How much can the temperature fluctuate?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by HannahDuckLover, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Songster

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    I'm incubating eight goose eggs (in a Hova-Bator 1602N), and I read that the temperature is supposed to be 99.5 degrees. However, the incubator temperature seems to fluctuate an awful lot, from 96 to 102. I have two thermometers, one of which I know is pretty accurate.

    This is probably partially because the room the incubator is in isn't insulated or anything. In our warm climate, nobody needs heating (although lately it has been dipping into the fifties at night). The incubator is in one of the most stable rooms we have, so there's not much we can do to improve it.

    So is a temperature difference of up to 6 degrees going to be deadly?
     
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  2. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    That's a problem. Is the incubator new? Did you set it up dry and let it run for a few days, adjusting up and down? You need to break in the new wafer in a 1602n, it needs to stretch some. Once it's broken in, it's a damn reliable incubator. I can walk you through what needs to be done.
     
  3. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Songster

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    No, it's not exactly new. I used it once in 2015 in an emergency when the broody duck died, for the last week of incubation. I can't remember how much the temperature fluctuated then, but I do know that about half of the eggs successfully hatched.

    This time, I let it run for about 24 hours before putting the eggs in. The temperature was fine at the time I put them in. Just after the eggs went in, it dropped dramatically and took over a day to get back to what it was supposed to be, and that was only after I turned the temperature up. That was an unusually cold day overall.

    This is day 3. Is it already too late? I just don't know what to do.

    This morning (7 AM) it was 97 degrees, and right now (9:45 AM) it's 100.3.
     
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  4. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    Yes, it's sadly a little too late now if you're already using it. If the room is drafty, that can cause problems too. When you add the eggs, the temperature is going to drop because they're cold, it takes them a while to soak up the heat and become little heat-sinks like they end up being. Changing the temperature when you did was a mistake, yes. Would have been better to wait until the next day and see where it was.

    Are you changing the dial daily when you're seeing these swings? If so, need to stop and see where exactly it levels out.

    Do you have it on a hard surface? Have you checked the vent holes in the bottom half to be completely sure there isn't a ball of styrofoam or a piece of shell stuck in any? That's important, take a stool and stand up over it with a flashlight and try to check quickly. If there's anything in them, be ready with a skewer or thermometer you're not using to push it clean. Also, make sure it's on a hard surface (not a towel, etc) so that are can get to those vents. They're all around the bottom, if you didn't know.

    Do you have any plugs in? If yes, I highly recommend removing both. At the very least, leave one out.

    How much water do you have in it?
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

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    Yes you can... I add water bottles filled with sand and water as heat sync/ stabilizer INSIDE the bator. (don't add them in cold with eggs already incubating). I also HAVE to add blankets or towels to the outside as extra insulation... making sure vent holes are NOT covered.

    Set you temperature at the hottest time of day and let it drift down.

    Note that different areas in the bator will read differently. If the thermometer is touching the eggs or the floor it may read the surface temperature and not the ambient temperature... causing some confusion... development takes place at the TOP of the egg and that is where the temp should be measured but not touching the shell itself. I ALWAYS make sure to move my eggs to a new spot inside the bator once daily... to help ensure even development... it helps a lot, even in forced air bators.

    Happy hatching! :fl:jumpy:jumpy
     
  6. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    Pondering on it some more, you say you're hatching goose eggs. So I'm assuming you're hand-turning and opening it three times a day. When are you noting what the temperature is? That will have an effect too. And do you have a fan or are you running still-air?
     
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  7. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Songster

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    It can be somewhat drafty during the day, while we're using the room and have the windows open. The windows are shut for the night.

    I did wait until the next day to change it. Maybe it was still too early, but the temperature had been low for at least 16 hours before I bumped it up a bit.

    Nope. I've changed it twice total--once, as I said above, when it was too low for at least 16 hours, and once yesterday since it had been too high for a long time. I'm not sure if it was too high for a solid 24 hours, but it was definitely too high when I went to bed, and still was in the morning when it was cold, so I turned it down a little. I suppose it would have been better not to change it at all. I'll try not to change it again. It does seem to average around 99.5. (Right now it's 99.8, by the way.)

    Yes, it's on a hard surface and all the vents are open.

    There are two plugs, and they're both in. The incubator manual says to only take them out if using it at an altitude of more than 6000 feet above sea level, or during hatching if the humidity is too high. How would removing them help stabilize the temperature?

    I don't know exactly. The incubator has four troughs. It says to use only trough #1, except for areas with high humidity conditions, in which case it says to use only trough #2. That's what I did. The humidity here is often extremely high (somewhere between 70-90%).

    Thanks. I might try that. I don't want to give up yet, at least not until I can candle the eggs.

    There's one thermometer on the floor, and one digital water thermometer that I stuck through one of the vents on the top so the tip of the thermometer is a few inches above the eggs. Overall, both thermometers give very similar readings.

    Yes, we're hand-turning five times a day. (I was going to do three, but I read that's the minimum, and more is better.) Most of the temperature readings are random. The incubator is right beside my computer, so I can check it whenever. I've checked it right before turning, right after turning, and at various points in between. It's 101.7 now.

    It's still-air.

    Thank you for taking so much of your time to help me. :)
     
  8. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    I'm going to go with the draft being a culprit here. I would use the heat sinks like mentioned above and maybe see if you could make a guard around it with cardboard?

    The vents and water are personal preference. Myself, I won't use vent plugs period. But, my incubator lives in the basement, with no drafts and an extremely stable temperature. It sits at 100 degrees and absolutely stays there, and only take a couple minutes to recover after opened. I also check my humidity with a calibrated wet bulb thermometer. If your house is very humid, I imagine just filling one trough is fine.
     
  9. Mosey2003

    Mosey2003 Crowing

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    Also, it's best to leave a thermometer at the height of the top of the eggs. I have mine actually shoved through the side of the incubator bottom, just to the right of the turner. Do you have one of the flat ones usually stapled to a piece of clear plastic still? They usually come with incubators, the idea with those is to actually lay them on top of the eggs.
     
  10. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Songster

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    Drafts...well, maybe, but come to think of it, it's been quite still over the last three days. Right now, the curtains aren't even fluttering. I don't know if I mentioned it, but the room temperature over the last three days in this room has been fluctuating between about 60 or maybe high fifties to about 85 degrees. So I was thinking maybe the incubator just couldn't keep the temperature steady when it was changing so much outside.

    Yep, I have the one that came with the incubator. It's currently just lying on the bottom, but I'll put it on top of the eggs next time I turn them. The other thermometer is about an inch or two above the eggs since, like I said, it's stuck through one of the vents in the top, and that's how far down the metal rod goes.

    Right now it's 101.1.

    Ugh. I hate incubators. :tongue I would have much rather preferred to have Charlotte sit on her own eggs, but she just won't go broody.
     

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