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incubator wasnt calibrated-- too cold for too long???

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by nok13, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. nok13

    nok13 Songster

    Dec 8, 2012
    we have an incubator, some cheapy chinese knd that everyone here seems to sell; fan, heat, flat tray...
    at anyrate, we set the thermostat at 37 and hubby went and literally put all his eggs in one basket; so two weeks later, i went and bought a thermometer/humidity meter, digital, nothing special but here good ones are hard to find ... so now i checked and the humidity is at 70% and the heat is only at 34/4 celsius.
    our house isnt insulated; we live on a mini mountain (750 meters) arid and cold (jerusalem,israel) now winter climate. my house temp is about 20-22 C. as we use radiator heaters... the the incubator is in a sort of closed off area of our salon, north facing, so chilly.
    some eggs i dumped as they were porous. some had a blood ring. some are heavy and seem to have chick developed but im not sure (bad eyes as well). the chickens are thai fighting chickens, hubby's pets. (i have leghorn layers ,no rooster as mine are right up against our housing unit...)
    his hens wont brood, not sure why, and he didnt want to foster them to our berberi duck (nto sure what that is in english... muscovy ?) who had 13 of her own.
    well, that is long... so , the question is... whats the verdict. throw them out and start a new batch? wait and see? we have already baked to death 30 eggs in a home made incubator; hence the new bought one...

    im a goat and dog person, i like the hens as pets, and its his chicken project but he is used to thai farm practices (nothing scientific, just, whatever happens happens....) kind of a shame to loose so many eggs, =$ and time and babies....

  2. 70 percent humidity is way too high. I don't know how Celsius translates to farenhiete but mos t likely tossing them is the only option.
  3. nok13

    nok13 Songster

    Dec 8, 2012
    93.3 farenheit

    how do i control the humidity?

    basically water is poured in to the bottom of the incubator like a flat well; ill try to take pics and upload but not very handy with computer stuff...

    darn... well maybe we will toss them adn hubby will collect this weeks eggs and we will start anew... just want to get the humidity right... he will be annoyed, thinking the incubator isnt good but its mostly us not knowing how to work with it...
  4. Azriel

    Azriel Songster

    Jun 19, 2010
    Hi, 93.3 is too cold you might still have some hatch if the temp wasn't that low for too long, but they will hatch late, I'd give them at least a few days after the due date.
    Before you set the next batch get the temp right and holding for a few days before you set the eggs, temp needs to be 99.5 F with a fan, and more like 101 F without a fan. humitidy should be about 30% for the first 17-18 days, then raise to 50-60%.
    Good luck with the next hatch.
  5. Becci

    Becci Chirping

    Apr 11, 2012
    Welcome to BYC. [​IMG]

    To answer your question, if they're early into incubation, I personally would toss all of them and start over. If they're further into incubation, candle all of your eggs, toss the dead ones and keep the viable ones - if there are any. You'll need to get your incubator conditions correct if they stand a chance, however.

    Did you calibrate both thermometer and hygrometer? It's likely that the readings you're getting are completely wrong! Before you start another clutch of eggs, calibrate your tools, set your incubator at the correct temperature and let it run with no eggs for the next few days. Periodically check on it and adjust the temperature if needed. The goal here is to be sure that it's running steady at the right temperature, and not going to fluctuate all over the place. This is actually, in my opinion, one of the most important steps of incubating. Successfully, anyways. While you're doing this you can begin collecting your second clutch of eggs.

    The trays in the bottom are not all meant to be filled up at the same time. Most people only put a small amount of water for the first 18 days, then fill all of the trays during "lock down" - the last 3 days of incubation. As for temperatures, it's likely that the thermometer isn't reading correctly. If it is, 93 F is *way* too low, and even though they would begin to develop, they would not hatch. They would be far too weak and die if they made it past the first week. For a forced air incubator, the temperature should be around 99-100 F.

    .:: Calibrating Hygrometers - http://www.kingofthehouse.com/hygrometer/

    .:: Calibrating Thermometers - http://www.ehow.com/how_4526037_calibrate-a-thermometer.html

    .:: Learning Center - https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-incubate-hatch-eggs-just-21-days-from-egg-to-chicken

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  6. Quyen Le

    Quyen Le Songster

    Jul 9, 2012
    Don't toss the eggs. My incubator has bottom tray with the same temperature and most of them hatch at day 24 and 25. The chicks are OK and grow fast.
  7. nok13

    nok13 Songster

    Dec 8, 2012
    hi thanx for all the replies; well, the temp/humidity meter cant be calibrated, it only cost me 100 shekels which for us is a lot of money but is actually cheap, not a meter meant for this job but only for checking household temps. i couldnt find the good scientific instruments anywhere in the industrial area in the city-- go figure. i guess here its only in speciality stores.now i understand why everyone is advertising in the local internet adverts , for hygrometers, incubator controls etc.

    for the water, yes, there are two wells, an inner and an outer well, so i guess we should only fill one for starters. husband was over zeoulous in the 'more is better' department.

    we now put in a candy thermometer like i use for making soap or something, there is a difference between it and the temp/humidity meter*... so i will have to calibrate between them all, let the machine run a few days, and then try again. mean while , ornery thai hen has decided to sit her now batch so we will leave her to it and it will try on cheaper eggs, borrowed from friends.
    will also check with my youngest's old high school, an agricultural based high school so they have someone who 'does' chickens/birds etc... maybe he can give a hand... (or some quail eggs for trial :) )

    * if some one is good with statistics then they can work out the actual difference (deviation?) so i can use it for next time.... but in celsius please... i will check and post all the numbers..

    thanx so much... sometimes i do everything assbackwards, first i do, then i check...


  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    The way to control humidity is water surface area. The depth of water in the reservoir does not matter, only how much area is exposed so it can evaporate. Since you have two reservoirs, try using only one of them. If the humidity is still too high, try putting foil or something like that over part of it.

    Do not use something that can wick the water. That will just create more water surface area for it to evaporate from.

    Try putting the incubator in the most stable part of the house as far as temperature. Try to avoid places where opening and closing doors can cause a quick change of temperature.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  9. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You don't even have to use the bottom water wells. In your arid environment the outer tray may give you the 55-60% humidity needed for last 3 days of hatching. For lower humidity you can just use a small glass of water set in incubator, play with different sizes from shot glass to tumblers, the surface area of water is what determines humidity. To calibrate your hygrometer google salt test. It's a simple test using salt,in a bottle cap with few drops of water to make a paste, put that and your hygrometer in a sealable sandwich bag for few hours. If proper reading it will read 70% humidity, whatever it reads off from that mark on a piece of tape and stick to hygrometer so you remember what adjustment to make on readings.

    To check my thermometer I simply used a digital baby thermometer. Most of us run the incubators with one hole open anyway so just poke the thermometer in there. Keep in mind that the incubator fluctuates in temp so watch light turn on and off and time it. Take a reading in middle of cycle or check extremes of light turning on, light off and take the average of those.
  10. nok13

    nok13 Songster

    Dec 8, 2012
    ah. thanx. didnt think of that . (covering part of the well)... also, the incubator doesnt seem insulated at all, so ive wrapped a towel around the base w/o covering the two holes in the cover... will also help in case of power outage which happens here quiete often...

    i have this horrible urge to open the eggs to see how they are inside, rather then waiting but as other posters have mentioned, i will wait, not only the 21 days but even longer, just in case. although i am pessimistic.

    so for the humidity, how do i know how much to put in or cover up to get the correct amount of humidity.? is there some formula for working it out.? we are in a semi arid zone, fairly dry and 750 meters above the dead sea, if that makes a difference, cold at night (gets even to 2 degrees celsius) and badly insulated house, therefore at night, ambient temperature is pretty much what it is outside plus some... during the day aournd 8-19 celsius outdoors, inside about 20-21 near the radiator, cold everywhere else (for me , freezing, for new englanders, sweater weather)... the little side room the incubator is in keeps a fairly stable temp as not really heated, but has only one external wall, as opposed to other spare room which is down right freezing at night...

    too bad there is no such thing as a demo egg that u put in for 21 days and then it hatches, and then it tells u what the problems are/

    thanx again.

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