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Incubator troubleshooting assistance needed

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by angiadelle, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. angiadelle

    angiadelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2014
    Oklahoma
    Hi guys!

    I'm using a Farm Innovators Pro model 4200 with the fan and turners and it keeps doing weird stuff.

    It will hold steady on humidity and temp right up until the first egg hatches. When the first chick is out of the shell the temp starts dropping. The humidity holds steady, but the temp will drop at least 5+ degrees. Once the temp drop occurs, the hatch starts ending.

    The second to last hatch, I tried to stand over it adjusting the temp to keep it steady and it did not help the hatch rate.

    This hatch I used multiple thermometers and had the incubator itself in a closet so there would be no outside interference. It still happened.

    At lockdown I had 21 eggs with embryos but the hatch itself only lasted about three or four hours after the first chick hatched.

    I ended up with 9 chicks.

    I'm not opening the incubator. I'm making sure there are no air gaps around the edges. I'm not taking out vent plugs. The temperature in the closet remained steady. It just keeps happening.

    Are there any problem areas or things that could or should be checked out? I'm happy to provide any pics or information somebody might need to make a guess!

    Any suggestions are appreciated!

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry to hear your having trouble. 5 degrees does sound a lot are you sure it's not point 5 of a degree? I'm not familiar with this model. Does it have digital read out display? When chicks start hatching it's not unusual for temp and humidity to change. I for example usually see the humidity shoot up when the the chicks first hatch Ive had it reach nearly 90% before. And the temp fluctuate by anything up to point 5 of a degree. Also temp changes when they first hatch shouldn't be too much of a problem as the chicks are fully developed and producing heat of their own. Even the unhatched chicks shouldn't be affected by this as it takes a lot longer for the egg to cool even though the temp has dropped. I would suggest that you leave the incubator be when they first hatch to stabilise back to your set temp. Tweeking it will not produce instantaneous changes to the temp. It needs time to settle if you do make changes

    What would concern me more is that you say you don't take any vent plugs out? Hatching is the most critical time for chicks and the time when they need as much oxygen as possible. They are learning to breathe air and the co2 is building in the egg when they internally pip. They only make their external pip when the co2 is so high in the egg they need to pip to be able to release the co2 and let more oxygen in. I personally have all vents fully open from lockdown onwards just so that there is the full amount of oxygen possible in the incubator.

    Are you incubating with your humidity at 45% day 1-18 and then 65% for lockdown?

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
    This is an excellent article on hatching eggs and why the chicks need oxygen and the whole process of incubation. Hope you find it usefull.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. angiadelle

    angiadelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2014
    Oklahoma
    Thank you for your informative response! Perhaps I should have opened with "I have an animal science degree and can't get this machinery to operate correctly." :) I really appreciate all of your information and assure you that animal welfare is my primary concern and I swear I'm not suffocating baby chickens. The manual actually says to leave plug #2 in when using the fan.

    The first time I used this incubator I removed the first plug when the first chick hatched and though I prepared the room humidity in advance, I still trapped two partially hatched chicks in their eggs. They did not survive. I felt awful. Since then I leave it in and have not lost a single chick once pipped.

    This is the incubator as shown on the manufacturer's site:
    Pro Series Circulated Air Incubator
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    • Durable plastic outer shell protects incubator and is easy to clean
    • Solid state circuitry for long-lasting and reliable temperature setting
    • Built-in Hygrometer to measure both internal temperature and relative humidity
    • Fan kit pulls in fresh air to stabilize temperatures and improve hatching
    • Automatic egg turner Model 3200 included
    • Red indicator light to show when the heater is operating
    • Large Viewing Windows (9-1/2" x 3-1/2")
    • Easily accommodates up to 4 dozen eggs
    • Great for the hobbyist and for educational purposes
    • Additional probe thermometer included


    Hopefully that answers the concern about fresh air. The unit also has a ton of small vent holes throughout the top and bottom. The two large vents come with plugs and control humidity more than anything. Some people like to pull these out, but The fan pulls in fresh air from the top and moves it across the heating element on two sides of the incubator lid, some of this air recirculates and some is forced out the bottom. The breeze from beneath the unit is palpable. The interface is very primitive, simply a knob that controls the heating element.

    I'm not having issues with humidity. As long as I top off the reservoirs with warm water before lockdown, it is pretty easy to keep humidity perfect.
     
  4. angiadelle

    angiadelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2014
    Oklahoma
    I typed a big long reply with references but I did a no-no and put offsite material in it. Oops! Sorry about that! If it gets approved, you can see but to paraphrase:

    Thank you for your info! I'm not suffocating baby chicks, I'm going by the book on everything! Despite being called the vent holes, there are actually lots of other vents on the unit that are not plugged. Yes, the humidity is good. I actually have an animal science degree... believe it or not... clearly emphasis was not on poultry. [​IMG]I am treating every tiny aspect as if this were a laboratory and following the manufacturer's specifications for the unit.
     
  5. angiadelle

    angiadelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Oklahoma
    Of course that would happen.
     
  6. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/egg-failure-to-hatch-diagnosing-incubation-problems
    This article is also a good for reference on why chicks have failed to hatch. Sorry if you thought I was implying you were suffocating chicks I really wasn't I can see from your posts that you have the best interests of the chicks in mind. I still don't believe that a temp drop after the first chick would stop the others hatching. Incubation really can't be an exact science, there are so many variables with it and to get those optimum conditions correct 100% of the time is a rare occurrence. Are you hatching your own eggs or shipped eggs? That can have a major impact on results due to the shipping process and handling. The list really is endless on variables

    Parent bird health, breeding and age.
    The quality of the egg.
    How the eggs are stored before being set in the incubator.

    Also I would just make sure your thermometers are calibtared and giving you correct readings. Many people don't even go on what came with incubator they like to use others.

    Just on a side note adding other links and things like your incubator pic and description is ok. What you can and can't add is in the BYC rules and terms. I will try to find it for you now :thumbsup
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  7. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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  8. angiadelle

    angiadelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Oklahoma
    Thanks, I will do some eggtopsies next round.

    I've done shipped, our own eggs, and eggs that were delivered from an hour away by a very thoughtful uncle. The hatching rate is all pretty much the same for me. The embryonic development rate was much higher this time on the batch from from the very thoughtful uncle. They came straight from the chickens that laid them to my house via pickup truck seat. I let them rest about 16 hours and then put them in (we have some rough old roads in OK). I had 21 out of 24 embryos make it to lockdown but only 9 hatched within the first few hours after the first chick. Other eggs were looking like they were about to pip any minute, but began showing less movement as the temp dropped. Some of those dancing eggs were double yolkers!

    I have never used the built in meters on this incubator because the reviews said they weren't accurate. I purchased quality non-digital meters within days of getting the incubator. I figured the less components on the meters, the less opportunities for failure.

    Really, there are no problems until the hatch starts. The whole situation seems to defy physics imo. I didn't know if somehow a baby chick is hopping around and disrupting wiring, or if mythical creatures come to mess with it or what. I know it doesn't make any sense.

    Keeping a constant eye on the meters with wireless cameras, the only thing that changes is the temperature. It has fallen up to 15 degrees in one day. This hatch it dropped 5 degrees F per day which is better than 15 but still not where it should be. No chicks hatched after it dropped below 95.

    I realize the temp drop could just be coincidental but it really seems to correlate with the rate at which the eggs hatch. It just does not make any sense!
     
  9. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    Really, there are no problems until the hatch starts. The whole situation seems to defy physics imo. I didn't know if somehow a baby chick is hopping around and disrupting wiring, or if mythical creatures come to mess with it or what. I know it doesn't make any sense.

    LOL that made me laugh with the mythical creature :lau

    It really dosnt make any sense if the temp has been holding well untill hatch. The only variable as you have said is the fact that the chick has hatched. Maybe the hatched chick is distrupting the air flow and therefore the readings?
     
  10. angiadelle

    angiadelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2014
    Oklahoma
    Really, it is the only thing that makes sense at this point! [​IMG] The dragon lets all the warm air out when it comes in to gather the eggs it put in there to incubate.

    Wouldn't a chick blocking the air flow lead to warmer temperatures though? The air would be redirected through the same heating loop without expanding to the rest of the incubator, right?

    I swear I'm getting a bald spot from scratching my head over this deal! If I don't answer it is because I'm rocking back and forth in the corner muttering "don't count your chickens before they hatch."
     

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