NEWBIE on hatching eggs - questions on lockdown

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by vdrsolo, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. vdrsolo

    vdrsolo Just Hatched

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    Hi, I have been lurking around for the past couple of weeks. I started incubation of 48 eggs on Sunday evening, 4/9/17. It is an older still air incubator, it didn't even come with a temp or humidity gauge. I bought a thermometer that lays on top of the eggs (and verified its accuracy with other thermometers). I also bought a reptile humidity gauge (and verified it's accuracy with and electronic humidity monitor we had). Out of those 48, we have 38 definite ones with chicks!

    Humidity has been around 40-45%. I haven't added any water, we are keeping it in our basement.

    1. As incubation goes by....do the chickens put off more heat? It seems like I am constantly having to turn down the temp everytime I go to turn (I am turning 3 times a day). Sometimes it will sneak up to 102, I am trying to keep it right around 100. I am worried about about this!

    2. I am doing my last turn tonight and will go on lockdown. I have read anywhere from increasing the humidity to 65-80%. Recommended? The only way I can get water in there without opening it is too add it through a small vent hole. Is there a humidity percentage that is too high that I need to open up other vent holes??

    3. Temperature - My temperature gauge is the type that sits on top of the eggs that has the plastic backing. I want to keep monitoring this temp but if those eggs hatch first I won't be able too. I do have some fake ceramic eggs (we used it for some chickens we had bought that had problems pecking at their eggs, fake eggs immediately stopped it!). Since these fake ones are the same size....could i put the gauge on top of those or will it not work because they are ceramic and not the real thing?

    4. I would like to put something down on the metal grid to catch all the little shell pieces, I read somewhere to use cheesecloth but I was worried about their little feet getting stuck on it and wrapping them up so I was going to put the cheese cloth under the metal grid. Or could I just use paper towels?

    Thanks!!
     
  2. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Before you go into lockdown you can cut a new sponge into small square pieces, wet and add to tiny containers (can cut apart a plastic ice cube tray) to add humidity. That is what I do and it works well. Paper towels should be fine. Good luck on your hatch.
     
  3. vdrsolo

    vdrsolo Just Hatched

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    I actually did buy a new sponge and already cut it! I was going to place them underneath the vent holes so when i added water it would hit the sponge. Since I am not going to open the incubator, I can't really take the sponge out but there are some removable vent plugs that I assume I can take out to decrease the humidity? I know the chicks need to dry out as well so what is a happy medium when some are hatched and some are in process?? Is there a limit or should I open the vents as soon as some have hatched?

    Sorry for so many questions! We borrowed this old incubator, didn't come with any instructions and the owner just gave me a quick rundown. I found a manual online that looked like a newer version but most of everything I have learned is by reading this forum! For example....most manuals say to have 55% humidity but it looks like it's best to keep it lower during the first 18 days?
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I have only hatched one time so far. It was a still air incubator and I kept my temp at 102. My chicks hatched on the day they were supposed to.

    I used paper towel on my metal grid and it worked great! My incubator is so much cleaner than it would be if I didn't.

    Your fake eggs should be fine. just give them time to come up to temp so they aren't throwing your reading off.

    I wouldn't go higher than 65% humidity. Otherwise, the risk of drowning seems higher. But you should get your humidity right before locking down instead of messing with it during that time. And if you do need to open your incubator, it won't shrink wrap and kill all your hatching chicks as some fear mongers would have you believe. I have broody's hatching and I'm sure their eggs don't sit nice and still for the last 3 days. Also, what breed you're hatching can require slightly less or more humidity. But ultimately, life finds a way! [​IMG]

    As soon as my chicks are dry and fluffy and more than 1, I move them to the brooder and if they have their land legs on them I dip their beak in water. I guess this is variable though because it depends.. some chicks will be running a muck bumping eggs. If there are only a few, I leave them in there to encourage each other to hatch with their peeping and such.

    What I don't understand is... if, lets say the eggs are putting off more heat... isn't the incubator supposed to shut of when it reaches where it is set? So wouldn't the incubator just not work as hard to keep the temp up? Or am I missing something? [​IMG]

    If you see condensation on the top of your incubator, the humidity is too high and you would open the vent holes until it clears. But that might occur as an egg hatches and clear up shortly after because of the eggs own humidity. And I red to place the cap upside down over the whole to not allow excess ventilation or possible cooling.

    Best wishes for a great hatch! [​IMG]
     
  5. vdrsolo

    vdrsolo Just Hatched

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    Apr 26, 2017
    This is an older incubator, so my guess is that the temperature thermostat is not working properly for it to shut itself off, I have really been babysitting that temp! Also, it appears that the air sacs are not quite as reduced as pictures I see online, they still look like a day 14 air sac ( I just googled it and got the standard air sac diagram). I have been running dry but now I am worried that there is not enough air in there and the chicks are going to drown!! Should I open up a vent hole today and let some of that humidity out...and if the air sacs aren't quite large enough do I need to add extra humidity during lockdown??
     
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Extra humidity to a not big enough air sac will cause drowning.

    My air sacs looked wrong size also. I think it's partly perspective. Keep your humidity where it should be instead of trying to make last minute changes. My hatch was also 45% started and 62% lock down. Evaporation that takes place during the last couple days will be from the chick (something to that effect) not the air sac.

    It seems so scary the first time. But if you did your best... experience is the Mother of all teachers... and your next time will go even better. I learned my breed should have been ran MUCH dryer than I did and was scared all would drown. But instead I had a pretty good hatch and 7 out of 9 were boys!
     
  7. vdrsolo

    vdrsolo Just Hatched

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    Apr 26, 2017
    I just checked...its running 40% humidity right now. So if the air sacs don't appear large enough...should I hold off on upping the humidity when I lockdown tonight??
     
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I already disclosed that I don't have tons of experience...

    But I would up the humidity and proceed as normal. The air sacs will still continue to grow a bit. And just make sure you lay them with the dip in the air sac facing up.

    None of the air sacs looked "right" under my broody, but I got 3 bouncing baby chicks...

    In fact, I also thought they looked like day 14 when I went to lock down on my first hatch!

    Ultimately, no matter what I say... you must do what makes sense to you. [​IMG]

    Have you tried posting in like the April hatch along? Those are usually pretty active threads with more experienced people. [​IMG]
     
  9. vdrsolo

    vdrsolo Just Hatched

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    I will post in that thread...I also just read that someone put their eggs in cartons during lockdown to keep the air sacs upward because they were small?
     
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Be careful about cartons as they can restrict air flow.

    You are at the right place (BYC) to get tons of information! [​IMG]

    Hope to see some chick pics! [​IMG]

    Happy hatching. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

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