Help!

Jun 11, 2019
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So I am new to incubating and I have been told so many different things. my hatch date is on the 20th, so do I up the humidity today or tomorrow?? Also, I am using my schools incubator and one day I put some eggs in and added more the next day. Then I was told it wasn't a good idea so I bought a brinsea mini advance ll to move the first 4 eggs that I put in for lockdown and will leave the others in the school incubator. The incubator has been plugged in for a couple of days to make sure it's ready for the transfer, however, there is no humidity reading on the brinsea Mini advance ll !! I'm SO paranoid now. it says to just fill the cup on the outside higher than the fill line but I have no way to measure humidity. I'm so scared. any advice?
 

Farmer Connie

Gallus gallus domesticus
Feb 28, 2017
17,712
60,791
1,317
Florida Peninsula
My Coop
My Coop
my hatch date is on the 20th, so do I up the humidity today or tomorrow??
What is the current R/H?
Also, I am using my schools incubator and one day I put some eggs in and added more the next day.
Staggered settings do complicate, but not so much if only 2 back to back settings..
there is no humidity reading on the brinsea Mini advance
Leave all the eggs in the original bator
I have no way to measure humidity. I'm so scared. any advice?
Walmart & Lowes sell aux thermometers & Humidity meters for less that $20.
So if they hatch 2 days later I just leave the hatched chicks in there for 2 days?
I personally remove them as soon as they dry/ into a brooder with a THERMOMETER. The temp is adjusted by raising and lowering the lamp. 95-98*F is Ideal
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,259
23,456
907
Southeast Louisiana
First, relax. You should be in good shape. I'm going to go into detail on some of these things, not to scare you but to try to explain where some of the recommendations come from and what your options are.

my hatch date is on the 20th, so do I up the humidity today or tomorrow??

Some help on counting days. An egg does not have have a day's worth of development the instant you put it in the incubator. It takes 24 hours for an egg to have a day's worth of development. So when counting you say "one" 24 hours after you put the egg in. An easy way to check yourself is that the day of the week you started them is the day the 21 days are up. If they went into the incubator on a Tuesday, the 21 days are up on Tuesday, August 20. If you started them on Tuesday July 30, your lockdown date is Saturday, August 17.

Instead of saying hatch date I'm purposely saying "the 21 days are up". All eggs do not automatically hatch 21 days after they are started. Some can hatch a full 2 days early or late. It happens all the time. There are many different things that can cause an egg to hatch early or late. Heredity, humidity, how and how long the egg was stored, and just basic differences in the individual eggs can make a difference. Average incubating temperature is a big one. If the average incubating temperature is a bit warm they are often early. If it is cool they can be late. I regularly have hatches a full two days early, under broody hens as well as in my incubator. Since it happens under broody hens as well as in an incubator it's not because my incubator heat is set too high. I've calibrated it and it is set correctly. I think heredity plays a big part in mine often being early.

Some of my hatches, incubator or broody hen, are over within 24 hours of the first one hatching. Some of my hatches drag out for two full days, over 48 hours. They are not consistent so i don't like to say hatch date. The 21 days is a general target, more of a guideline than a law of nature. It is the other things rather than average incubating temperature that can cause the hatch to really stretch out.

Before a chick hatches it should absorb the yolk. It can live off of this yolk for three days or more. That's why they can be mailed, they don't have to eat or drink the first few days. What this means is that you do not have to remove a chick from the incubator until the third day after hatch. You can if you wish but you don't have to.

Shrink-wrapping a chick is why you are warned about opening the incubator during lockdown. Shrink-wrapping is when the membrane that surrounds the chick inside the egg dries out and collapses around the chick, holding it tight so it cannot move to hatch. This is the reason we typically increase the humidity 3 days before the 21 days. When a chick pips it opens a way for the membrane to dry out. Since they can hatch two full days early, if we increase the humidity three days early we have that covered. There is a reason for the 18 day lockdown.

There are some misconceptions about shrink-wrap. It is not that common an event, even if you open the incubator during lockdown and an egg has pipped. It depends on the humidity in the incubator when you open it, how long it is open, how dry the air is in the room, how much draft there is in the room, and how low or high the humidity was during incubation. If the humidity was low they are more susceptible to shrink-wrap. Many people open the incubator during lockdown and never have problems. It's not that common a problem but it is something that can happen. It happened to me once. If I have a reason to open the incubator during lockdown to fix a problem I'll weigh the risks and probably open it. But unless I have a reason I don't see a reason to tempt fate. I consider it good practice to not open the incubator during lockdown without a reason. Others feel differently.

When the chicks hatch they make a mess. There is some residue from hatching but they also start to poop. The moist incubator is at the perfect temperature for bacteria to grow. After about three days the incubator can start to stink. That's one of the issues with a staggered hatch.

I think that covers everything so I'll get to what I think are your two options. Your start date is only a day apart. You can leave all the eggs in one incubator for lockdown and hatch. There is a reasonable chance they will hatch within that three day window of the first one hatching but you are taking a day off your safety margin. If you get unlucky and the hatch really stretches out you can remove the early chicks. Maybe mist the eggs remaining with warm (100 degree) water to help keep them form drying out, at least the ones that you can see have pipped.

Or you can carry on with your plan and use that second incubator as a hatcher. This is probably the safest thing you can do, it is extremely conservative. But I don't consider the other way that risky.
 
Jun 11, 2019
37
108
64
First, relax. You should be in good shape. I'm going to go into detail on some of these things, not to scare you but to try to explain where some of the recommendations come from and what your options are.

my hatch date is on the 20th, so do I up the humidity today or tomorrow??

Some help on counting days. An egg does not have have a day's worth of development the instant you put it in the incubator. It takes 24 hours for an egg to have a day's worth of development. So when counting you say "one" 24 hours after you put the egg in. An easy way to check yourself is that the day of the week you started them is the day the 21 days are up. If they went into the incubator on a Tuesday, the 21 days are up on Tuesday, August 20. If you started them on Tuesday July 30, your lockdown date is Saturday, August 17.

Instead of saying hatch date I'm purposely saying "the 21 days are up". All eggs do not automatically hatch 21 days after they are started. Some can hatch a full 2 days early or late. It happens all the time. There are many different things that can cause an egg to hatch early or late. Heredity, humidity, how and how long the egg was stored, and just basic differences in the individual eggs can make a difference. Average incubating temperature is a big one. If the average incubating temperature is a bit warm they are often early. If it is cool they can be late. I regularly have hatches a full two days early, under broody hens as well as in my incubator. Since it happens under broody hens as well as in an incubator it's not because my incubator heat is set too high. I've calibrated it and it is set correctly. I think heredity plays a big part in mine often being early.

Some of my hatches, incubator or broody hen, are over within 24 hours of the first one hatching. Some of my hatches drag out for two full days, over 48 hours. They are not consistent so i don't like to say hatch date. The 21 days is a general target, more of a guideline than a law of nature. It is the other things rather than average incubating temperature that can cause the hatch to really stretch out.

Before a chick hatches it should absorb the yolk. It can live off of this yolk for three days or more. That's why they can be mailed, they don't have to eat or drink the first few days. What this means is that you do not have to remove a chick from the incubator until the third day after hatch. You can if you wish but you don't have to.

Shrink-wrapping a chick is why you are warned about opening the incubator during lockdown. Shrink-wrapping is when the membrane that surrounds the chick inside the egg dries out and collapses around the chick, holding it tight so it cannot move to hatch. This is the reason we typically increase the humidity 3 days before the 21 days. When a chick pips it opens a way for the membrane to dry out. Since they can hatch two full days early, if we increase the humidity three days early we have that covered. There is a reason for the 18 day lockdown.

There are some misconceptions about shrink-wrap. It is not that common an event, even if you open the incubator during lockdown and an egg has pipped. It depends on the humidity in the incubator when you open it, how long it is open, how dry the air is in the room, how much draft there is in the room, and how low or high the humidity was during incubation. If the humidity was low they are more susceptible to shrink-wrap. Many people open the incubator during lockdown and never have problems. It's not that common a problem but it is something that can happen. It happened to me once. If I have a reason to open the incubator during lockdown to fix a problem I'll weigh the risks and probably open it. But unless I have a reason I don't see a reason to tempt fate. I consider it good practice to not open the incubator during lockdown without a reason. Others feel differently.

When the chicks hatch they make a mess. There is some residue from hatching but they also start to poop. The moist incubator is at the perfect temperature for bacteria to grow. After about three days the incubator can start to stink. That's one of the issues with a staggered hatch.

I think that covers everything so I'll get to what I think are your two options. Your start date is only a day apart. You can leave all the eggs in one incubator for lockdown and hatch. There is a reasonable chance they will hatch within that three day window of the first one hatching but you are taking a day off your safety margin. If you get unlucky and the hatch really stretches out you can remove the early chicks. Maybe mist the eggs remaining with warm (100 degree) water to help keep them form drying out, at least the ones that you can see have pipped.

Or you can carry on with your plan and use that second incubator as a hatcher. This is probably the safest thing you can do, it is extremely conservative. But I don't consider the other way that risky.

Wow.. what great information. You completely put my mind at ease. I think I might be ok. :) Thank you for taking the time to help me.
 
Jun 11, 2019
37
108
64
Sooo... here are the results of my first hatch. Thank you everyone for your advice and guidance. They are all happy and very active. We didn't loose any although I ended up helping my last little one out after he was 2 days late and seemed to be giving up but with a little help he hatched like a champ. I am so proud of these babies.
baby chicks1fb.jpg
 

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