrer but yours is probably doing the same thing. As far as the water goes. It is not the amount of water in depth but the surface area that increases the humidity. It allows a greater area for evaporation. The size of your pan seems good. Do you have a conversion table for the wet bulb temperatures?

    Another investment you may consider on your incubator is a dimmer switch. They have them at Lowes that plug into your outlet and then the lamp or in this case the lights would plug into the switch. It has a slide and it allows you to control the intensity of your light. I made an incubator/hatcher from a styrofoam ice chest. It is very thick and was used to ship frozen meat. I use one 25 watt bulb as it is smaller than your unit. The dimmer works great. It usually needs only about 1/2 of the maximum intensity to keep the unit at 100 degrees.

    I learned early on that one batch of shipped eggs that don't hatch will more than pay for a good hygrometer. Not to mention the dissapointment of a failed hatch. I also learned to keep good notes on your observations as you go along. That way you will know what works and what does not work for the next time.

    Good Luck and keep us posted on the outcome of your hatch.
     
  6. SkeeredChicken

    SkeeredChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2007
    Orlando, Florida
    I actually went to Walmart last night and bought a digital hygrometer. It said my humidity was in about the 60s. I candled the eggs again to check the air cell progression, and it's definately more defined. You can tell that's a large air cell. I wonder if it's the fact that I have duel fans running in it that makes the eggs lose water faster. Something to ponder there.
     

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