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Raising incubator humidity without decreasing temperature

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by duckman4450, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. duckman4450

    duckman4450 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 1, 2012
    Hi everyone, I am incubating 3 mallard duck eggs right now, but this question can be answered by anyone regardless of the bird.

    I have made a still air homemade styrofoam cooler incubator. I am currently on day 11 of incubation and the ducklings are all alive and developing well. The problem I've run into, however, is that my humidity inside the incubator is a little too low. When I add water, no matter how hot the temperature of it, the incubator will never get back up to the 102 temperature above the eggs. It will usually sit around 98-99 which means at egg level it is around 96 which is too cold for them. I am running a humidifier in the room and can get the inside up to about 32% while keeping the right temperature.

    I have been weighing them and they are losing too much weight which means I have too little humidity inside of the incubator. Does anybody have any suggestions on how to raise the incubator in humidity but not decrease the temperature? If it matters I have been putting the bowl of water near the light because there is not much free space in the incubator. I have also been adding very hot water which quickly loses it's heat and the incubator temp drops about a half hour after adding the water. Thanks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I applaud you for attempting to make a homemade incubator. There are a lot of different ways you can make one. I’m not sure how yours is set up.

    You don’t raise humidity by adding more water. You raise humidity by increasing water surface. That might be by adding an additional water reservoir. You can also put a sponge or cloth partially in the reservoir so it wicks water out and you have a larger wet area for water to evaporate from. Venting can affect it too. I’ll get to that below.

    That temperature problem is interesting. You say never, but how long are you waiting for the temperature to stabilize after adding water? How many times has this happened? You are looking at it, I’m not so I’ll ask silly questions.

    With the temperature dropping a half hour after you add hot water makes me wonder about your venting. The developing embryo doesn’t really need fresh air the first week or so of development, but the older it gets the more it needs fresh air to breathe. You do need venting. In a still air incubator, hot air rises. If you have too much venting up high, you may be allowing a lot of hot air to escape, especially if you have openings down low so cooler air can come in from outside. You can get a pretty good airflow with high-low openings. You might play with reducing the size of some of the vents, especially the ones down low if you have them. You’ll still get air exchange with just openings up high. Gravity will force warm air out and cooler air in. That will help raise humidity too since not as much warm humid air will escape.

    But your post implied that at one time you had the temps up where you want them. One time I did not get my top back on quite right on my Styrofoam forced air 1588. The turner cord wasn’t perfectly in the groove. My heater was able to keep up but that caused my humidity to drop. I don’t know how strong your heater is or where you have the thermostat positioned, but are you leaving more ventilation after you add water?

    Thermostat position is pretty important in an incubator. You don’t want it right on the heat source or you won’t get a good reading on the incubator temperature, but the further away from the heat source, the longer between cycles. It may cool off more or heat up more between cycles. This probably would not cause your problem of it never getting back up to temperature when it once would, but have you altered the position of your thermostat? Have you accidentally changed a setting?

    I don’t know what is going on with yours or how many times you’ve observed this. The answer is probably something pretty simple, like me not getting that turner cord back in the groove right. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to spot. I wish you luck finding the solution.
     

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