Jx2inNC Hatch Thread


9 Years
Apr 30, 2010
Caraway, NC
Well, I made the decision to give incubating and hatching a try for the first time, so thought I'd document some of the stuff here.

I picked up a Little Giant 9200 + auto egg turner this weekend. I've got it setup in an extra room that I can close off and leave pretty secluded.

Now I've read a ton so far on this, but I have a few mor questions, if anyone wants to be kind enough to help out:

1) If I'm going for the highest hatch rate possible, naturally, which eggs do I seriously want to forget using?
I've got some eggs that are a maximum of 7-10 days old but have been outside for the duration. The newest ones got wet in their boxes during the big storm yesterday. Does this matter?

2) If the eggs are in an auto turner, don't you have to remove it and place the eggs flat just before you start lockdown?
I've not seen where this has been mentioned and didn't think they could get out of the eggs if still in the turner (although it would be unplugged, of course).

3) If humidity needs to be upped during lockdown, I assume through the vent hole is the easiest way?

Thanks in advance!
And before I forget:

4) If the eggs laid outside experienced some days ranging from the mid-60s up towards 80*, over the span of a few days, will this effect hatchability enough to abandon incubating those particular eggs?
Put the eggs in anyway, but feel free to still respond, as I'd be interested to know.

I'm assuming if the temp at the top of a still air incubator should be 99.5-102 that the temp towards the bottom of the egg would be less...
The 2 thermometers that came with the incubator seem to measure differently than one another. So I bought a digital thermometer/hydrometer and put it in there BUT it is sitting down measuring middle to bottom of the egg. I expect it will be the most accurate measurement, but I have to consider the location as well...
Hi there!

1. You seriously want to forget using eggs that got soaking wet outdoors and then sat there for a while. Eggs with really dirty shells can be washed in hot running water but if after washing the shells are stained, I'd discard them too. Hatchability drops off sharply after 10 days so you probably don't want to use old eggs. Eggs that have been heated up past 70F may have started to develop so probably best not to use them either. Some people on here have had really great results with very unsuitable eggs though, so those are just guidelines...

2. When you go into lockdown you take the eggs out of the turner, yes. If using a still air bator you might want to put the eggs in cartons for lockdown and hatching. You're right about the air being colder at the bottom of the bator and hotter at the top. This is what's called thermal layering. (You don't get it in fan assisted bators, cause the fan is blowing the air around.) So if you take the eggs out of the turner and sit them flat on the floor, they will be in a lower position and will cool down a bit. You want to keep them at the same level. Egg cartons can help you do this. Have a look for threads about carton hatching.

Oh, and when comparing readings from different thermometers, if they're not at the same level inside a still air bator, obviously they'll give different readings. Put them all at the same level, then compare readings.

3. Some people set up tubes and pipes and syringes so they can add water without opening the bator. I don't know how LGs are set up, but adding water through a vent hole sounds sensible. Just remember that oxygen is as important to the developing chicks as humidity, so don't leave the vent hole blocked up with tubing for the whole lockdown.

4. See answer to 1.
Hope that all helps you a bit!
Thanks so much for the reply!
A lot of great answers and help you posted.

Here's my update:

I went ahead and put all the eggs in late last night. The eggs range from quite small banty eggs to large brown eggs. Because I had the incubator top off, the temps read only up to about 81* or so by the time I went to sleep, but I knew that the directions were to let it acclimate, add the eggs, and leave it alone -- so that's what I did. I also added water to the rings below.

Sure enough this morning, the readings appeared acceptable. The digital thermometer/hydrometer showed 92.3* at lower egg level and 44* relative humidity. The two LG thermometers showed almost right on 99.5* for one and 101-102* on the other -- these laying on top of the eggs.

So from what I've read, I should be good to leave these eggs be for a while and just watch the numbers. I'm not around all day, so I have to trust there won't be any significant problems while I'm gone during the day. But that will have to work. Checking them in the morning before I leave and then a few hours of watching at night must suffice!
Came home and the digital reading was 94.5* or so and 45* humidity.
Thermometer over the small eggs read 99* and the one on the bigger eggs read 103* so I barely turned it down.
We'll see what it stabilizes at when I check later.

If the actual reading was 99* on some eggs (not the desirable 99.5+) they should still hatch, but maybe just take a little longer?
Or is the minimum 99.5* no matter what?
99.5 is just the best temp to have them hatching out healthy and in the same length of time that a chicken would take to do it sitting on eggs. Higher or lower they can still hatch out, but the more you deviate from 99.5 either way, you'll notice lower hatch rates and most likely chicks with various health problems.

Lower temps mean the eggs take longer, higher temps mean they hatch out quicker. If you did your whole incubation at 99, your chicks would probably be fine but would most likely hatch out just a little bit late. Like, less than a day late. Eggs can hatch out if you run your whole incubation as low as 97 and mybe even lower, but really late and most likely weak. Higher temps are probably the same...

If I was you I would move the digital thermometer to read the temps right on top of the eggs. Either that or leave it there for your own information but don't mention the readings on here. Temp at lower egg level is not something that anyone really monitors or asks about and if you mention it in asking questions, people will probably not read your setup properly, assume your temps are too low and tell you to turn them up!

Have a look at this guide: http://gallus.tamu.edu/library/extpublications/b6092.pdf - loads of useful info!
Thanks for the reply!
It is invariably the thermal laying creating the difference, but comparing the temp on top of the banty eggs vs. some of the large eggs on the other side displays a difference in temp of about 2-3*.

I think when I looked this morning the thermometer was not under the element on the banty eggs but was on the other side, and the temps were like 98* vs. 101* or so. Didn't think it would be an issue, but this is probably the nature of the beast for still air incubators.

On a positive note, the humidity has appeared to be rock solid at 45* for a while now, without me doing anything after I added water the first night.
So if this is Day 6, should it make sense to be able to see veins in some but not in others (and those others still be alive)?
Hmm, I haven't candled before so I'm not taking any eggs out for a while, even if I am mostly sure nothing is going on.

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