high altitude incubation

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by alpinefarm, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. alpinefarm

    alpinefarm Songster

    Dec 6, 2008
    Western Colorado
    I'm receiving some eggs from sea level and then incubating them at 5280' in Denver.
    I've heard that this climate change for the eggs can be tricky, that egg shells laid at sea level are less porous than is ideal for a high altitude egg shell.
    Apparently, hens living at altitude lay a more porous shell so that oxygen reaches the embryo better.
    Fascinating...but how do I compensate for this in a hatch?
    I've heard of some hatcheries at altitude using oxygen piped into their incubators...but how would one do that, exactly, with a small, styrofoam incubator?

    And humidity--how to cope with Colorado's (very) dry air?

    [​IMG] Maria
  2. DouglasPeeps

    DouglasPeeps Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    I am glad you asked this question. I am setting up now for my first hatch and have asked this question too. I haven't gotten a reply yet, so I will watch this thread too!
  3. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

    Jul 18, 2008
    Indiana, Pennsylvania
    WOW! I dont know how HIGH up we live, but that makes so much sense and explains why my hens eggs are so porus!!! WOW!!!!!
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    Sponges in a dish in the bator?
  5. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    I belive Buster had a thread about this ?
  6. TheNewMrsEvans

    TheNewMrsEvans Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    Big Sur, CA
    I'm making my incubator and collecting eggs, and I never thought about this! We are at 5095' here...
  7. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    I also live in Colorado and do not clearly understand the nuances of high altitude hatching. Some time ago I set 24 JG eggs and used the higher humidity setting reccommended by much of the documented information. I hatched 3. Later I purchased 12 JG from a breeder in Indiana and hatched 7 of 12 and at the same time set some eggs from a local breeder and hatched 8 of 12. this was on the lower humidity settings. I have hatched several of my own eggs and used the lower settings and hatched 90%. A very sad story is that I set 48 Marans eggs and now have 5 very expensive chicks (3 roosters by the way). My theory is (not proven by a long shot) is that the difference in air pressure not the humidity creates the issue. I would love to hear great success stories in Colorado regarding excellent hatch rates. I am considering trying oxygen on my next bunch but not sure how I go about getting the O2. Anyone know if we need a prescription for oxygen. I would use a very low setting. Dont want anything to go Boom
  8. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Ive tried growing grass in my incubator to raise the oxygen levels but the grass dries out to fast to keep up with watering(wrong type grass i guess). If you pump compressed oxygen in to the incubator it would get very expensive. and your making a bomb. Oxygen rich environment + heat = blowing a room off your house. The only fix I can come up with is ether extreme ventilation or puting your incubator in a hyperbolic chamber. I think I'm around 4 an 5 thousand feet.

    If you did try to pump Oxygen in to an incubator you would need to use a Oxygen pump an not tanks an you would have to put the incubator in blast chamber to aim explosions strait up.
  9. I'm in CO at 7,000' and have read about it, too. Pore area is *decreased* at high altitude but there is an increased gas diffusion coefficient (so gasses are exhanged at the same rate as eggs produced at sea level).

    Reduced total pore area is a requirement to conserve moisture inside the egg.

    You can find this information in Google books > for example Animal Physiology By Knut Schmidt-Nielsen.

    What I have been trying is:

    1. increasing humidity during the whole incubation period
    2. increasing the air exchange, ie. keeping the air holes open
    3. actively adding O2 to my incubator

    ******** I can add small amounts of O2 safely without as much risk of explosion because I do not have a thermostat inside my incubator. I am using a thermostat with a probe and the thermostat is outside the incubator. ****************

    A thermostat inside the incubator is a source of flame - it sparks EVERY time it turns on, and mixing O2 and a spark is NOT SAFE.

    Besides, I don't yet know if the small amount of O2 I am adding really matters as much as items 1 & 2 on my list...

    Buster has been trying high humidity hatches - incubating at 70%+ for the whole process and is having some success. I finally managed to hatch a shipped egg using high humidity, and have set the next larger batch to see what happens.

    This time of year, it's impossible to sort out whether the cold temperatures during shipping are killing the eggs or if it's the altitude.

    Anyway, I'm interested to know what y'all learn.
  10. alpinefarm

    alpinefarm Songster

    Dec 6, 2008
    Western Colorado

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