High Altitude Incubating...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by bumpershoot, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok guys, I am at 6800 ft above sea level and it occurs to me that perhaps, like cooking, there might be some changes needed to have a successful hatch. Last round was less than successful, but not a huge bummer as it wasn't my Barnies or Lemon Cochins. This time it is!!![​IMG] [​IMG]
    I've got the Hovabator set up and it's stable at 99.5 (it's a still air that I put a computer fan in and an egg turner in). I'll check it again tonight, which will be 24 hours. It should be good. There are three thermometors in there: the one that came with it, an Acurite from Wallyworld and a digital cooking thermomter for the water wiggler. The Humidity here is ambient at 20%, so getting it up to 30-40% take filling it every day. More than that on day 18 will take a wet washcloth or sponge plus water in the tray.
    The Lemon Cochins arrived yesterday and are in the incubating room coming up to the 75 Fahrenheit ambient. Barnies are at the P.O. Box and I'll pick them up at 9 pm tonight when I head home. I'll give them 24 hours to rest and stabilize and put everyone in the 'bator tomorrow night (Friday) at about 9pm.
    I have to make a water wiggler because I haven't located one here in town (go figure, I've thrown about a million of them out over the years). Fine, a plastic baggie, water and tape. I can do that. [​IMG]
    Does anyone have any other suggestions? Has anyone hatched at this altitude before? I would be seriously bummed if my Barnies or Lemon Cochins were not successful.[​IMG]
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

  3. mylilchix

    mylilchix Chillin' With My Peeps

    We're up at 8500ft, and I've found that adding a wet sponge, and misting the eggs with warm water every few days helps. I've also moved my bator into the dining room. It's near our kitchen and the humidity from cooking helps keep the humidity up. I've been successful keeping a steady temp too. My bator stay at around 101, and I keep the humidity around 40%.

  4. CityChicker

    CityChicker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2009
    I think incubating at high altitude is just a challenge no matter what. If you live in a dry area, it is even harder. I have read several times that oxygen levels are a big issue.

    I have thought about using an aquarium air pump ran into the 'bater with airline tubing and into a water reservoir (as was suggested on the other thread). I have never tried it before, but it seems like it might at least help. Since that is the concept behind oxygenating aquarium water and also used in some hydroponic methods, I would think it might help get some oxygen in there. I am not a chemist though so who knows, LOL.

    The big thing I have found is keeping the humidity level up. My incubators that have a large water surface area have always done better in the high elevation. The other thing that I have never seen anyone mention is the reduced boiling point at high altitude. At sea level, the BP is about 100 degrees. At our elevation (about 6,000 ft. I think), the BP is only 91 degrees! That is a pretty big difference. I have thought to myself that maybe the eggs overheat when incubated at normal incubation temps when in high altitude. I have never tested that theory, but I may try lowering the temp a little at some point.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. I think you will find that eggs layed at high altitude almost always hatch better than those shipped from lower elevations too.
  5. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    I haven't read everything that was on the link that rebelcowboy posted...I will later tonight. However, formulating a plan, I think I will drill one hole right behind where the fan sits to pull air into the bator. I am thinking half inch...
    I am also going to mist the little guys and keep the humidity up higher. I think that the comment on boiling point at this altitude is also one to consider pondering and I may keep the temps at 99F.
    At one point in the thread he linked to rebelcowboy notes that weighing the eggs is of value. That's easy, I've got a digital scale for cooking that will give weights to me. I can keep a spread sheet on these guys. I'll post the weights as we go, if you guys would like.
  6. greathorse

    greathorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    Just want to tell you good luck and if you figure anything out about high altitude hatching love to hear about it. We had a great discussion on that very long thread and I think I learned lot but of course one doesnt really know until tested. I am starting a hatching on Saturday and I will humidify my hatching room so I can get more ventilation in the bator. I also am suspicious that eggs hatched at sea level and shipped up here go through some stress. I just candled a bunch of eggs that came from sea level and though they were boxed beautifully I see some air cells that look very loose and sloppy. Got my fingers crossed.

    Good luck
  7. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2008
    The only thing I notice is my humidity - we are at 6500 feet. I MUST wet the sponge at least once a day to keep it at 65% (waterfowl). Getting things up higher for hatch is a real challenge, but do-able if the entire bottom of the pans are filled and a sponge is in there. The only other thing I do that I don't see others doing routinly is put a large book underneath each incubator to allow for circulation.

    Interesting journal articles supporting the hypothesis that supplemental O2 can increase hatchability.

    The hypoxia of high altitude causes restricted fetal growth in chick embryos with the extent of this effect depending on maternal altitudinal status

    The role of oxygen in prenatal growth: studies in the chick embryo

    Caveat - don't read too much into these studies - they were not not done for the purpose of finding out if high altitude was an issue in chick incubation - the purpose of both studies was to find a link between high altitude prenatal hypoxia and later development of cardiovascular disease in humans. So read carefully.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  8. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I am at 5500 ft. Humidity is my biggest issue. I find that running a humidifier in the house near hatching time helps (I use one of the room humidifiers like you get for a kid's room).

    Also misting with a sprayer and lots of sponges [​IMG]
  9. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts! I have made the following modifications: I've put two cool air humidifiers in the room with the incubator and eggs that are settling. Why I didn't think of this before, I dunno. Brain fart, I guess. I put another .5 inch hole in the back of the Hovabator right behind the fan. I am hoping that this will actually up the air pressure a touch, as the fan is mechanically pulling in more air and then pushing it though the incubator. The extra air pressure will also increase air turnover a touch, thus accomplishing the improved ventilation. I plan on keeping humidity at 50% and temp at 99F because of the altitude. I'll weigh all the eggs tomorrow as I place them in the incubator.
    Gosh, I am starting to get nervous! [​IMG]
  10. bumpershoot

    bumpershoot Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ok, so the two humidifiers have the room up to 55% ambient humidity. Right now it's 33% in the incubator. I am thinking that the 55% ambient will help the eggs reduce moisture loss. It would have been interesting to have weighed them last night before the humidifies were running and then again this morning to see if there was a difference. Maybe at next months round with the incubator I can remember to do that.
    Temps in the incubator haven't quite stabilized yet. It is at 95 f and I have it rising. I'll be home most of today and can adjust as necessary.

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