Help on keeping humidity correct with hand made incubator please!!


8 Years
Jun 27, 2011
I set 22 eggs in the incubator on tuesday the 15th May and this is my first ever time of hatching eggs using an incubator. I have a few questions about the humidity of the incubator as it is hand made (bought from ebay) and the instructions i have received do not say anything about keeping the humidity right.

Firstly, should i keep a bowl of water in the incubator or is it ok for the eggs to be left alone with nothing until day 18?

Secondly, at day 18 the instructions say to dampen a sponge every 8 hours and place it in the incubator, Do i do this until they hatch or should i not interfere with the eggs at all from day 18 onwards?

I have candled a few of the eggs and i have noticed some veins and the eye forming so i really dont want to do anything wrong and would be grateful for any help.

Do you have a hygrometer? Adjusting humidity is relatively easy, add water to raise or take out water to lower. Keep in mind that it's the surface area of water that effects the humidity not over all volume. So it doesn't matter if you use shallow trays or not, personally I use shot glasses or tumblers depending on how much humidity I need to add. As a glass is not shallow you don't have to worry about constantly adding more water. Also I own a small humidifier so use it in room we're incubating in to keep room climate steady and 60% humidity. Note the high heat in incubator will have lower relative humidity.

The recommendation of using a sponge is because a sponge will have 5 sides exposed to give off a lot of humidity. Depending on your area climate (and if you have humidifier) you may not need to use a sponge or may need several. This is where owning a hygrometer is useful so purchase one at local cigar shop, wall mart or online. Check it's accuracy using a salt test- google salt test. Once you have one and know it's calibration/accuracy it's that nerve wracking time to decide what humidity your going to hatch at. I like 35-40% first 18 days and 60% last 3 days. As chicks start to hatch your humidity goes way up, some remove top for second to release water vapor to keep it down between 60-65%. The last days are called lock down as it's the time you shouldn't open incubator or turn/touch eggs anymore. So in case you didn't know I'll throw that out there too, turn your eggs twice a day first 18 days.

You can mark one side of each egg X and physically turn each one to keep track of your turning. I incubate in egg cartons pointy end of egg down. By propping one side up with block so eggs are tilted 40 degrees or so in one direction then turn carton around so they are tilted in other direction. Do this when you wake up and when you go to bed. Voila! Eggs are turned twice a day and embryo wont stick to shell. I've hatched in egg carton and taken eggs out to lay flat on day 18. I like them laid flat but it's all choice, both ways work.

Good luck and happy hatching.
Last edited:
Thankyou for all your helpful advice, I have only just noticed that on my thermometer it also has a hygrometer on! Great news! It is currently at 45% and suspect it has been like this ever since as nothing has changed since putting the eggs inside. Your help has made me feel so much more confident now and cant wait to begin hatching :)

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