optimum humidity for a forced air homemade 'bator???

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cjeanean, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    I've been searching the boards and reading about incubation for quite some time, but for some reason it seems the exact humidity for a forced air homemade bator has eluded me. I guarantee it's been posted at least 10 thousand times, but I can't find it. Stupid me. Anyways, I have gathered this much, please correct me if I'm wrong:
    (I'll be hatching EE's and SLW from chilling in muscadine!!!)

    1. Water wiggler temp needs to be 99.5 degrees F

    2. Eggs need to sit at room temperature for AT LEAST 8 hours before throwing in the bator

    3. Temp needs to stay the same throughout all 21 days of incubation

    4. Turn 3x per day

    5.Stop turning on day 18

    6. Have at least 2 temp gauges for accuracy

    And that's about the gist of it. Now, the million dollar question: WHERE DOES THE HUMIDITY NEED TO BE??? Thanks, everyone!!!
     
  2. UrbanMama

    UrbanMama Gone Country....

    Sep 27, 2008
    Massachusetts
    You'll here different theories on this one..some people go with the tried and true 50% humidity on days 1-18 and then raise it to 65-75% the last three days. Others go with the dry incubation method...pretty much just what it sounds like. You don't add water (unless your humidity drops below 25% and then just add a very tiny bit) untill the last three days. Those last three days are the most crucial...you have to keep the humidity high enough that the chicks can hatch without the membrane drying out.

    Listen to me talking as if I have some experience! [​IMG] I'm on my first hatch (day 18) and what I just wrote is from lots and lots of reading. I'm sure some veterans will jump in here any second with more info! Good luck...and a warning.....hatching is very addictive! Welcome to the insanity!
     
  3. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
  4. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I go with about 50% during the first 18 days incubation and 65% at hatch time (the last 3 days) and typically everything I put in my hatcher that is viable hatches.

    Jody
     
  5. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    okay, so for forced air non-dry incubation, what are lethal humidity problems? I've read that sometimes the chicks will drown if there's too much humidity. So 50% for day 1-18, what margin of error do I have? 65% for hatching days, what margin of error for that one too??? Thanks, guys!
     
  6. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    Missouri
    does anyone know what margin of error I can have for humidity??? Mine's fluctuating about 5-7 points, and I don't want to screw up!!!
     
  7. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    5-7 percent doesn't really matter in the full realm of things. The percent are approximate and if you're a little over, let it go and dry out naturally and don't add water until it drops to the 30's (during the first 18 days) which means the water is gone or just about gone and time to add more. It you check on it daily, you should be fine as long as they don't sit dry for too long.

    Same goes for hatch time, get it to around 65% relative and close it and forget it for a couple days and let the chicks do their thing.

    The damaging humidity is when the hygrometer isn't reading properly and people keep adding water trying to get it up and it's actually sitting around 80-100%. That is what causes humidity issues/mushy chicks, etc.

    Jody
     
  8. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    You know, Jody, for me, even at 50% for days 1-18, I was getting mushy chicks and drownings, etc. I have to use the dry incubation method in order to get good hatches. I wonder if it has anything to do with external humidity? That doesn't really make sense, though, does it? Interesting. . . .
     
  9. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    skeeter, my guess would be that your hygrometer is not reading accurately. When this happens and you confirm through hatching, as in your case with mushy chicks, you want to run it lower. So you can still use it, even tho it's not precise, but try a hatch at 40% instead of the usual 50 to see if that resolves the issue. Most of what I find that works has been identified through trial and error (figuring out how far off thermometers/hygrometeres are is critical). Once you know the problem, they are fairly easy to fix.

    The same goes for themometers that do not provide accurate readings. If your hatch is early, you need to drop the temp back. If they are hatching late, you need to increase the temp slightly. So it won't "read" what everyone says it will, but by making adjustments to what achieves a successful hatch is the goal. With the scrappy instruments on the market, this is often the only way to address incubation challenges.

    Jody
     
  10. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I suppose that could be it, Jody! I know the temp reads correctly, but I really don't have any idea on the hygrometer. Since I was having hatching troubles that seemed to be related to humidity, I started watching the aircell size and figured out that my % needed to stay around 25-30% for the first 18 days, so your theory makes total sense.
     

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