How is humidity created in my incubator?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mylilfarm2659, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. mylilfarm2659

    mylilfarm2659 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been raising chickens for eating eggs for about a year now. I am now trying my hand at incubating fertile eggs. I purchased a commercial incubator that holds 40 eggs. It has an egg turner, heater and fan. There is also an instrument that measures humidity. However, I don't know what that instrument should read or if I need anything else inside the incubator that creates humidity...HELP
     
  2. BrickWall Honey

    BrickWall Honey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Better to invest in a hygrometer to double check the humidity and there should be a trough or channel at the bottom of you incubator to add water to increase the humidity. If your house is around 40% you'll be fine until lockdown and then you should increase to around 60-65%. This is pretty standard but others use a "dry method" an I'll leave that to someone else to explain.

    Lots of valuable info on hatching here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-and-raising-chicks
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
  3. mylilfarm2659

    mylilfarm2659 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, that helps! My system hasa hygormeter but I just didn't know what the humidity level should be. I appreciate your input. So 40% is good? what do you mean by lockdown?
     
  4. NoRoosAllowed

    NoRoosAllowed New Egg

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    Lockdown is the time period from Day 18-21 of incubating. During this time you don't rotate the eggs, just lay them in the bottom of the incubator, and you don't open it for any reason.
     
  5. myfinefeatheredfriends

    myfinefeatheredfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Adding more water to the incubator raises humidity... simple as that. Chicken eggs aren't too specific about humidity except on the last 3 days before hatch time. If they were duck eggs then I would worry more. As long as you keep water in the trays you should be fine.
     
  6. mylilfarm2659

    mylilfarm2659 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I'm glad you told me not to open the incubator during lockdown...I would have for sure.
     
  7. mylilfarm2659

    mylilfarm2659 Out Of The Brooder

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    Great, Thanks! I added a little water and think I have the humidity just right now.
     
  8. mylilfarm2659

    mylilfarm2659 Out Of The Brooder

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    Any secret hints on sexing?
     
  9. mylilfarm2659

    mylilfarm2659 Out Of The Brooder

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    Also, I made the mistake of putting two different groups of eggs in...8 days apart. I'm thinking I'll need another incubator during lockdown. During lockdown do they need the fan or can I just use a warm incubator?
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    About 50 to 60 or so percent humidity during the first 18 days.

    What, if any type of hygrometer did you receive with your incubator? Does it have an analog or digital read out that displays "relative" humidity or is it a dual thermometer type with a sock on one of the thermometer bulbs? like this one? By all means use both types of hygrometers because each one provides a cross check on the accuracy of the hygrometer as well as the thermometer that hopefully came with your incubator. Do try to keep the bulbs at the exact same height in the incubator as the eggs. With forced air incubators like yours is it is not real important but should the fan go down half way through at least that is something you won't have to think about or remember to do if you need to finish a hatching with out forced air and automatic turning.

    [​IMG]

    I prefer this type, maybe because I am old school, or maybe because I am cussed, but I like to think that figuring things out the hard way keeps you thinking about what you are doing. The last three days I like a wet bulb reading (that's the thermometer on the right) of 88 -90 degrees and an air temperature reading on the left hand or dry bulb thermometer of 99.5 degrees F. There is a chart that you can down load off the net that converts dry and wet bulb readings into "relative" humidity.

    I is best to warm up your water to approximately 100 degrees Fahrenheit before topping off your h2o at lockdown and perhaps you should add a small sponge or clean rag to wick up the water and help evaporate it. You should have some idea of how much humidity you need by "playing" with the machine before committing your eggs. The eggs will give up water through the shells and this will either badly affect or augment your humidity up to day 18. The air vents are useful for controlling humidity after about day 4 or so. The correct humidity at hatching will help your chicks hatch almost as fast as grains of pop-corn exploding. I also believe that a good fast hatching helps reduce the incidence of birth defects or hatching related deformities. I recommend distilled water in the water tray if for no other reason than it doesn't leave lime or other mineral deposits behind. This could be important in the future because mineral deposits can provide a place for germs to hide. Clean and disinfect your incubator before a single egg goes in it. Then clean it again as soon as all the chicks have hatched and even before your new peeps go into their brooder. It is impossible to over stress how important the cleanliness of your incubator is.

    By all means set the incubator up a week in advance and play with the temperature and humidity settings for a few days so you will be familiar with its operation before using it for real. Never use an incubator (which in reality is a mechanical hen) in a drafty room. It will wonder all over the temperature chart looking for the "Goldie Lock" zone but never finding it. Even a hen is smarter than an incubator. So preset it two days away from setting your first eggs and keep it running before introducing any eggs. This will warm up the interior of the incubator before the eggs go into it. Now you must think for your incubator as well. Read up on the best way to gather and store eggs for hatching purposes.

    Keep us informed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014

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