Humidity Question and Concern

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by snaffle, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. snaffle

    snaffle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2009
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    I try to keep my incubator between 30 and 40% because that is what seems to work best in my basement. My concern is that sometimes the humidity will drop a great deal during the night.

    Last night the humidity was at 30% and this morning it was 17. I grabbed a mist bottle and misted the eggs and also wet down the 2 sponges.

    When the humidity drops that low am I doing the right thing or is there something else I should be doing.

    I can check humidity during the dag and add moisture, but not quite so easy during the night of course.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Peaks and valleys in humidity isn't all that bad during incubation though you do need to be at least close. It's average humidity during incubation that counts because that’s how you control moisture loss in the eggs. That’s the goal during incubation, getting the eggs to lose the right amount of moisture. During hatch though it does become more important. You need to keep it pretty steady or at least avoid the valleys during hatch.

    If you are using water reservoirs, the depth of the water in the reservoir does not have any effect on the humidity, just when the reservoir runs dry. What controls humidity is surface area. To raise humidity increase surface area. To lower humidity decrease surface area.

    Surface area means anything that is wet so water can evaporate from it. That can be the tops of any water reservoirs or something like sponges, paper towels, cloth, or anything wet. I don’t know how your sponges are arranged. If they are in a reservoir they are wicking the water out quick enough for the reservoir to run dry. If they are not in contact with any reservoir of water they are simply drying out.

    I don’t know what incubator you have or exactly how you are controlling humidity. If the humidity is dropping that radically, it means you are using up all available water. You need to figure out how to get more water in there without raising your humidity too high. That may mean deeper water reservoirs. That may mean replacing your sponges with water reservoirs that won’t dry out so fast. That may mean putting your sponges in a reservoir so they continue to wick moisture instead of just drying out. Without knowing what incubator you have and how you are set up now it’s hard to be specific.

    I don’t consider this to be a huge problem during incubation but during lockdown it can be a life or death situation.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. snaffle

    snaffle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you ridgerunner.

    My incubator is a Genesis 1588. I didnt understand the reservoirs and the humidity. I always felt the humidity was too high when I had water in them so I started using a couple of small sponges that measure about 1 x 2 1/2. I add water each morning and night.Sometimes the humidity stays between 30 and 40 and then other times it drops terrible.

    I will put a bit of water in a reservoir and see if that helps.

    The Genesis 1588 has a digital thermometer and humidity reader
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have the old model 1588. It does not have those nice controls. I think that is the big difference in the model you have and the one I have.

    Personally I don’t trust any of the thermometers or hygrometers that come with an incubator until I’ve verified they are working right. When I got my 1588 the factory preset was a little warm. I had to adjust it down about a full degree. There are many stories on this forum of many different makes and models of incubators presets being wrong and the thermometers and hygrometers just not working right. I suggest you calibrate your instruments or get new ones and calibrate them just so you know what you are dealing with.

    Rebel’s Thermometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/ThermometerCalibration.html

    Rebel’s Hygrometer Calibration
    http://cmfarm.us/HygrometerCalibration.html

    But that is not your question. The 1588 comes with a plastic tray that has 5 different depressions in it that hold water. Each of these reservoirs are different sizes so they hold different amounts of water and have different surface areas. The instructions that came with your incubator talks about them and how to use them.

    When I first got my 1588, I used a black Sharpie and wrote a number in each reservoir so I could identify it. Then I ran the incubator for several days with water in different reservoirs to get a feel for what water in that reservoir did to humidity before I put any eggs in.

    The background temperature and humidity of the air that goes in mine has a big effect on which reservoirs I need to fill to maintain certain humidity. That changes with the season. There are times that I’ll get 15% humidity if no reservoirs are filled. Sometimes I’ll get 35% humidity with the reservoirs dry. Sometimes if I fill one certain reservoir I may get a humidity of 35%, sometimes it’s in the upper 40’s. It’s a constant adjustment throughout incubation to get the humidity right.

    It’s not a daily adjustment either. When I fill a reservoir it may hold water anywhere from 3 to 5 days before it goes dry. As long as the reservoir is wet, it is raising humidity. If you accidentally get some water in an empty reservoir you can have a humidity spike that lasts until it dries up. If my humidity gets higher than I want, I pay attention and when the reservoirs dry out, I run it on a lower humidity until I feel I’m back in balance. That’s what I mean by average humidity. I did not do this the first time I incubated. Learning to balance the humidity came with experience.

    Where do you go from here? I don’t know how far you are along in this incubation, but you can keep doing what you have been doing until lockdown, then fill one or two reservoirs, whatever it takes to get the humidity up where you want it. I personally don’t worry about a high humidity during hatch. When the chicks start hatching them being wet will cause a humidity spike anyway. You can try various reservoirs and maybe remove those sponges but I really don’t like experimenting with humidity while incubating. It’s not a real easy call to make, especially from here.

    When I need to, which I normally don’t, I use this during lockdown to add water to the reservoirs without opening the incubator. I go in through the vent hole. You can get the accordion straws many places. The syringe came from Tractor Supply.

    Good luck! Your next incubation will be less stressful.


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  5. snaffle

    snaffle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bought 2 hygromerters and put those and the one I bought last year in one of the 3 incubators. None of the 3 matched the incubator's temp or humidity reading.

    At least 2 of them matched each other.

    Next I put all 3 in another incubator and found the same thing.

    In one incubator there was a 17% difference in the humidity and in the other one it was less than 10

    I did not open the hatcher to check it.

    I read the articles on this forum about assisting when problems are suspected and will try to be patient and not help those chicks break their shells.
     

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