Little giant incubator help

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by waymire01, May 19, 2017.

  1. waymire01

    waymire01 New Egg

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    May 19, 2017
    Decided to hatch some chicks after many years. Mine are free range so there is some natural loss and I'm not set up to brood large quantities, and my local stores only sell them once a year. Didn't want huge investment so I bought a little giant.. I read the new model with the digital thermostat was problematic so I searched until I found an old manual version. I also have the fan and rocker. I had two a long time ago and never had an issue with them, always got decent hatches even without the fan and rocker in the early days. This time around I've had nothing but problems. I moved between then and now and had a humidity issue (it's way more humid in LA than OK)... which I should have fixed with the addition of a digital hygrometer/thermometer.. though maybe not "sigh". I originally had it set up in my kitchen on a counter away from the stove/sink.. I had stable temps but my cats kept monkeying around with it so I moved it into my art studio and since then I've had temp fluctuations with no apparent cause. I have it on top of a large wire cage I use for older chicks and it could be less insulated because of the wire? The weird thing is it runs hot, not cold (the room should be the same temp as the rest of the house if not slightly cooler) and I'm having hatches a day or two early.. once they were still in the rocker. No matter where I put it though I'm having massive issues.. I usually have one or two chicks that self hatch. The others do not no matter how long I leave them. Many are improperly positioned in the egg. I've tried letting them "settle" for a day or two before putting them into the incubator but it didn't help. If I help (and I have experience with that having raised quail that required a lot of help) I find at least half are "gooey", and at least a quarter are not close to done. I've had a couple that were deformed, including one with an exposed brain (eeww). If I don't help they all suffocate. I've tried waiting different times from the point the few self hatch before helping, I've tried only piping and leaving them (they seldom ever finish the job successfully). I'm getting 1-4 viable chicks out of 20-30 set eggs which is ridiculous. I've done around eight batches and pretty much gave up. Help please?
     
  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    OK----to start with you got to get the temp some what steady---location, you said it was stable on your kitchen cabinet----build a open wire box to set over it to keep the cats off it! Or add some heat sink(I have never used but many have)---things like a bottle of water. You got to get a hygrometer to read the humidity----I like around 35% the first 18 days and 75% the last 3(till hatched). I am a hands off hatcher so when I candle(you do candle right?)put my eggs into lock-down on day 18 and increase the humidity---I NEVER open it again until day 22---unless all hatch before then. If it needs water---I have already set-up before starting to incubate so I can add water without opening---through a vent hole with a tube or long needle, etc. I usually have a 85 to 90% hatch with the Styrofoam. Sure watching a chick hatch through the glass and it not make any more progress makes you Want to help, BUT I will Not open mine until hatch time is over. I will not jeopardize the rest by opening to help one. I did open in the beginning --when I started incubating and guess what I got---exactually what you are getting---just a few chicks out of a whole incubator full and some of them might be deformed, gooey, etc, etc---just like you. I have had 100% hatches in the Styrofoam, but not often.

    Now there is a lot of hands-on-hatchers on here and they have good hatches----most that have great hatches know when to open and when to keep it closed, when to help and when not. If you want to be a hands-on hatcher----Study!!
     
  3. waymire01

    waymire01 New Egg

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    I have a digital hygrometer/thermometer. I've been aiming for 50% but it's not continuous since it goes down overnight between waterings, when they start to hatch it shoots up to around 80% yet I still have issues with chicks "gluing" themselves to the shell and sometimes even the grate/floor... and tough dry membranes. Maybe I need to turn off the fan when they start to hatch? Also tubing water in (been opening for the few seconds it takes). You really think all the issues are those little bits of open time? I mean we are opening a lot more to candle and derocker... but that's an easy fix, I'll try it. I'm doing more reading and starting to think I need to really drop the humidity.. I live in S. Louisiana and while it can fluctuate quite a bit, generally we are very humid here. In Oklahoma we were always trying to keep it more humid, resorting to sponges and such so it's a change for me. Maybe I'll try a dry run, and put the bator on the floor instead of raised. Can't get much worse results than what I have now lol. Believe me I'd rather just let them hatch on their own, any helping is just desperation to save some. Thanks for replying.
     
  4. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

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    Only got a minute or two this morning. Like I said I like 30's% for the incubation----why does your drop over night----you running out of water in the troughs in the bottom or using a sponge?? My Styrofoam water last at least 2 or 3 days???

    The fan does not hurt at all if the humidity is up.

    Re-read my above post-----after lockdown is when """I""" do not open till after the hatch. I open every day if needed during the incubation---hurts nothing.

    As far as opening it during the hatch for a few was ALWAYS a disaster for my hatch, and many other people/hatchers in my area. I started keeping mine closed---had a Major improvement and I passed this on to my family and friends that too were having bad hatches---even my elderly mother started having 75/85% hatches----only difference was keeping it closed completely for the last 3 or 4 days. Sure there is plenty on here that say you can open at will during the Hatch-----maybe they can but I nor anyone else in my area can do that without a disaster. Maybe its a Location thing??

    If you wanta be a Hands-On-Hatcher then you need to learn from the experienced ones with good luck doing it.

    If you wanta try being a hands-Of-Hatcher like me----just keep it closed during the last 3/4 days with a good humidity 75% at least and See if it makes a difference for you. I personally have hatched around 10,000 in the last 3 or so years with a 98 to 100% hatch rate(in my cabinets)---Mine stays Closed after lock-down until day 22. Good Luck!!
     
  5. feedman77

    feedman77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found using styros and any incubator for that matter. If when I aimed for 50 percent humidity during incubation I had a lot of fully formed and drowned chicks. Hatch rate was terrible.

    I now dry incubate. I try to keep my humidity between 20 and 35 percent. Then raise to 70 for hatch. The raising humidity I still recommend but am beginning to second guess that. As my first 2 hatches this year did that and had sticky and glued chicks. Had a batch of eggs I mis marked the day on. Didn't get any water added to the incubator. Hatched 24 of 25 eggs with no assistance no glued chicks. So I am going to do another batch in the future totally dry and see what happens.

    I the styros especially I found no water added is the best way to go.

    The eggs in the incubator do you move them in the Turner? Outside to middle, middle to outside. In some cases even with a fan there are hot and cool spots. By rotating them around it helps the eggs stay even if there are these areas.
     
  6. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    I used an old lg9200 incubator for two years. (Just bought a Hovabator this year.) Getting a stable temp is a laugh. Other than my first ruined hatch I always had 85%-100% hatches with the thing. It was more work, more monitoring temps, but it was very successful.

    Mine had the fan kit installed, so if I could keep the temps above 99.5 and under 101 I was happy. It usually settled between 100-101 for the most part. Yes, my hatches almost always hatched days 19-20 instead of 21-22, but my chicks were always healthy. I had next to no after hatch mortality issues.

    Like the others, I run a low humidity incubation and run dry when it's possible with humidity goal of 30-35% for the first 17 days and 70-75% for hatch. I monitor air cells to know if and when to adjust.
    http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com...anuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity

    I hand turned. I started with the turner but switched it out on the third hatch to hand turn and have stuck with hand turning ever since. I also stop turning at the end of day 13. I haven't had a pointed end malpo since except 2 because of improper moisture loss.

    Day 18 I "go into lockdown". For me that just means I mark my air cells and higher my humidity. I am a hands on hatcher. VERY hands on. PD can attest to this..lol I candle pretty much daily and right through hatch. I remove chicks as they become active in the bator. Take out egg shells, (my incubator NEVER smells bad during or after hatch.) I flip over my eggs that have gotten rolled. I assist after 24 hours and no progression.

    I keep wet sponges in the incubator and if I need a humidity boost, I rewet the sponge.

    I think humidity is your biggest issue. Not only can it cause developmental issues, but overgrown mushy chicks that can not turn when needed and end up malpositioned.
     
  7. waymire01

    waymire01 New Egg

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    May 19, 2017
    Yes, it runs out of water. I can only put the smallest splash in (troughs) to keep it at 50%, any more and we run closer to 65-70%. I think that is one of the issues with temp fluctuation as well because I've noticed a correlation between temp and humidity. Do you run with open vents or closed? I have both of mine open because again, it gets extremely wet in there without. Going to clean everything and set up dry for a run and see what happens.
     
    AmyLynn2374 likes this.
  8. waymire01

    waymire01 New Egg

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    May 19, 2017
    I'm going to try running dry and see what happens. I agree I think it's too humid. I have not been rotating egg positions in the turner, with the malpositioning issues I've been having I've been trying not to mess with them anymore than necessary. I have experimented with grouping them together or spreading them out, hasn't made any difference.
     
    Bluechick2u likes this.
  9. waymire01

    waymire01 New Egg

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    May 19, 2017

    Your temp observations are exactly what I'm getting, including the early hatches. The last sentence is also exactly what is happening to me. Going to dry run and see what happens.
     
  10. waymire01

    waymire01 New Egg

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    I've always wondered about the logic with the turners being "vertical" since naturally they incubate on their side. What do you do with your air vents on your LG? I have both mine open because it got very wet and stagnant without.
     

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