Still air, temp fluctuations, help please

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by shamrockmommy, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. shamrockmommy

    shamrockmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2013
    So I was 'volunteered' by our 4H club to incubate eggs for the embryology project. (because I have hens I guess this means I might "like" hatching eggs... ugh)

    The club gave me a Little Giant still air incubator. I had it set up for 18 hours when we were told to go pick up eggs. (we were kind of forgotten and given the incubator at the last minute). Anyway, during that time it reached and held 101, which is what I was told to keep the bator at.

    Well... added eggs. Expected it to drop because the eggs were room temp/cool. Ever since then I've been chasing the temp up/down for the last 3 days!

    It's been as low as 93 and as high as 104 (for about 30 minutes). I'm pretty terrified they've all been killed and I'll have a bunch of disappointed kids at the end of it. :(

    I ended up calling Miller manufacturing, who makes this bator, and she told me to keep playing with the thermostat.

    Is this what everyone else does?

    I ended up lifting the lid of for a few moments to bring the temp down.

    Also, I am using a digital thermometer, set on top of the eggs in the center.

    Halp. Please.
    I'm naturally a very anxious person, and I'm nervous all day and can't sleep at night, worrying about the dang eggs!
     
  2. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Do you have any idea what model of Little Giant it is? Does it have digital displays or no?
     
  3. shamrockmommy

    shamrockmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's old. No digital display, just a dial and a light. no fan.

    Right now it's 94. Doesn't want to come up now for several hours.

    THIS IS SO FRUSTRATING
     
  4. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Does it have the heating element that runs around the top in a squarish-circle or circular square. [​IMG]
     
  5. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Next question is have you ever checked the thermometer inside to make sure that it is right?
     
  6. shamrockmommy

    shamrockmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2013
    yes, it's a squarish circlish element. I have 3 thermometers in there... one that came with it (hard to read, the numbers are faded) hovers around 90-110 LOL, The meat thermometer jammed into the styrofoam reads anywhere from 100-110, and the digital thermometer that is in the center of the eggs has been going from 93-104.

    Right now still at 94 even though I adjusted it a hair up.

    I want to cry, I'm so upset that this is so difficult! This is why I buy chicks LOL. Stupid 4H. Really kindof mad right now.
     
  7. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    Sounds like you are using the 9200 model. That is the incubator I hatch in. The biggest thing with them is having a couple checked and accurate thermometers in there. Placing it in a location that has stable temps and no drafts. Another thing I have found that if the eggs are not balanced out by mass between the two sides, you will get one side running higher than the other. I usually can keep mine between 99 and 101.

    How much water do you have in the bator? If you can hold a high enough humidity, (for me that is over 25%-prefferably 30%) dry, then I would run dry and monitor the air cells. This will also help your temps stay warmer. If having it in a stable temp and having the eggs balanced between the sides doesn't do what you need you can add heat sinks such as rocks/marbles or jars of water to the incubator.
     
  8. shamrockmommy

    shamrockmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the help. I was able to stop the wild temperature swings, using a pliers to adjust the knob a tiny amount. This thing is crazy sensitive. It's been hovering around 99-100 the last couple days, although I do have 2 other thermometers in there that each have different readings! Kindof averaging them. I did candle a few and I see veins, so that's good I guess.

    I don't have a humidity sensor, I only have the things that 4H gave to me.

    For "lockdown" that starts day 18 (according to my sheet from 4H that has instructions... it says eggs turned last time bu then goes on to say on day 19 to turn eggs 3 times and mist? Pretty unscientific, I guess, and several others have managed to hatch chicks over the years.

    Also, if I'm supposed to "lockdown" but keep humidity extra high, how do I get water in the channels?


    I feel so dumb asking these questions, but this is my first hatching ever, and I hope we get at least one live chick out of this ordeal (I don't do stress very well LOL).
     
  9. AmyLynn2374

    AmyLynn2374 Humidity Queen

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    You shouldn't feel dumb they are important questions and when you ask questions you can and will get 50 different answers so it's hard to sift through the right stuff. Not knowing humidity is going to be harder. I'll answer what I can and then give you a couple links to look at. You stop turning on day 18 and if you are using an automatic turner you take that right out. (I'm assuming you are hand turning t hough?) There is no reason to mist chicken eggs. As for adding water during lockdown. There are two camps of hatchers- hands off that don't open after lockdown and will use tubing to add water to the wells and hands on that open the bator and add water as needed.

    This is what I do: I hand turn, so my eggs are laying down already. I pull my eggs out and put them in a carton, and fill the water wells (I also add a small dish under the screen with water.) I out the screen back on and lay my liner down (I use the rubber liner over my screen, it's not a neccessity though), I put my eggs back in and I add 2 wet sponges atop of my screen with the eggs and close it back up. The sponges help me keep the humidity high because I hatch at 75% because I am in the hands on group and I do open my bator during hatch. The sponges also allow me the ease of just pulling out a sponge wetting it and sticking it back in when I need a humidity boost and I don't have to deal with refilling the water wells at lockdown.

    Now I am going to leave you a couple of links. The first one will help you especially with adjusting your humidity w/o having the hygrometer if you aren't at the end of the incubation. The second link is for overall hatching (from the hands on perspective) that might answer some of the other questions.
    http://letsraisechickens.weebly.com...anuals-understanding-and-controlling-humidity
    http://hatching411.weebly.com/
     
  10. shamrockmommy

    shamrockmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2013
    Tthought I'd give an update. FINGERS CROSSED... I have the temp stable, one thermometer says 100, the other 102, so I'll call it a draw and average it, saying we're good to go! Candled the eggs, started with 12. 2 were yolkers and one was a quitter. Two eggs are so dark brown we couldn't really see anything, and the 4H kids were amazed watching the embryos bounce around!

    I had a HORRIBLE nerve-wracking day of temp fluctuations, and I believe we discovered the issue! The basement is finished, and has electric heat. I couldn't figure out the temperature spikes until I realized there is also a heat vent from the forced air system for the upstairs in the basement. So when it kicked on for the upstairs, it added heat in addition to the electric heat!

    I also wrapped a folded towel around the outside of the bator. Hoping to help insulate it a bit better. So far so good, PHEW.

    I'm going to keep doing what I"m doing!

    I also got a hygrometer and it is a bit high, 72%, down from 90 this afternoon when I first put it in there, and that was from following the incubator instructions of filling the channels daily. I'll try to get it around 55% or so until lockdown. Although, I talked to the lady who hatched them last year (she got 12 of 12!!) and she said she just kept the channels filled, and then on certain days (on the 4H handout sheet) misted the eggs 3x a day.

    So... Shrugs! I might be making this extra hard for myself but it makes better sense monitoring the humidity a little closer.
    Maybe some will hatch!

    We are left with 9 looking good so far.

    I am SO COMPLETELY NERVOUS. lol

    Last night, up till 2 am trying to get the dang thing to stablilize. And then my body wasn't willing to let myself sleep for fear the temp would spike or drop.

    So silly.

    This is what chick days are for ;)
     

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