Poor Hatch Rate


In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 26, 2009

I have gone through 3 hatches with my new Hovabator 1602N. This incubator has a wafer thermostat and a fan. My hatch rates are like 10%.

I tried higher humidity and lower rates. Tracked my egg weight on this last hatch to 13% loss which I think should be ok. Humidity variation doesn't seem to be affecting the hatch.

I am loosing about 1/2 the eggs getting to lockdown. The rest die through lockdown. Some die in lockdown before internal pip, some after and some die after external pip. I usually get 2 live hatches. On right on day 21 and one weaker smaller bird on day 22. When I do an eggtopsy, I see eggs that quit in all stages of development. No clear problem seems to present itself.

I think my problem is temperature, but I am not sure. The incubator can't seem to hold a temp. consistently at 99.5. I get temp variations high and low up to .7 degrees. I don't fiddle with the the settings until the temp really starts to drift. Over .5 degrees. If I don't adjust the thermostat to stop the drift the temp would continue trending up or down. I could get it to sit on 99.5 for a day our two, then it would drift up to 100.3 over the course of 2 days. I would then turn it down and in a day or two it would start to drift again.

Am I alone in my problems with the wafer thermostat or is this the nature of the beast. Should the thermostat require continuous tweeking? It drifted both up and down at various times in the hatch.

Any experience would be most appreciated.

Oh, forgot to add. The incubator was in a room that was kept at 75. My room heater was more accurate than the incubator.

I also had an automatic egg turner in the bator.
Hi im sorry to here your poor hatches. over the 4 times i have hatched i have experienced 1 egg hatches. So count your self lucky you have tripled my record. i once had that hovabator with no fan or turner. the things are JUNK they have horrible temp stability 105 to 96 deggres. My house does very in temp though. My main problem is having the eggs be fertile. did you remove egg turner in lockdown because they should NOT be touched for the last 3 days. Make sure that the hen stays healthy. Also are they are fertile or do they have chicks developed. Make sure you raise humidty in lock down. 100.3 to 99.5 is ok as long as it doesnt exceed 103 or drop below 97 deggres.
I have moved on to the brinsea octagon 20 eco and it holds faboulus temp. In the evening the house is 68 to 72 deggres and its at 100* then at night and in the morning its 58* and the incubator is still at 99i*! The humidty is great to. and u can by a turner or jest put the incubator on 1 side! matter the fact im hatching again now day6 and all but 1 0r 2 are fertile and developing great!
i have the same incubator except no turner and has a PC fan in it. i found if you cover the top vent holes it makes it more stable (i only have 2 screws holding the fan) i have 3 digital thermometers in it my temp varies from about 100.4- 100.8 in one spot, the thermostat keeps the temp stable but i found in the center it is 99.5-99.7 and the outer edge is 102. if you stop messing with the temp it seems to become more stable. also in the manual it says the eggs start to create their own heat halfway through so that could throw it off.

I just put eggs in mine last Friday so i am kind of new at this too.

What type of thermometer are you using? i find that putting the whole thermometer in and reading it from indoor temp is more reliable
I'm curious how many thermometers and what type you are using. I have two digitial thermometers in my incubator (also a hovabator with fan and auto turner) AND usually at least 3 mercury or aquarium thermometers. My digital thermometers usually read anywhere from 95 degrees to 99 degrees and vary quite a bit while my aquarium thermometers are usually right on target at 99-100. The mercury/aquarium thermometers drop much more quickly when I open the bator, but also read back at 99-100 more quickly when I'm out. From what I've read (and now seen), they are much more reliable. If I had been going by my digitial thermometers, I would be frying my eggs every time. I use the digitial thermometers for humidity estimation.

I do think that temperature and humidity have a range that can work and it's probably a wider range than we think. BUT we still have a hard time measuring that range with much accuracy. That's my opinion so far. I have had 3 hatches so far and each hatch has gotten better. I have three more hatches cycling through now. So I am not yet a real voice of experience. I think the thing that has improved my rate of development the most so far is 1) not letting the bator reach 109 like I did with my first batch (only 1/17 hatched) and 2) letting shipped eggs rest for 24++ hours before putting them in the incubator. Of this last batch, 25/37 are looking good at Day 7 (shipped eggs). I can't remember the numbers totally off the top of my head because I had such a mix of eggs from different places, but my best group of eggs was 6/7 hatching on NON shipped eggs. My rates on shipped eggs have varied quite a bit, but have been around 50% which most people consider a success. So anyway... I would say check your thermometers.

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