New to hatching

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by A roo or two, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. A roo or two

    A roo or two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Setting up my incubator for my first hatch. Sorry I will probably have lots of stupid questions come up but my first one is what amount of fluctuation is allowed in humidity? I have read so many different things on line. My incubator says to keep it 55-60% and then 65% on lock down, which seems to be high compared to what I have been reading, most suggest 45-50% in the first 18 days and then raise it. I was planning on just doing what my instructions recommend and adjusting accordingly on future hatches based on results but I wanted to see if there were any suggestions.

    We have a circulated air incubator. We purchased a digital thermometer/hygrometer as I have read the ones that are part of the incubator are not always reliable. We live in Florida so keeping the humidity from going to high has been a challenge. No water at all and it is about 40-41%. If I used the trays in the bottom (just one small one) I was in the 70% range. I had to remove all water and put a tiny little medicine cup with water in it (like a pepto cup). With using the little cup I seem to stay 57, but as the surface area decreases it drops to about 53. Is 53 still okay?

    I am kind of OCD and when I see it change I get all panicked and want to get it back up, I need some reassurance on what is the right thing so my brain can relax lol. I am trying to control myself because I know, obviously, every time I open it I let more humidity escape.
     
  2. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am new to incubating as well and just started my first hatch, I have been reading on here a lot and came across a couple threads showing what the size of the air sac in the egg should approximately be when candling at certain days, you can use this to judge if your operation is working correctly, if the air sac is too small you have too much humidity, if it gets too large you have too little humidity.

    I don't have the too much humidity issue as it is winter in Northern WI right now with forced air furnace running constantly and drying the air in the house so I have been adding a little water, mine has been around 40% so far but I have not candled yet, I may have to boost it up a little.

    I also read if your humidity is running high you may have to have more air flow, in other words open vents on the incubator, with more air coming through it should decrease the humidity faster, however if your indoor air is high humidity already I wouldn't know what to do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  3. A roo or two

    A roo or two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what I am going to do, I was just reading a thread on here about the air space and monitoring weight loss :D Very informative stuff. I think sometimes I over think things too much.

    Thank you for responding.
     
  4. A roo or two

    A roo or two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Went ahead last night and read the dry incubation link, wow am I glad I did! Changed my view on the humidity levels. Now I think I can head into my first experience with a little more confidence.
     
  5. MuranoFarms

    MuranoFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Boyers, Pa
    I would feel ok with a humidity at 40%. I prefer to go closer to 30, but work with what you got. 60% at lock down is good.....depending on what you're hatching. Guineas and Marans I like to run at 65% for lockdown, but that has to do with their shells.

    What incubator are you using and what are you hatching?
     
  6. A roo or two

    A roo or two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for your reply. I have a FI 4200 with fan and automatic turner. Just hatching some EEs and backyard mixes.
     
  7. A roo or two

    A roo or two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't know if you saw my post about about the type of incubator and the type of eggs.

    Okay, eggs are set. My temperature has been ranging from 99.3-99.9 with one dip to 98.8 but I caught it fairly quickly and now it is at 99.3 and holding. Humidity was high the first 24 hours at 42/43 and now has settled in around 32/34. Humidity in the room has been about 52%.Happy with the humidity at this level and hope to keep it there. I figure if I can keep it in a window of 30-35 I will be happy.

    Now as far as temp is concerned, I know it is recommended 99.5, but a little fluctuation is okay right? What would be the lowest one should allow it to drop to and what would be the highest? I know too high causes early hatch and too low causes delayed hatch, both with potential issues, but there has to be a tiny window of fluctuation right?
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Primarily this. Be as consistent as you reasonably can and see what results you get. If you are consistent, you have a better idea of what you need to adjust.

    If you really want to overthink it, I can help, probably with enough detail to really drive you batty. Or maybe you’ll realize that being precise is not that important.

    Each incubator is different, even the same make and model. If you move it from one side of the room to another, the results can change. Different times of year can make a difference. It’s not just the temperature and humidity in the incubator that matters, it’s the temperature and humidity of the air going into the incubator. Height above sea level can make a difference because the air is thinner higher up.

    Each egg is different. The egg shells may have different thicknesses or porosity. The whites of some eggs are more watery than others. Some may have been stored for over a week, while some may come straight from the nest. Those that have been stored a while have already lost some moisture. Perfect humidity for one egg may cause problems for another.

    Is that enough to make your head spin? There is no magic humidity that works for all of us or even all eggs. The good news is that there is a reasonably wide band of humidity that works but that band can be different for each of us.

    As someone said, the goal is to have enough moisture reduction so the air cell is about the right size. Some people weigh the eggs to monitor that, some people candle to check that, some of us do neither. Basically just try to set up a system that works for you and tweak as necessary. Then at lockdown you up the humidity so when a chick pips it doesn’t dry out and the membrane shrink around it. Again, you’ll get a lot of different opinions on that. Personally I shoot for a minimum of 65% at lockdown but if it goes to 90% when the chicks start to hatch, I’m still happy. It will go up when those wet chicks start coming out of that shell. I think the drowning issue comes from too high a humidity during incubation so you didn’t get the air cell big enough. As long as moisture is not condensing on the eggs I don’t see how the chick can drown from high humidity.

    Don’t worry about losing humidity when you open the incubator during the incubation phase. The instantaneous reading isn’t that important. It’s average humidity so you get the right moisture loss that is important. Even opening the incubator during lockdown isn’t all that critical until you have an egg pip. Once an egg has pipped it is possible that the membrane could dry out and shrink-wrap the chick. Possible, but certainly not an absolute certainty that it will happen, just that it might so I consider it good practice to not open the incubator during lockdown unless you have a good reason to take that risk.

    For temperature, the instantaneous reading isn’t all that important either. The important factor is the average over the incubation period. You don’t want real big peaks and valleys, but it takes a while for the inside of the egg to change temperature very much. Obviously you don’t want extreme peaks and you especially don’t want them to last very long, but what you are describing is just about perfect.

    The average incubating temperature is an important factor in whether the egg is early or late, but it’s not the only factor. Heredity, humidity, how and how long the egg was stored before it started incubation, and just basic differences between eggs can all play a factor. I’ve had broody hatches and incubator hatches that were right on time. I’ve had broody and incubator hatches that were a full two days early. Most of the time in either case all the eggs hatched within 24 hours of each other or less, but with my last incubator hatch I had one chick hatch a full 24 hours before the next one even pipped. I’ve had other hatches where it stretched out a bit more than 2 days, with a very slow but continuous hatch. No two hatches are identical. No two eggs are identical.

    My suggestion is to pick a humidity goal and stick with it as best as you reasonably can, but don’t obsess over it. Then analyze your results and adjust as necessary. In a couple of hatches, you’ll be a pro.

    Good luck.
     
  9. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a great reply, as far as I am concerned I think it should be stickied as a reference at the top of the incubation section, LOL. I have read a lot of posts on here and so many people obsess over every little detail whether it be incubating or just keeping chickens in general, seeing this reassures me and my attitude towards the process of let the chips fall as they will, there is not perfect situation for everyone so just reading something on here then getting all bent out of shape because it doesn't match your method makes very little sense. Excellent.
     
  10. A roo or two

    A roo or two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! I think us beginners just need reassurance LOL. I am an obsessor so I will definitely try not too and just focus on keeping it as "close" as I can to what I would like. So far so good. Still holding at 99.3 and has since 6 a.m. and the humidity has only fluctuated from 34 down to 32 and back up to 34 in that time frame. So if it stays right in that range I will be happy and not keep worrying over it every second of the day. Thanks for taking the time to supply me with all that information I greatly appreciate it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2014

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