I got my Little Giant!! Advice please!

LilDucky85

Songster
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
900
9
151
Northern, Illinois
I got my Little Giant last night as a birthday present!! I'm so excited about starting. I need some tips from everyone who has used the LG!

I've read that you shouldn't listen to the directions about the red vent plugs. It says to have one open the entire time, and then just open the second vent the last 3 days of incubation. Should I follow this, or ignore it??

Any and all tips about trial and error are very helpful!!
 
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Poulets De Cajun

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
5,251
82
309
Houston MetroMess, Texas
Oh gees... here we go... let me tell you what I've learned.

The instructions are useless to a certain degree. LG's can be tempermental, so dont make hasty decisions or major adjustments when using them. Adjust the thermostate SLIGHLTY, never by a large twist of the knob.

My vent plugs are usually always in, and if I need to vent more I'll open one up half way by covering it with tape.

When it comes time for hatching, the water trays aren't sufficient, at least in my part of the world, so I have to add a damp sponge to the inside to help raise humidity.

And my number one tip for the LG, is never give up on it. The knowledge it will teach you, no matter how frustrating it may be, will be priceless when you finally move to a nicer incubator.
 
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LilDucky85

Songster
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
900
9
151
Northern, Illinois
I'm not planning on hatching tons of eggs so I'm completely happy with my LG! I'm not going to change to a "nicer" incubator....besides I hear LG's work great!! Thanks for the tips, I've heard that a lot about the sponge. Now I'm left wondering which is best for the vents? The instructions were useless and seemed to talk more about the egg turner than anything else.
 

Poulets De Cajun

Crowing
11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
5,251
82
309
Houston MetroMess, Texas
I LOVE my little LG. I bought it as a still air, and last year I installed a PC cooling fan and made it a forced air. I've since moved up to a cabinet incubator, but I still keep my LG as a backup. In fact I am using it as a hatcher right now because I couldn't get the big bator to hold humidity.

LG should give me a commission check for the marketing I do for them... LOL

If you look at the top of the incubator, there are a line of small holes along each sides of the windows. Then there are the two large holes with the two red plastic plugs. There are also vent holes in the bottom. So wether or not you have the red plugs in or out, SOME kind of ventilation is still going on. You'll learn to use both plugs, or take them both out, or use a combination to control your temps and humidity.

For instance I'm using mine as a hatcher right now. If I open both plugs, humidity drops WAY low. If I put them both in It goes WAY high. So I left one nearest the fan in, and then took a piece of electrical tape and put it over half of the other hole. By plugging one vent, and only allowing the other one to be half open, I can maintain humidity at 67 to 72%.
 

Enselle

In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 1, 2008
15
0
22
From my limited experience with an LG, practice practice practice. Give yourself hours of tweaking before setting any eggs. I rummaged around in Hub's garage and found something larger to slip over the little temperature nub to serve as a knob. It only takes a nudge to send the temp skyrocketing. And be sure to practice with your wick hygrometer, before you need it.
 

LilDucky85

Songster
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
900
9
151
Northern, Illinois
Thank you so much!! If I have a 5% hatch rate on my first attempt I'll be perfectly happy!! Of course Ill do everything I can to do it right but IF that's all, Ill be ecstatic! I'm in the skeptical zone right now thinking Ill never be able to actually hatch an egg!! I cant imagine it actually happening!!
 

danielnv

Songster
11 Years
Jan 19, 2009
190
1
121
Mountains of Virginia
I'm on my second incubation with my LG. The first time around I only got 1 chick out of 14 eggs, and 1 duckling out of 12.

I had 4 thermometers going, that were more or less in agreement the first time around, but when setting it up again, I got a digital theremometer for your mouth from a drug store. I poked it in the side of my LG, and the temperature from it is 1 degree higher than all the other thermometers read. Since medical theremometers are supposed to be accurate to within 0.1 degree, I believe that my temps were high last time around, and that's why the birds I got were early.

I also calibrated my hygrometer with salt water and discovered my hygrometer reading is 5% low. So now I know when it says 40%, my humidity is actually 45%. The best thing you can do for yourself is connect a piece of air tubing like for an aquarium air pump, or its sold for drip tubing also. Put one end in the water reservoir, and route the other end out the side of the incubator. Use a plastic syringe to put water in through this tube, and you will only need a small amount of water every couple days, without opening your incubator. I was convinced the water channels in the bottom weren't keeping enough water in, but I'm not sure if it was because I filled them all the way at first or what, but using this method, I am able to keep humidity just fine.

The temperature adjustments are crazy with LG, so get it accurate for a few days before you add eggs. You will notice the temperature drift up and down a bit, but so long as it doesn't get below 99 (for forced air) just leave it alone. The same with drifting up--mine has been up to 99.8 or so this last run with the accurate thermometer, but then drifts back down on its own.

Let the humidity go up to like 47 or 48 when you add water, and down no less than 25 before you add water. Depending on conditions where you live, it is even more ideal to keep the humidity right in the room so that you don't have to add water to the incubator at all, but that isn't an option for me here in the desert.

I think the biggest mistake I made as a first time newbie was to keep adjusting things to keep it perfect, only to find I was chasing my tail and not helping a thing.

I have eggs due in about 10 days, so I will have a pretty good idea that the lessons I learned are correct.

Oh yeah, everyone says it on here, and everyone seems to have to learn it the hard way, but no matter what, do not open the incubator until all the eggs have hatched! I believe I read that 36 hours from first hatch is about the time to take out the hatchlings and candle the remaining eggs. That may have contributed to my failure also.
 

LilDucky85

Songster
10 Years
Feb 8, 2009
900
9
151
Northern, Illinois
Like I said..... its never gonna happen!! Hatching is just a dream right now.

I have some store bought ones in there as testers right now. The temp hasn't even got above 85 degrees yet. I'm making small turns until I get it right. Stupidly I had to start over because I made one huge turn to the dial and had no clue where I left off at. Both the thermometer that came with it, and my hydrometer are currently both reading the same temperature. Lets hope they are accurate, and stay that way.
 
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