I need help...in over my head!


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 19, 2010
i have put my first batch of Silkie/Sizzle eggs in the bator on 3/6. i have watched and checked the turner. It is working fine. The temperature has stayed great. I have them in my climate controlled basement along with my brooder. I do not have a bator with a fan and I am unsure how to keep up with the humidity. I guess I need some kind of tool for that. I read the directions and it said to keep the channels filled with water which they are and now I am just waiting. I am afraid to even open the incubator for fear of disturbing something. Any advice would be great. Please help I feel so nervous. I was going to wait until day 10 to candle (3/15). Should I try before that?
I'm no expert but from what I've read on here humidity is not an issue until lockdown. I set my eggs on the 5th and am just worrying about temp so far. What kind of incubator are you using?
Now really, what is candling now going to do? If they are developing, you will just want to candle again if only to see them progress. You know you will. It's a vicious cycle. If they aren't developing, you will be depressed and devastated and you may not even know what you are seeing and may toss out perfectly good eggs.
You cannot win. It will take at least 20-22 days to be certain of the outcome. Don't worry about humidity until day 18.

Relax. Take a chill pill or strawberry daquiri. It's out of your hands!
I don't add water in my incubator anymore until lockdown. I had 2 failed hatches just before my last hatch this past weekend because of humidity issues (too much during incubation).. By not adding water during incubation my humidity on its own stayed anywhere between 20-28% no water. At lockdown I filled up all the wells and put 2 wet washcloths in the incubator and my humidity was 45-55% until the first chick hatched in the early morning hours Saturday and when I got up it increased up to 65%. This time only 6 chicks did not make it out of 50 eggs that made it to lockdown. I was very satisfied with how things went. If you look at ChookChicks profile she has a cheat sheet there that worked wonderful for me and others on here.

I have little giant still air incubators by the way. I would not add water until lockdown then add water, a wet sponge or wet washcloths to get your humidity up.

I wish you good luck with your hatch.
I am using a little giant 9200 still air incubator with an automatic egg turner. I love my silkies and I feel like I have waited forever to get eggs...the pressure of succeeding and having babies is too much. Also, I teach school and my 2nd graders are so into this that a few have printed pictures of what the inside of the egg should look like as we progress. I got a second bator to try and hatch at school and I really want it to work so that my kids can experience this. Don't mean to seem so uptight. Thanks for the advice!
Good luck to you and your class. One of my hens came from the friend of a friend who's class hatched chicks. Each kid that could took a chick home, They kept this chick for 6 months but them had to find a new home for her. She is my best layer of large brown eggs. The boy named her Henrietta. She is so cool.
Its fun isn't it?!

Don't add too much if any water for the first 17 or 18 days. Add some if you open the bator a lot - if you never open it you don't need much. BUT you don't want it too wet in there for the first couple weeks. Some of the water inside the egg has to evaporate to give the chick an air pocket during hatch. If they are too wet that air pocket will be too small.

From day 18 on you want it really humid- fill all the channels you have. The humidity will not go back into the eggs, no worries, but what it does is when they start to hatch it keeps the egg membrane from shrinking around them & becoming sticky. A sticky membrane is a killer to a chick in the shell.

So - you want it around 40% if you have a hygrometer. If not - no big deal just keep a small amount of water in the channel.

You can open the bator & mess with the eggs all you want w/o fear any time during the first 18 days. Just don't keep them out so long they get cold. Keep the out time to 20 minutes or less & they will be great. The momma hen gets up every day to eat etc. So they are designed for temp fluctuations!

After day 18 dont open again until all the eggs have hatched & the chicks are dry. They will have a yolk sack attached (sometimes not yet inside them) that will sustain them w/o food or water for up to 3 days. So don't open it if you have a pipped egg. The sudden drop in H will make it tough on them.
I can only tell you what I do.

I use the vent hole and add water with an eye dropper. Your humidity should be 35% through day 16 increase , on day 16 increase it to 55% then increase to 65% on day 19. I leave the spot in the turn empty right under the vent hole. If you get water on an egg it's not a big deal if you don't do it alot.

For anyone who wants it I can e-mail a copy of the article from Practical Poultry Magazine that helped me.

Of course it will fluctuate some but this can't be avoided unless you hover over the darn thing 24/7. I try not to go over. You'll have to learn what works best for you and tweak your technique.

Chicks will not all hatch at the same time, some may come early and some late so plan to wait a day or two after your day 21.

Hope all goes well

I am in the same boat. Trying to get the hatching thing down so I can bring it to school for my 5th Graders. I'm using the cheap hovabator with auto turner and I added a pc fan. I have read a lot of conflicting information about humidity. I've seen some places that say humidity should be 50-60 % for incubation and 70 + for lockdown. Now this says no water adding until lockdown.

I messed up my first try at this last month and am trying again with 3 thermometers, wet bulb, and a hygrometer. I got the auto-turner and added the pc fan this time as well. Everything is solid and I have two weeks to go.

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