How do you regulate humidity?

igorsMistress

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I'm currently hatching quail eggs. My hygrometer has been calibrated and I learned it reads low so I've taken that into account.

I'm using a hovabator 1602N with turner and fan. When the humidity reads 30% I'll add just 1 Tbsp hot water to a channel and it goes up to 50% and then gradually decreases. It's an AVERAGE of 40%, is that good enough? We have a couple more days until we candle and I can adjust based on air cells, but I can't ever really maintain a steady 40% in there.

When folks say incubate at a certain humidity, is that an average or am I doing something wrong?

I live in Phoenix so the a/c is on 24/7 right now too.
 

ChickenCanoe

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IMO, the humidity % is an average because, after all, how does a hen compensate for the humidity swings in a drought or a rainstorm? She doesn't. But ideally, eggs of any species will lose a certain amount of weight over the course of incubation. Weight loss will vary from early to middle to end of incubation.
Personally, I don't measure humidity (sacrilege) but rather use a gram scale to calculate weight loss. If loss is excessive, I add water. If loss isn't sufficient, I dry it out or frequently vent it depending on how far off it is.
Whether we are talking about quail or ostriches, eggs should lose between 12 and 15% weight through the incubation period.
https://poultrykeeper.com/incubating-and-hatching-eggs/weight-loss-method-forl-incubation/
Primarily working with chicken eggs, I estimate that 0.65% of weight should be lost each day.
 
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WVduckchick

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Keep in mind that humidity in an incubator is based on surface area, not the actual amount of water. For example, if you place 8 ounces of water in a shallow dish, and 8 ounces of water in a tall drinking glass, the dish will generate more humidity in a closed area than the tall glass will. But the taller glass will hold the water longer (evaporate slower), therefore keeping humidity stable for a longer period of time.

So it may be helpful to adjust whatever container you are using.
 

igorsMistress

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Thank you for your reply, it helps ease my worrying! This is only the second time I've hatched anything with an incubator.

I do have a gram scale but didn't weigh the eggs before I started incubating. Next batch I'll add it as a step to figure it out.

I really hate fiddling with the incubator but figured out how much water to add at what humidity level in order to average it out. I was thinking the same though, hens will inevitably have changes in humidity to deal with.
 

igorsMistress

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Keep in mind that humidity in an incubator is based on surface area, not the actual amount of water. For example, if you place 8 ounces of water in a shallow dish, and 8 ounces of water in a tall drinking glass, the dish will generate more humidity in a closed area than the tall glass will. But the taller glass will hold the water longer (evaporate slower), therefore keeping humidity stable for a longer period of time.

So it may be helpful to adjust whatever container you are using.
Sorry, I didn't see your response, thanks :) I did figure out less is best. There are channels in a tray to fill so whatever water I add spreads and makes a big difference!
 

illinoischick

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I'm currently hatching quail eggs. My hygrometer has been calibrated and I learned it reads low so I've taken that into account.

I'm using a hovabator 1602N with turner and fan. When the humidity reads 30% I'll add just 1 Tbsp hot water to a channel and it goes up to 50% and then gradually decreases. It's an AVERAGE of 40%, is that good enough? We have a couple more days until we candle and I can adjust based on air cells, but I can't ever really maintain a steady 40% in there.

When folks say incubate at a certain humidity, is that an average or am I doing something wrong?

I live in Phoenix so the a/c is on 24/7 right now too.
Hi there, good job with your new adventure! Yes, keeping that humidity steady is a challenge. You could try covering your incubator with a dish towel-that worked for me when mine kept dropping. I think ideally it should be about 40-50 %, in those first 2 weeks, but I have had mine dip down to 38% before and they hatched. Quail are tough--i think they withstand our "mistakes" better than other birds I've tried to hatch. Try adding some water again with the method you are using, and cover your incubator. The most crucial part is lockdown when you want to get humidity higher at 65-75%. I've covered mine with a damp towel at this point and it seemed to help. I've had humidity fall to 40% however during lockdown and it was a nail-biter, but still had 80%hatch rate. I am never sure whether to open and add water or let humidity drop. It's a hard decision. I am on day 17 today with a new Brinsea model, but i am having the same issues as you with the humidty (I am in Illinois where outside is about 80%) This is my first time with this model, so I'm curious about the hatch rate with low humidity on this one. Good luck!
 

WVduckchick

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Hi there, good job with your new adventure! Yes, keeping that humidity steady is a challenge. You could try covering your incubator with a dish towel-that worked for me when mine kept dropping. I think ideally it should be about 40-50 %, in those first 2 weeks, but I have had mine dip down to 38% before and they hatched. Quail are tough--i think they withstand our "mistakes" better than other birds I've tried to hatch. Try adding some water again with the method you are using, and cover your incubator. The most crucial part is lockdown when you want to get humidity higher at 65-75%. I've covered mine with a damp towel at this point and it seemed to help. I've had humidity fall to 40% however during lockdown and it was a nail-biter, but still had 80%hatch rate. I am never sure whether to open and add water or let humidity drop. It's a hard decision. I am on day 17 today with a new Brinsea model, but i am having the same issues as you with the humidty (I am in Illinois where outside is about 80%) This is my first time with this model, so I'm curious about the hatch rate with low humidity on this one. Good luck!
Good luck with your hatch! Quail are fun to hatch.
Be careful covering an incubator, that you don’t block any vents or cause it to overheat.

I won’t say “always”, but most times I would choose to pop the lid enough to add water, than to let humidity drop to 40% during hatch time.
I have several incubators. My Brinsea Octagon Eco had the most trouble keeping humidity up, so I took a piece of quilt batting material and draped it thru the channels and across the bottom, under the hatching tray. It wicks the water from the 2 channels and spreads it better so it does maintain humidity better.
Depending which one you have, you may try something similar, or pop some damp sponges in there. They will bump it up too.

Sorry, I took this after a hatch so it’s dirty, but here’s what I mean
WP_20180418_23_21_50_Pro.jpg
 

igorsMistress

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@illinoischick
Thanks for the idea! Have you tried increasing the humidity in the room where you're incubating? I'm thinking about a humidifier for that room since we have to run the a/c.

I just open the lid quick and add a measured amount of water. I got this 1 cup measuring cup free at the feed store and it's kinda flexible. I can squeeze the sides so the edge makes a funnel and it works better than a measuring cup.

Did you see @WVduckchick
suggestion? My incubator has a water tray with channels in it also. I think I might try her suggestion at lockdown :) Thank you!
 

Mosey2003

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I don't know what humidity you're aiming for, but it's not a great idea to use *hot* water. Aim for warm room temp.

The channels are numbered and are different lengths, the idea being that you can fill one of them or a combination of them to get your desired humidity. After the hatch and you clean it, go ahead and leave it running and play with filling different ones and see what you get. It should be the same humidity whether the channel(s) you choose are chock full or almost empty, because it's the surface area that counts. For instance, in my basement, in order to maintain 55% humidity, I typically fill wells 1 and 4, the biggest and smallest.
 
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