I NEED ANSWERS, everything I research for Incubating chicken eggs gives me different answers!!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by NewChickielady, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. NewChickielady

    NewChickielady In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2018
    Which ones do I follow???

    This is what I have:
    Still air incubator: Hova Bator 1602n
    Hygrometer and thermometer: both have been calibrated. Hygrometer was off by 1% used the salt test in a sealed container it read 74% and Thermometer (came with the bator) tested with ice water it read 39%. My bator has a pan with 4 troughs for the water I used 1 trough with reg. Tap and or bottled purified water for days 1-18 and filled every 4 days or so when humidity dropped in the 20's i had a steady humidity from days 1 to 18 at 35 -40% mostly 35 though on occasions it would rise to 40 and on lockdown i read to fill the 2nd trough which only rose the humidity to 45 to 50 the highest. I added more water on the 19 day to rise the humidity (i know i shouldnt have opened it, but this was my first time) i filled all 4 which rose the humidity to 65 to 75%. I was constantly checking the temp made sure it didn't spike and when it did the highest it ever got was 103, but for a short while. I live in LA, California and our weather has been up and down we just had rain for 3 days, but a few days before it was quit warm for winter almost reaching the 80's which changes the temp in my home 78° at one point ( have the bator on my dresser away from sunlight & my bedroom windows are closed). I have been storing my eggs in a carton pointy side down, I only have 1 hen and 1 Roo so she doesn't lay everyday and as much as I would love for her to get broody don't think she will. I have noticed if I dont check the nest every 2 hrs she goes in and eats the egg, this has happened 3 times already. So you see this is why I dont trust her to keep them in with her.

    My questions: Please keep in mind these are questions for still air incubator only. Hova Bator users please share your knowledge.

    **** Temperature:
    I have read the temp in a still air Styrofoam incubator should read 100.5 to 101.5 and some other sites say 99.5 others say 102 the highest from days 1 to 18 and after day 18 it should drop to 99.5?!? I had my temps from day 1 to 18 at 100.5 to 101.5 due to the fluctuations of temp change through out the day and night. And at lockdown I had my temps at 99.5! Which is correct??

    **** Humidity:
    For 1 to 18 days: I have read ppl say for a still air keep it at 45% the highest and others say 35% it wont hurt them because something about the humidity in the room can enter the bator and change the reading?!?
    Lockdown: Humidity goes up no higher than 85%. I had mine at a steady 75%.

    ****Red Plugs:
    I just recently read about the red plugs at the top of my bator. The instructions said to remove once chickiea have hatched to help dry them up and now im reading different times to remove them. Some sites say remove one or both from day 1 to 10, others say at lockdown remove both. Which do I follow?

    I have read ppl say use water to fill the troughs they dont specify what kind of water and others say distilled...which is correct!

    ****Brand of Incubator:
    I have read ppl say styrofoam incubatorsare notorious for temp fluctuations. I work from home so the only time I leave is to run errands never gone more than 2 hrs. I have been on top of the temp fluctuations and i change them accordingly. With this said, am I better off purchasing a different incubator?

    ****Egg turner:
    I was turning my eggs (8 of them) every 8 hrs never missed a beat, some ppl say its best to purchase an egg turner. Is this necessary?

    ****Egg storage:
    Some sites say store in an egg container pointy side down at room temp. It wasnt until recently I ran into a site that said turn them 3 times a day...well I haven't so are those goners??? My first batch like I said I am new so I didn'tknow there was a specific way to store them. I had them in a container on their sides and at room temp. Could this be why at day 7 of candeling Only 5 of 8 were developing?

    ****Loud noise:
    I have 3 doggies so it gets a bit loud from their barking could loud noise disturb the embryos as they grow?

    NONE OF THE 8 I INCUBATED MADE IT! 1 made it to day 18 and I can only assume possibly died when I opened the bator to add water on day 19:hit:hit:hit
  2. Rose Quartz

    Rose Quartz Enabler

    Mar 18, 2018
    East Hants N.S. Canada
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  3. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    Unless they had pipped externally there's no harm in opening the incubator. The eggs need good ventilation when hatching especially so plugs need to be removed for lockdown (some people leave them out permanently) and I would remove one from the start.

    The overall average temperature is what counts. Brief spikes won't hurt the eggs as it takes a long time for the whole of the egg to heat up enough to kill the developing embryo. If loud noises hurt chicks I'd never have any hatching! Not with our two kids.

    Fertility may not be great for your birds due to the time of year and that would be why some didn't even start.

    I hatch quail and I hand turn all of them. I don't think turners are necessary.

    Incubation really is a bit of an experiment to work out what works for you in your climate. We're you candling the eggs regularly? Do you know around what days the developing chicks died? Had they pipped internally yet?

    It's never easy to lose babies, especially when you've been looking forward to them throughout incubation.:hugs
    Rose Quartz likes this.
  4. Rose Quartz

    Rose Quartz Enabler

    Mar 18, 2018
    East Hants N.S. Canada

    39% - I'm assuming you meant 39*F which is (I'm in Canada) 3.9*C above freezing. To check your thermostat what I would recommend is go pick up a medical thermometer and see if it reads the same temp as your incubator thermostat reads while it's running.

    humidity - opening the incubator during lock down is fine as long as there are definitely no external pips. which you didn't have. you didn't cause the chickie to die by opening it. :)

    103 in a still air for a short time isn't... really shouldn't cause any problems. I had mine go up to 111*F with my first time some time in the night and they were fine. The link I shared^ says 102* at the top of the eggs is right. I have only ever run a still air once and that's the number I aimed for. I had chicks hatch that time. (but honestly my numbers were all over the place)

    Relative humidity in your area plays a major factor. I run my incubator at 10% - 20% humidity for days 1 -18. otherwise my aircells don't get big enough. But I live in NS where local RH is usually between 85%- 95% even in the winter.

    I haven't used a hovabator so I don't know what the red pugs are, but I thought they were for oxygen, which they need at least 1 opened for days 4 - 18 and 2 open for the lock down. (this is only info I am guessing at from other threads I read on BYC)

    water - I would say it's up to you what kind you choose to use. I've only ever used tap water. in the last 3 years of incubating this years first hatch was the only one where I had some kind of bacterial problem. but I also had a 3 year old reach in and grab an egg with spaghetti hands before I could stop her.

    "I have been on top of the temp fluctuations and i change them accordingly. With this said, am I better off purchasing a different incubator?"

    ^^^^This. This is why I only used still air once. I didn't sleep for 21 days because of temperature fluctuations. I didn't go and buy one. I built one that would suit my needs.

    an egg turner is not necessary. as long as you can be home to turn them. my minimum is 5x a day. if I do less than that I have malpositioned chick. That's just my experience others have had no problems at all with 3x/day.

    for egg storage. I read some kind of research paper that was on how to store hatching eggs. They tested round end up and tilting the eggs 3x a day (room temp) vs. pointy end up and no turning (room temp) the paper claimed that pointy end up and no turning worked just as well. BUT the last 2 times I had my sister store the eggs pointy end up no turning I had a very high incidence of malpositioned pips. I have never tried to set eggs that were stored on their side. or any that were past 7 days old. I have set an egg that had been in a fridge and it hatched.

    Loud noise isn't a problem at all. I have 4 kids who were constantly making noise and even jostling the incubator, and still had eggs hatch. :D
    JaeG and NewChickielady like this.
  5. feedman77

    feedman77 Crowing

    Jun 10, 2013
    Still air temp- 101 to 102 taken at top of eggs. Would not drop temp keep it constant. The temp range you swung is in tolerance levels at least for me.

    Humidity- very subjective topic. It is very area dependant. Personally I low humidity incubate. Keep 20 to 30 for 18 days. Raise to 70 plus for hatch. It took several tries hatching before I found this is what I got my best results with. In central Mo. That usually 2 I don't put any water or very small amount in til lockdown. I have had some hatch when I mis marked days or they were early before I ever got the humidity raised. And the came out fine.

    Red plugs- I took mine out and tossed them I want eggs to have a good air exchange throughout the process.

    Water- I use tap water but I'm on a well.

    Temp variations- once I get bator set to temp with eggs in it. Just leave it be. There will be temp swing but unless it gets to 103 or 104 I don't Adjust seem took make swings each way worse. And it would drive me crazy worrying about it.

    Turner- your call. I have always used a Turner and had decent results. I know other that hand turn and like it. But everytime

    You open the lid your going to get a temp swing to heat up after heat is let out.

    Storage- small end down in egg carton in a cool 60 degrees room if you have one. Use a board or book to put under 1 end and swap it 2 or 3 times a day. Just to keep yolk from sticking. You can store them for up to about 10 days before fertility starts to decrease.

    Noise- have not heard of that affecting eggs.

    I have a hands on approach for hatching. Helping stuck chick. Removing dry ones to move to brooder. Keeping chickie soccer down. So I open the bator while they are hatching. With high humidity it causes few adverse effects. Unless your chick. Was pipped and it caused him to get stuck I don't
    Think it would have caused him to perish.

    Sorry on your first round that didn't Hatch. Incubating can be very frustrating til you find a system that works for you. But is rewarding when the fuzzy butts hatch.

    When you have a bad hatch keep notes on how it went. For the next batch make a small change to humidity or temp. Til you come to a range of parameters that work. Then run another batch with same condition and see if you can repeat results.

    There are a lot of very knowledgeable members in byc that may offer a lot more advice than I could.
    JaeG, NewChickielady and Rose Quartz like this.
  6. NewChickielady

    NewChickielady In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2018
    I candled at day 6, 11 and 18 because I had no patience. I saw no improvement from 2 eggs at day 11 and day 18 I saw 2 with blood rings, so then I was left with 1. Day 24 nothing, no internal pip, no movement.
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  7. NewChickielady

    NewChickielady In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2018
    Yesss!!! This I found very annoying, I would sit and wait and at times postpone my errands to be sure the temp and humidity leveled out. But I secretly liked turning them, loved feeling the warmth of them amd knowing I had a hand in the process literally! This incubation process is a LOVE/ HATE thing and I just want to LOVE it, because right now I Hate it!
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  8. NewChickielady

    NewChickielady In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2018
    So do you think I should rise or lower my humidity? I had it at 35% while it was 60+ in my home? These next days are going to be sunny in the 70's i plan to start my 2nd batch on Monday. I don't want to give up just yet, would just hate to waste what could be perfectly good eggs.
    Rose Quartz likes this.
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I can't answer your questions specifically on that incubator but I can give you some of what I've learned.

    First, no matter how perfectly you have everything calibrated and stabilized before your eggs go into the incubator, your temperature and humidity will drop when you open it to put them in. DON'T PANIC....this is the stage where most people freak out and start adjusting and readjusting, then they never can get it back to that ideal environment they had before, simply because they've "overfiddled" with the settings. Remember that it takes a few minutes to get the eggs in, get them situated, and that they have a cooler total mass than the incubator is currently showing and they need time to come up to temperature. Put them in, leave them in, and leave your settings alone for several hours. The eggs will be just fine and will warm as the inside of the bater warms. Then if you need to adjust, do that in small, almost imperceptible increments.

    I also preferred hand turning, even though it meant opening the incubator. I had a better hatch rate (and anyone who knows my back story knows that I wasn't doing so good before!) with hand turning. Mom gets up off the nest from time to time to shift eggs around too, and they are outside in cooler temperatures than your incubator will be in. This also gave me the opportunity to check more closely for eggs that might be seeping stuff that indicates it's time to get them the heck out of there!

    Your chicks won't instantly die inside the eggs if you have to open it to add to the humidity or turn them. Again, they have an internal mass that doesn't cool off or dry out the second the door is opened. Be sensible, keep it as closed as possible as much as possible, but don't be afraid to tend them and do what you have to do.

    Most incubators have cool spots and hotter spots. When you turn the eggs, it doesn't hurt a thing to shift eggs from place to place as well. Find those spots, and work within those parameters. Under a broody, the eggs that are at the very edge of her "warming cone" when she first starts incubating them usually still hatch, because when she turns them or gets up for a bite to eat or a drink, they shift positions slightly with her movements.

    Shipped eggs typically don't do as well, so expect that if your eggs are being shipped. The embryos have been jostled around and air cells can become loose or even totally detached. So wait a couple of days before you put them into the incubator, without touching them, and some of those cells may well firm back up.

    That's all I can think of for right now......enjoy your adventure!
    JaeG and Rose Quartz like this.
  10. NewChickielady

    NewChickielady In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2018
    I had mine at 35% from days 1 to 18 while the humidity in my home was at 60+ how do you think I should adjust
    Rose Quartz likes this.

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