incubator questions

Discussion in 'Quail' started by tricid, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. tricid

    tricid Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2011
    I've been lurking a while and reading a lot, but just to make sure I'm right on a few things I'd like to ask the experts.

    I'm making my own microcontroller powered cabinet incubator and initial tests so far look great, but I want to make sure I'm building against tight enough standards. (I plan on sharing the design/code/schematics once I'm finished. So far the project cost is maybe 50-75 dollars for a temp controlled cabinet style box with auto egg turners).

    1. How "tight" do the tolerances need to be on temperatures? Right now, just to save some relay/heating element cycles, I have the heat coming on at anything below 99, turning off at anything above 100, so a 1 degree swing by design, maybe 1.5 depending on various other tolerances (I think my temp sensor is accurate to .5 degrees). Is this good enough, should I aim for perfect readings (below 99.5 turn on, above 99.5 turn off, only variance being sensor inaccuracy)? It would drastically shorten the life span of the relays (I think they're good for around 500k cycles), but relays are cheap and easy to replace...

    2. How important are precise humidity levels? I was also debating an automatically adjusted vent on the top to control the humidity level, but from what I've read this may be extreme over kill since most people just use a tray of water and kinda guestimate it (may do it anyway, hell, its already over engineered). It has a humidity sensor regardless, just nothing to adjust it (yet)

    3. Any "extras" that experience has caused you to want out of an incubator that you just cant seem to find in one due to cost or whats available?

    I guess this isn't necessarily quail specific, but since that's what I'm raising (new to it, just got my birds last weekend), I figured this is the forum to start.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

    (edited, double checked the data sheet and the sensor I'm using is accurate to .5, not .2. I'm hoping that is close enough because getting a sensor with tighter tolerances quickly jumps in cost)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  2. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    sound GREAT if it hold 99 to 100 thats perfect........i would add a backup thermostat....they do fail over heating will kill all.

    most better incubators have back-up
     
  3. tricid

    tricid Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:great idea! that'd give me something to average the temperatures with and would only add a few bucks to the total cost.
     
  4. joe125

    joe125 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2010
    If you can maintain any temp. within a tolerance of +/- 0.5 deg., then I would say you are doing much better than fine!

    Exact humidity tends to throw people for a loop, because they tend to think of it as water volume, not surface area, but you probably have that one cinched up.

    Everyone has their exact temps/humidity for hatching, but I would kick the tires and light the fires on your bator, then tweak as needed!
     
  5. tricid

    tricid Out Of The Brooder

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    this may be a dumb question, but best I can tell in cabinet style incubators once the chicks hatch they're allowed to just kinda fall to the bottom. Is that true? Do they harm themselves by dropping down like that?

    in the one I'm making the top area is around 2' tall, so the highest rack is maybe 18 inches or so high. Is that too much of a drop?

    thanks!
     
  6. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    Most cabinet incubators have hatching areas on the floor, when you get ready to lock the eggs down you take them out of the turner and set them on the floor or tray of the cabinet, some have removable trays for this and some don't
     
  7. tricid

    tricid Out Of The Brooder

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    for the "some dont" category though do they work how I assume, the chicks are just allowed to basically fall to the bottom?

    I can only go on pictures and the one cabinet style I saw in person, and thats what it looked like it did (chicks were hatching but all eggs were still on their shelves, yet there were a few chicks running around the bottom)

    I don't want to hatch a bunch of chicks just to break some legs or kill them lol
     
  8. mochicken

    mochicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    NW Missouri
    I guess if the person allowed them to hatch like this then yea it's possible but I would think they would get injured

    Another possibility is that the incubators you saw with chicks in the bottom and eggs in the tray had "staggered hatches" which means they put eggs in at different times so some of the eggs were ready to hatch so they were placed in the bottom and hatched there and the rest of the eggs were left in the turner because they were not ready to hatch. It's pretty common for people with cabinet incubators to do this because the capacity of the incubator is greater than the amount of eggs they can gather in 8-10 days for best fertility.

    There is always the chance that a person just let the chicks hatch and drop but I wouldn't
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2011
  9. tricid

    tricid Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 8, 2011
    thanks for the input! it caused a minor redesign but I think my incubator is good to go now.

    one final (ya right) question that comes to mind though, how soon after they hatch do you need to ensure they have a fresh food/water supply? I'm mostly curious on this because what happens if they hatch in the morning right after I leave for work, they'd be stuck in the incubator for a good 8-10 hours before I'd be back.

    If they need it immediately, is it ok to just leave a small/shallow dish of water in the incubator even though obviously it'll get quite warm? Same with food, I cant imagine the high humidity would do it any favors.
     
  10. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okmulgee Co, Oklahoma
    They will be able to survive for that long. They're still digesting their yolk sacks. I leave my chicks in the hatcher until they are completely dry before moving them to the brooder with the food and water.

    Keep in mind, you can mail day old chicks and they arrive at a destination with no ill effects.

    Good luck with your hatch!
     

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