Opening the Incubator Frequently?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by makemineirish, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

    76
    4
    48
    Oct 1, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I agreed to try hatching some chicks for a friend as a practice run before buying myself expensive eggs. I intended to use a Brinsea Advance 20 Octagon on an auto-turn cradle with the humidity chamber accessory. It is a fairly idiot-proof set-it and forget-it arrangement.

    The friend gave me FORTY-TWO eggs. As only 24+ fit in the Brinsea, I put the excess in a standard styrofoam Hovabator (originally intended for a separate hatching chamber), but do not expect to get as successful of a hatch given my difficulty in maintaining the humidity in that one. I have upped the humidity and taken the Brinsea off the turning cradle in anticipation of the hatch.

    Here is my quandry. Everyone on here has cautioned against opening the incubator too often. I am going to assume that it has to do with the resultant drop in temperature and humidity. However, the Brinsea is packed end to end with eggs. There simply is not any room for newly hatched chicks to wander about and very little clearance above the eggs.

    My preference is to remove each chick as they hatch and discard the shell, leaving additional room for the subsequent chicks to hatch...but that means frequent opening of the incubator. My hope is that this is a negligible concern with the Brinsea given that the heating element and humidity chamber immediately begin to compensate once I close it back up. It takes only few minutes for the system to return to the set parameters.

    In the future, I would only hatch a dozen eggs at a time, allowing for more space in the Brinsea or for the Hovabator to be employed as a separate hatching chamber (assuming I can figure out how to raise and maintain the humidity effectively).

    The question:

    Is opening the Brinsea frequently to transfer the chicks and remove shells after each hatch the lesser of two evils?

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  2. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member

    55,666
    5,310
    626
    Aug 23, 2012
    Pennsylvania
    My Coop
    I would put more in the other bator rather than opening either during a hatch for each chick....
    I put aquarium tubing through my styro bator to help in controlling humidity.... and I can add and remove water with a CVS pharmacy syringe without opening, easy peasy! pics of that tubing is in https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101

    Good Luck with hatch!
     
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    18,897
    1,323
    396
    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    opening the incubator at all - let alone frequently - can impact hatching. I agree with the other poster, why not put more eggs in the hova bator, as your intention was to use it as a hatcher anyway?
     
  4. makemineirish

    makemineirish Out Of The Brooder

    76
    4
    48
    Oct 1, 2012
    Austin, TX
    My original intention was to use the Hovabator as a a hatchery chamber, transferring all the eggs to it on day 19. However, everything I have read indicates how important it is to raise the humidity significantly on week three (and in particular during the last couple of days).

    Thus far, I have been unable to consistently raise the humidity above 35% in the Hovabator despite adding sponges. The low humidity made me unwilling to put any more eggs in there than I had to. The Brinsea allows me to set all of the parameters and walk away. The consistency should yield a better hatch rate, hence why I packed in as many eggs as possible.

    I will try the suggestion regarding aquarium tubing to see if I can raise the humidity significantly. If so, I can transfer all the remaining eggs over to use it as originally intended. I was using the excess eggs from a friend trouble-shoot my incubation and hatching techniques before purchasing more expensive eggs.

    Thanks for all your help.[​IMG]
     
  5. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    18,897
    1,323
    396
    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    If you haven't already, you may want to check that your hygrometer is working properly - google Calibrating a Hygrometer. It sound very suspicious to me. I have never had any difficulty raising the humidity in my Hovabator
     
  6. ozexpat

    ozexpat CocoBeach Farm

    even with the plugs out, one chamber of the hova filled with water will yield a humidity of 60+, I agree that your hygrometer is a probably dud.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by